YiA Judges


Mark Pennington was the keynote speaker at the YIA 2012 awards. He comes from Formway Design – one of New Zealand’s most highly awarded and commercially successful designers and design educators. On viewing the finalist submissions, Mark said he was amazed at what the students had been able to achieve and commented “It is so important to foster innovation and creativity as both a skill and a mindset in our young people, and to encourage them to think and act sustainably too. YIA is a great initiative and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to meet some of these students with their bright ideas – they’re our future”.

Mark Pennington is one of New Zealand’s leading designers. His visionary design work has spanned a range of innovative products from radios for Philips to the ground breaking Life Chair for Formway. He has designed everything from furniture to playgrounds, to stereo systems, to the earthquake house at Te Papa.  As well as the numerous product design awards Mark has under his belt, Mark received the prestigious DINZ John Britten Award in 2005 which recognises a person who has made an outstanding contribution to design in New Zealand. Mark is a director at Formway Design who continue to develop world-leading products sold around the world.

Between 1978 and 1990 Mark was Senior Lecturer and Head of Design at Wellington’s School of Design. He attended Rhode Island School of Design as Associate Professor of Design and spent two years as a Guest Designer at the Concern Industrial Design Centre for Philips NV. in Holland. Mark has also worked for prestigious design consultancy Fitch Richardson Smith in the USA and Form Design Inc. in the Silicon Valley. Mark has consulted for Philips Electrical Industries, Atlantic Oil, Caltex New Zealand, New Zealand Ministry of Transport, and Citinet Corporation on a wide range of design issues including corporate identity and graphics programmes, calibration flight equipment and electrical design. Mark was also involved in the design of exhibition areas at New Zealand’s National Museum, Te Papa.

Mark is passionate about innovation and its role in building great businesses. He believes designers must be strategic thinkers. As markets become more sophisticated, the need to understand market conditions and most importantly obtain and translate key insights of human behaviour into products and services is crucial to success.