Thursday, October 02, 2008

What a bank!

In most cities, strategic downtown street corners are flanked by enormous, old banks, the ornate cathedrals of capital designed to impress and intimidate. With the massive changes in real estate values and consumer banking habits, such monuments to Mammon are no longer smart or necessary. But what amazing opportunities such massive commissions must have been for the architects of the day! And what depressing alternatives we’ve experienced since! Luckily, online banking has made a bank visit almost obsolete, but when you must visit, most of the time you’ll find a boring, convenience-store-type standardized box — retail banking in the worst meaning of both words.

But we are starting to see a change. Several new bank design concepts are in the works, and some have been launched recently, including CheBanca! in Milan by Crea International. The concept for CheBanca! (translation: What a bank!) reflects the brand’s simplicity, transparency and innovation. When Crea International co-founder Massimo Fabbro will speak at POPAI Italia in November on the power of physical brand design to bring to life a brand's language, spirit and values, he will no doubt mention CheBanca!


Nintendo officially unveils Nintendo DSi and online store, coming Nov 1 in Japan for $180

Even before Nintendo announced it, the DSi had been the talk of the town. According to our Japanese correspondent, the DSi will be 12 percent thinner, and will get rid of the GBA slot entirely. The DSi will also include two built-in cameras (one reportedly VGA resolution) and music playback. It will add an SD card slot and internal storage (we don't yet know how much) to enhance its multimedia capabilities. The screens are now slightly larger at 3.25 inches, photos can be synced to the Wii Photo Channel, and the unit will include a free browser application.

Nintendo is also launching the "DSi Shop" to sell content directly over Wi-Fi. Prices for the store, which are also tied into Wii Nintendo Points, will use 0, 200, 500 and 800-point tiers. Until March 2010, 1000 Nintendo points will come bundled with the device.

Nintendo is calling the DSi a "third platform," implying that it's not competing with the DS -- though as a history lesson, the DS was originally a "third platform" against the now-retired Game Boy Advance.

The DSi will launch November 1 in black and white colors. It will cost ¥189,000 (approx. US $178). We won't fault you for misreading this as "iDS," given the very iPod Touch-esque additions.

Update: The official DSi website is up.