CEO and Founding Partner
Martin Lesjak is the design visionary behind INNOCAD. His foresight and expertise in art, design, craft and theatrics have led the award-winning firm in innovative directions globally.
As a child, Lesjak knew early on that he would use art to make a difference, as this was the universal language that came naturally to him. The only question: which path he would choose? In addition to showing talent in fine art, stage design and stage construction, he exhibited a penchant for music and learned piano at a young age. As a college student this passion was expressed as a DJ, where he earned a following and was nicknamed: ‘A Lord’ together with his partner ‘Jesus Miller’ as “Doctors on Decks,” an internationally successful DJ collective. Today, he continues to fuel a love of music in collaboration with Severin Su producing music for 13&9 Design.
An educator and thought leader, Lesjak discusses his work and lectures frequently at academic institutions. Receiving his Master of Science in Architecture from the Technical University of Graz, he has lectured there consistently since 2003 as well as at the Institute for Urban Development and Institute for Residential Building.
Lesjak recently spoke at the GIS International Architecture Expo Conference Bucharest, 2014; Architektur in Progress in Vienna, 2013; at the IDW Istanbul, 2013; at the 2013 Turn-On Festival in Vienna; at Microsoft Vienna ”New World of Work”, The Office of the Future, From Idea to Reality, 2012; at ÖGFA (Austrian Architectural Association) ”Designing Autonomy/Autonomously. How much autonomy does architecture have today?”, Vienna 2009; at sft-Architecture World 2007 in Münster, and many more. He represented INNOCAD during Istanbul Design Week 2013 and in 2014, was the official representative of Graz as a UNESCO City of Design at the first “Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents 2014” in Shenzhen, China.
After receiving the label “best architects” for 2014 and 2013, Lesjak has recently served on the jury for “best architects 15” serving with Donatella Floretti, Berlin and Niklaus Graber, Luzern.
For Lesjak, the creative process does not end with the shaping and designing of an object -- creativity is involved in every facet of the development process and in the evolution of comprehensive design solutions. He further contends that creativity is without boundaries and offers a multitude of possibilities and should not be labeled into specific categories. It is this search for truth in design that prompted Lesjak to co-found 13&9 Design, an interdisciplinary product design label, together with life partner, fashion and product designer, Anastasia Su. The brand produces products across multiple categories and works with local suppliers, artisans and craftspeople to produce these original designs. They design for international brands, like Mohawk Group, XAL, VITEO Outdoors, and Artifort / Lande.
Not everyone can turn a talent and passion into a viable and successful profession, but Martin seems to have mastered this from the start. Deeply connected to the design process itself, the importance of an idea often serves as the guide and project inspiration. This is evident in his earliest project, designing his father’s vacation home in Croatia in 1995, and to his commitment to live only in INNOCAD-designed residences.
When he is not occupied with design and architecture, lecturing at conferences or universities, receiving awards, or launching new products for 13&9, Lesjak can be found at his weekly football match (he once considered pursuing that professionally) or sailing a catamaran and remaining digitally out-of-reach with family and friends while enjoying the sea.
COO and Founding Partner
In 1999, Peter Schwaiger established INNOCAD in Graz together with Martin Lesjak, and in 2006 he founded the development company, Golden Nugget Projektentwicklung GMBH which provides INNOCAD self-funded projects.
If Lesjak is the firm’s soul, Schwaiger is the team captain, keeping the team focused and remaining on the right course. As the other founding partner, his role as COO is managing all business and logistics for the organization. Firm, dependable, optimistic, pragmatic and always accessible, he fosters INNOCAD’s business relationships most notably their recent expansion into the Middle East. The firm is well-balanced between the two leaders of the firm, Lesjak and Schwaiger, due to their long history, mutual respect, and personal admiration for one another.
Like Lesjak, Schwaiger knew early on as a small child that he would build houses some day. Since his years at university where he graduated with a Master of Science in Architecture, and with INNOCAD he has realized more then 50 projects – more then he could have ever imagined as a child growing up on a farm.
Today, Schwaiger juggles his work at INNOCAD and Golden Nugget with a rich personal life. He gets immense joy from his two children and his life partner who also studied architecture and is a lighting designer.
If he is not in the office or with his beloved family, you can find him on the football field meeting friends for their regular game of soccer. In addition to seeing the firm expand to global locations, he also aspires to play a key role in the development of a significant skyscraper.