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Indesign Magazine
Indesign Magazine

Can a Workplace Raise Your Game?

Game theory informs Susquehanna’s analytical approach to trading, and the company’s smart new Sydney workplace by Gensler takes its culture to new heights.


November 3rd, 2017

Situated on the top floor of the tallest International Towers Sydney building, Susquehanna International Group’s (SIG) new workplace designed by Gensler Sydney is raising the game for the SIG team to raise the stakes. It’s a “work hard, play hard” environment, but not how you might expect. Where many workplaces offer games for socialisation and relaxation, SIG uses games to sharpen strategy skills for its analytical approach to trading.

SIG operates at a niche at the convergence of financial trading, quantitative research, and technology and it uses game theory – strategy, competition and managing risk – to analyse complex markets. Games such as poker and chess, as well as board games, video games and team sports are an integral part of SIG’s culture in both work and play. “It was extremely important to provide a work environment that supports SIG’s gaming culture while reflecting the group’s intelligence and professionalism,” says Tom Owens, Managing Director of Gensler Sydney. “It called for a design that would reflect SIG’s entrepreneurial mindset and sophisticated analytical approach to trading while also expressing its fun, laid-back personality,”

The design takes advantage of the panoramic views and large, contoured floor plate of the International Towers Sydney building. “It has a strong symmetrically curved language and large round columns, so the design team brought a natural fluid movement into the interior planning and the sculptural forms of the built spaces,” Owens explains. This includes the joinery – reception desk, cabinetry, and built-in seating – that define and divide areas while maintaining a free-flowing sense of space. Large columns with illuminated perforated screens frame the training rooms and provide storage space for stackable chairs; one also conceals a refrigerator. Lighting and furniture too has rounded corners and smooth edges for a softened and cohesive aesthetic.

The bespoke poker room is in the centre of the workplace, reflecting SIG’s emphasis on games. The glass-enclosed pod is also a visual reference to the curvature of the building and space, and its here and in the breakout zone that the team engages in their favourite strategy games.

Other functional spaces include open-plan desks; worktables, meeting rooms and training rooms around the perimeter of the floorplate; and a kitchen and cafeteria. The material palette is natural, refined, smart and sophisticated. “It’s a reflection of the company, culture and high-performance work they do,” says Owens.

Photography by Anthony Fretwell

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