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Studio B celebrates launch with competition to live rent-free for a year

Studio B, the UK’s first public innovation lab, opens on Thursday (April 27th) with a mission to empower people to find trailblazing solutions to the great financial challenges they face.

The ground-breaking space in Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks’ new flagship London store uses intelligent design, including facial recognition technology, gaming, animation and video content, to provide a unique customer experience.

Every four weeks, invited guests and members of the public will take on a new challenge, using design and technology to build the next generation of banking. The prototypes they develop will be showcased in the store and tested on customers.

To celebrate the launch and draw attention to one of the biggest financial challenges facing younger generations, Studio B is holding a national competition at the store on launch day, offering the chance to live rent-free for a year in a penthouse apartment in Kensington, Central London.

The television presenters Amanda Lamb and Rick Edwards will host the competition, setting members of the public who turn up on the day practical cooking, gardening and DIY challenges to gauge their home-making skills. Studio B will match-fund money the winner saves during the year to put towards a deposit on their own home (up to £2,000 a month).

Workshops and events at the Kensington High Street store will address some of the big personal and financial challenges people face and find ways to:

  • Design voice recognition technology to make banking simpler
  • Create products which make children aware of the wider costs of impulse buying
  • Devise activities to help families get more from their money
  • Harness achievements of the best coaches and sports teams to help customers achieve their personal best
  • Help customers overcome their fears of going digital-only

People from all walks of life will work with financial experts, partners from big brands, charities and technology companies to find solutions which can instantly be tested on customers in the store.

The eye-catching design encapsulates the store’s uniquely interactive and playful nature. As people walk in off the street, they pass through a B-shaped polished steel portal with a live video pattern which reacts to them as they pass.

Facial recognition technology within the store tracks emotional responses as people move around, measuring customers’ happiness and showing that they can have fun interacting with their money. A Magic Mirror wall uses animation to showcase some of the inventions being worked on in the lab.

There is an events space where people can attend inspirational talks and exhibitions for free. The premises also include a fully-functioning branch, where customers can do their daily banking.

Helen Page, Group Innovation & Marketing Director, said: “This inspiring space reinvents the way we engage with the public, allowing the next generation of customers to design the next generation of banking.

“We want to put the fun back into finance and help customers find practical solutions to the challenges they face. Studio B will help people build a better relationship with their money.”

Rick Edwards, the broadcaster and writer who will be compering the launch competition, said: “Studio B is drawing attention to some of the really big financial issues people face and is playing an important role in helping find solutions to those challenges.”

See a conceptual video of Studio B here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7STlj8chE0