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Prioritizing the Employee: Browning Day Designs First Internet Bank Corporate HQ in Downtown Fishers

by: Jack Quigley
First Internet Bank recently partnered with Browning Day and Browning Construction to design and construct a six-story, 168,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in downtown Fishers on 116th Street.

When developing a vision for the bank’s new headquarters, Lacey Causseaux, Director of Interior Design at Browning Day said her project team quickly realized that First Internet Bank is a customer-focused organization that values personal connections, teamwork, and adaptability. “This was the first time I've ever really seen the President or CEO of a company say, 'It's not about what I want, it's about what my employees want,’” Causseaux said.

Prioritizing Employees
Oftentimes, Causseaux said, organizations as large as First Internet Bank will only allow a select few people to make decisions on behalf of everyone that will occupy the space. “First Internet Bank did not do this,” Causseaux explained.

Instead, First Internet Bank formed task forces with people from diverse backgrounds within the organization to bring different perspectives and talents into the decision-making process for the headquarters design.

“Employees provided input on the workstations, the private offices, the furniture, the size, the preferences as far as how and where they would collaborate,” Causseaux said. “They even created a gardening task force that was really excited about the roof deck and what they might be able to do up there.”

Nicole Lorch, President and COO at First Internet Bank, explained, “We're asking our employees to bring their best selves to work and to engage and give us the best they've got. To do that, we have to create spaces that allow them to be their best.”

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“This building is very employee-centric,” added Jeff McConnell, Vice President of Facilities at First Internet Bank. “It’s designed with big spaces, a fitness center, a very nice cafe, very nice workspaces, and it’s very well lit. The perspective of the employee had a very heavy hand in designing the building.”

Fostering Connectivity and Promoting Wellness
Browning Day designed the First Internet Bank corporate headquarters to celebrate the company’s culture and underscore the bank’s commitment to connectivity and wellness

“With a building this size (six stories), it was critical that we found a way to connect the floors and bring people together,” Causseaux said. “To not segregate between the floors or between departments, but really encourage these gathering places for people to come together.”

Connecting the first and second floors, a two-story lobby features a variety of furniture options and seating arrangements to facilitate informal daily interaction, as well as a 15’ x 9’ media wall which can be used to promote the bank or broadcast events. A Grand Staircase with glass railings joins floors three through six and opens into well-lit common spaces on each floor.

Open workspaces are intentionally placed along the outside perimeter of the building to bring natural light into those spaces, while private offices are grouped closer to the interior.

Artist Nick Maggio and advertising agency Kuhl/Swaine created a mural that stretches from the lobby up to the sixth floor and celebrates First Internet Bank’s culture of innovation and inspiration. Bold colors intermix with stark black and white patterns on the mural to lead the eye up the main stairwell. Small easter eggs inspired by the Indianapolis region are hidden throughout the mural to represent local landmarks such as Union Station and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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“Clearly our branding is not traditional,” Lorch explained. “A marble floor and columns are not going to feel right here. We needed something that was contemporary and really reflected our brand”

Unique LED lighting arrangements are scattered throughout the building to make interior spaces stand out from traditional bank environments. “Lighting was very intentionally designed to be playful, fun, creative, and a little bit quirky to celebrate their brand and think outside the box a little bit,” Causseaux said. “Rather than acoustical ceiling tiles being a square or rectangular grid, they are very irregular. And that took a lot of collaboration with our MEP consultants and the different contractors to execute that vision.”

Signaling the company’s commitment to health and wellness, First Internet Bank employees now enjoy free access to a fitness center equipped with spacious locker rooms and showers. “We spared no expense on our on our workout facility, because if somebody can work out on their lunch hour or right before or right after work, we're saving them an errand for one thing, but we're also just encouraging use of that space,” Lorch said.

Every employee in the building has a desk that can elevate from a seated position to standing with a touch of a button, facilitating a healthier and more active work environment. Bike racks installed outside of the building link the facility to the adjacent Nickel Plate Trail and further promote wellness among employees.

Dubbed “The Backyard” by First Internet Bank employees, an outdoor terrace behind the building gives occupants even more informal meeting space while also providing flexibility for the bank to host larger functions. “It’s great for casual get-togethers,” said Lorch. “We've been able to host large-scale events. And even just on a nice day when a department wants to have a meeting outside as opposed to indoors, [The Backyard] is there for them”

Catalyzing Growth
As the first major project completed along the south side of 116th Street, First Internet Bank’s headquarters will serve as a catalyst for future growth in downtown Fishers. “The downtown area of Fishers has really undergone a renaissance and I think we’re an important part of that,” Lorch explained. “Additional projects will pop up along the south side of 116th Street as part of the city's master plan, and I think that we've been a catalyst for that.”
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First Internet Bank wanted its new headquarters building to look like a modern interpretation of an industrial warehouse facility. “They wanted this building to feel like it had been in Fishers for a long time and not be this brand-new polished space,” Causseaux said. “So that's why on the outside, you're seeing this beautiful brick, the accents of the black slate or granite material, and the character of the windows throughout, as well as carved limestone accents.”

Lorch thinks the new headquarters building simultaneously gives the city of Fishers a sense of progress and timelessness. “Fishers is doing a lot of things right as it relates to development and growth. Smart, vibrant companies want to be here because this is where people want to live. We've been able to be part of that development and part of that growth while at the same time being mindful of creating this building that looks like it's been here for a while so that it kind of gives a sense of history.”

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