NMBZ Holdings Limited has recently opened their new Head Office along Freedom Legacy Way (formerly Borrowdale Road) overlooking part of the racecourse. This comes at a time when a number of major businesses are opting to relocate from the Central Business District (CBD) of Harare to office parks, in more favourable environments for both customers and employees. Established 27 years ago, NMB Bank has consolidated its geographic presence in the country by extending its branch network. The new Head Office in Borrowdale is the jewel in their crown. Clearly visible from Freedom Legacy Way, with exquisite signage done by Claude Neon Signs, the new building is iconic and impressive. The structure is modern, clean and simple, and enhances NMB Bank’s corporate image as solid and dependable. The exterior materials used are a combination of glass curtain walls, steel pergola, concrete and slate-like wall tiles, all of which transcend through time, resulting in a structure that will look good for many years to come. The extensive use of glass invites the outside into the building. Lying on approximately four acres of land, the new NMBZ head office has beautifully landscaped garden designed by Plant Escape. The garden helps to create a more serene and quiet ambience, inspiring creativity and collaboration amongst staff. There is ample secure parking facilities for both staff and clients.
The project main contractor, Sogecoa Zimbabwe working with the project managers, Urban Rises – a local company previously known as Joina Development Company, completed building works on schedule within budget and in record time. Urban Rises have vast experience both locally and internationally after successfully completing projects such as Joina City, Monavale housing development, Riverside Walk, Cresta Accra and Cresta Lusaka.
NMB Bank’s prestigious banking suite, the Excellence Centre, is the epicentre of the ground floor, seamlessly integrating into the Head Office’s main reception and elevator atrium with a gazing view of the full three storey high building with very high ceilings for good ventilation. Taking a cue from its name, the NMB Excellence Centre opens into a finance cosmopolitan, exclusive banking halls and banking lounges, esteemed banking manager’s office and conference rooms. This prestigious banking suite also has self-service pods aimed at encouraging customers to take control of their banking. Clients wishing to have business meetings can book in advance the conference rooms within the banking suite, complementing the NMB Bank’s offering of wealth management and advisory services to its high net worth customers.
The main reception area also has cosmic glass panels overlooking the exterior landscaping as well as interior planters which integrate the go-green theme from indoors to outdoors space. Behind the custom made main reception desk, the interior design company, Black Consult Pvt Ltd has created a full height wooden clad façade of beech veneer which has been cut into geometric shapes. This is recurring design theme where glass panels have been given a similar look with frosted vinyl shapes. The designer has also created ‘green’ feature walls which resembles freshness, at ease with nature, calmness, and relaxing environment, blending well with geometric design pattern. NMBZ’s commitment to environmental sustainability is also shown through its massive solar plant which powers the building and was designed and installed by Tendo Electronics.
In the middle of the ground floor is a large courtyard atrium with a full height combination of rustic steel and glass roof. Most of the spaces on all three floors either have views onto the courtyard or out to the gardens. The courtyard provides a sense of peace and tranquillity and also serves two ‘green’ functions – shallow aquablue spring pools of water so there is little need for air conditioning and the glass roof allows natural light to flood the centre of the building. Black Consult together with Garden Genius set up a very simple Zen-like garden design with cycads and aloes. The garden is dotted with bright pumpkin-coloured chairs supplied by Only Italian. It is a great space for staff to take a break from their desks, make a phone call or have informal meetings with clients. There is also a staff canteen on the ground floor with outside space for rest and relaxation.
The first floor is a mix of open plan offices and private offices for department heads. Most of the office furniture was sourced from Only Italian and Bestuhle with outdoor and informal sitting furniture being supplied by Zimbrellas, Elite Interiors and Linden Hope. The interior designer selected Hertex fabrics for the custom made soft furnishings and complimentary Hertex wallpaper for wall treatments helping to create a coordinated look and feel in the break-out areas and smaller lounge.
The second floor has the Executive management offices with outdoor viewing decks or balconies, the main boardroom which can accommodate up to 25 people, a smaller meeting room and the executive dining room and bar. Furnished with exquisite black desks and matching filing cabinets, the executive offices offer a sleek and sophisticated look.
Other interesting design features include semi-private, partly soundproofed pods where employees can make phone calls without causing too much disruption. Workspaces also have inspirational and motivational boards with images and texts from well-known writers and thinkers such as “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life” – attributed to Charles Darwin. The designer describes these as “beautiful, yet heartfelt corporate communications”
Blackonsult has also curated and incorporated much of NMB Bank’s collection of art works and objet d’art including original paintings by David Chinyama, a renowned visual artist based in Canada and antique sculptures from the DRC, The artworks add a touch of luxury and opulence to the otherwise very modern and sleek interiors. Marlene Mundangepfupfu of Blackonsult has been a preferred designer for NMBZ having successfully worked on the following NMBZ projects (concept to completion) since 2000 – Pasangano, Borrowdale Village, Southerton, Letombo Park, Mutare, Gweru, and many other smaller projects. Marlene has helped to create the bank’s identity and brand awareness, through designing interiors.
In the executive lobby, Blackonsult designed an embossed bronze ‘tree of life’ mural in keeping with NMBZ’s philosophy of continual growth and expansion. The tree of life theme is repeated in the boardroom with frosted vinyl cut outs on the glass partition wall.
The new building shows NMBZ’s commitment to providing world class services for their customers as well as the permanency of its presence in the Zimbabwean market.
text: Michael Nott photos: Scotty Photography & Structure and Design architectural drawings: Studio Arts Inc interior design drawings: Blackonsult