Mark has been a pioneer in establishing design thinking in Singapore, especially with regards to its applications towards creating meaningful places and empathetic built environments.
From 2006 to 2011, under his own practice of Kennel/ANNEX A Architects, and UNION Experience, he pioneered a design thinking approach towards the shaping of user centric experiences that led to award winning projects such as Overseas Chinese Bank Corporation (OCBC)’s Gen-Y bank FRANK, the Health Science Authority’s new Blood Donation Experience, as well as being selected to represent Singapore for the Venice Architectural Biennale 2008.
From 2011 to July 2016, Mark founded and led the Experience Design studio at ONG&ONG, the group’s innovation and strategy unit. The studio was founded on the understanding that beautiful physical environments alone do not always equate successful experiences, but great experiences are an empathetic and innovative combination of places, people, and technology coming together as a compelling story.
The studio worked with clients to establish its story and strategy to shape memorable experiences that emotionally engage its users and impacts culture, providing a collective integrated expertise across architecture, interior design, brand creation, communication design, service design, film & story, framed by a design thinking approach centred on understanding human motivation and behaviour. The practice won numerous design awards for projects such as the Housing Development Board’s Branch Office of the Future at Punggol, the new Singapore Stock Exchange experience, and Singapore Airline’s Silverkris Lounges’ ‘Home Away From Home’ concept worldwide.
In the public sector, the studio has also utilized design thinking to rethink the citizen experience for the State Subordinate Courts, to the HDB home purchasing
experience that that recently opened at the start of 2016.
Since 2007, Mark has also taught numerous private and public sector organizations on using design thinking to solve difficult challenges, ranging from policy issues, to building innovation cultures, rethinking educational approaches, and even training future government leaders to be more empathetic.
An award-winning architect, Mark’s projects have most recently in 2014 & 2015 won the URA Heritage Award and Singapore Institute of Architects Design Award for the Neil Road House, and the winner at the A&D Awards and finalist for the World Architectural Festival Awards for the Crane Houses. His projects have also been featured extensively in local and international design publications.
Mark has served as a council member of the Singapore Institute of Architects since 2009, where he started and chaired the Architectural League from 2010-2012 a new initiative to serve the needs of the younger architectural community and identifying future leaders of the profession.
In July 2016, Mark left ONG&ONG to pursue new opportunities. He is currently the Founder and Principal of ANNEX A /, a design, consulting, and architectural practice, taking a design thinking approach towards designing human centered experiences integrating products, services, and environments. He is also an adjunct faculty at NUS Institute of System Science where he teaches organizations on digital service design innovation, and an Adviser on the Innovation By Design Programme by DesignSingapore and the Economic Development Board, to help businesses use design as a tool for business strategy and organizational transformation.
Mark is interested in the design and shaping of places that strengthen identity and community in the city, as well as the integration of the digital into the physical world for the re-imagination of city life.
He has also released his book ‘Let’s Experience Design!’ which is available in local and online bookstores.