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DreamBank interior design Madison, Wis.

Location: New York
Source: vmsd
Made by: Chute Gerdeman
Published in: March 18 2013 / Other Stores
Woody Allen used to joke: “There are worse things than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance agent?”

In its first-ever flagship “store,” American Family Insurance (Madison, Wis.) is trying to reverse that notion. The concept, called DreamBank, portrays the insurance experience not as a boring discussion of earned premiums, deductibles, residual benefits and renewal options, but rather as an interactive opportunity to imagine your future and realize your dream.

It’s based on the company’s current marketing campaign, called “Protect your Dream,” proclaiming that insurance is not a policy you’re buying but a life’s plan that you’re managing.
“You can buy insurance there,” says George Waite of Chute Gerdeman (Columbus, Ohio), program manager on the project, “but this flagship is more about enhancing the brand and explaining the role that various forms of insurance planning can play.”

The space is in a 19th Century building on a square in the center of Madison, across the street from the state capitol. Originally a bank, it’s predictably solid and imposing. But Chute Gerdeman designers created a warm, colorful and inviting experience without disturbing the historically protected architectural bones. They even turned an old bank vault and its 4-ft. concrete walls into a “dream vault,” where visitors can record their plans on a “dream ledger” (an old-fashioned bank ledger) and deposit them into the vault’s safety deposit box.

Metal safety deposit box keys dangle from a chandelier in the middle of the store, creating a shimmering visual attraction at night.

The square, not far from the University of Wisconsin campus, is full of activity – restaurants and college bars and a large green space that hosts a farmer’s market in the summertime. So big, open windows along both sides of the building attract pedestrians to the bright colors, changing exhibits and interactive displays, making it inviting to consumers who’d probably never consider spending a couple of hours in an insurance office if they didn’t need to report a claim or grab a desk calendar.

The DreamBank logo, prominent on the outside of the store and repeated throughout the interior, is a softly drawn cloud with red and blue lettering.
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