Susquehanna International Group is a financial trading organisation with a technological focus. They hire some of the most intelligent IT staff in the market to work with their financial traders and rely heavily on on-site data processing and storage. Headquartered in Philadelphia, their Irish operation is their most important site in Europe.
Facilitating around 500 people, the office would be the largest of its kind in a city centre building, and would be designed to Tier II standards. The two principal groups that needed to be accommodated for are the traders and technologists, but consideration was also needed to be given to support groups such as management, administration, HR, legal and FM teams and inclusion of a data centre. After a long due diligence and building search process SIG purchased International House, a landmark building in the IFSC, the building needed a complete strip out, a renewal of finishes and services and substantial repairs to the external fabric.
On a financial trading floor speed of communication is very important, a function of good technology but also of efficient design. The design of the floors is based around the principles of lines of sight between traders, efficient circulation around the cores, proximity of workplace support to the traders and as always views and light for the maximum number of people. We sourced materials that spoke for themselves and had texture and grain rather than polish or flash. The finishes are therefore calmer and more restrained than many other fit-outs in this market recently, and the existing building’s exposed structure was stripped back and displayed in many locations to create a contrast in textures.
Time spent away from the desk is potentially time and money wasted, so facilities are carefully positioned and are replicated on each floor to ensure the distance of travel is minimised. The restaurants are located on each of the three office floors. Limited seating is provided at the restaurants – the culture, developed in Philadelphia and carried on in Dublin, is that traders get their food in takeaway containers, bring it back to their desk and eat at their desk. Floor finishes (which are vinyl in circulation areas) and bin positions are designed to allow this happen. Coffee points are located at each level immediately beside the new connecting stair – this means that the stair also becomes a place where people meet and exchange information.
The company’s culture, founded by a group of college students who developed trading algorithms through a study of poker, means that game theory and the study of games is at the heart of training that the new recruits undergo when they join. This is referenced subtly through some of the imagery used in the project, and a games room is naturally provided. A large gym is also provided which has been very well received by staff and constantly receives requests by passers-by in the IFSC to join.
Susquehanna International Group
IFSC, Dublin 1