In conversation with award-winning designer Mike Lim
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Published: June 19, 2019

Juliet Huang | Interviews | 19 June, 2019

    In conversation with award-winning designer Mike Lim

    Mike Lim is a Design Director at DP Design. This year, in its 6th Edition, he received the Designer of the Year Award while DP Design received a Silver Award for Top 3 ID Firm of the Year. Two of its interior design projects, Novotel & Mercure Singapore on Stevens and Yotel Singapore, received Gold and Silver Awards respectively for Best Hospitality Design.

    Mike Lim’s extensive portfolio includes projects such as The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall, Resorts World Sentosa as well as Our Tampines Hub, the first integrated lifestyle and community hub in Singapore. (Adapted from DP Architects’ website)

     

    Q. You have contributed to many milestone developments in Singapore such as the retail portions of Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 2, and prominent projects such as Resort Worlds and Paragon. Which would you say was the most rewarding project so far?

    Mike Lim: All projects done in my career came with their own set of challenges and learning experience. They paved the way for all the projects done after. Hence, all are rewarding in their own right. I am excited to create more meaning spaces that will evolve with the ever-changing needs of users.

     

    Image © DP Architects.

    Image © DP Architects.

     

    Q. If you could undertake a dream project right now, what, and where will it be and why?

    Mike Lim: Changi Airport Terminal 5 is as close to a dream project – not just for me but for many in our industry. At a personal level and as a designer, I have never dreamt nor imagined that I would be doing an aviation project at this mega scale. As a Singaporean, there is great joy in being a part of the project and honour in knowing that our design work goes to realising an iconic national development.

    But the opportunity to lead DPA’s team of retail planners and retail designers in this project means much more.

     

    Novotel Singapore On Stevens. Image © DP Architects.

    Novotel Singapore On Stevens. Image © DP Architects.

     

    Q. What is your personal motivation or inspiration when taking on a new project?

    Mike Lim: Across all my works, it is important that the design allows space and people to form a mutual relationship. Hence, I enjoy observing how people use a space; how design can and has transformed its perusing community; and how spaces then shape social behaviours.

    So, inspiration for me, is everywhere and in everything. It can come in a shared word during dinner conversations, a whisper of a narrative from a book I’m reading. Nature and travelling also inspires me. The key is keep your heart, mind and senses open. A designer’s thoughts cannot and should not be blinkered or one-tracked.

     

    Yotel Singapore. Image © DP Architects.

    Yotel Singapore. Image © DP Architects.

     

    Q. Looking back on the past years, how would you say you’ve developed as a designer over the years?

    Mike Lim: I would say that I have developed a clearer and sharper sense of value-adding to space. Value, not in a decorative sense but in the creative ability to bring out the unique character of a space so that it is set apart from its counterparts. To do the former would render oneself a decorator. To do the latter, is to be a designer; whose role must be to give clarity, character and definition to a space. A designer should not impose a given space with his/her preferred/desired sense of aesthetic but to calibrate the design and spatial configuration base on user’s needs, project goals and context. The intention is to build relevance of site to locale, people and time. This is what I’ve been honing over many years. It is also what forms the philosophy that guides our work at DP Design.

     

    Mike Lim, Design Director DP Design. Image © DP Architects.

    Mike Lim, Design Director DP Design. Image © DP Architects.

     

    Q. What do you foresee are the future design trends of built spaces in Singapore, and globally?

    Mike Lim: The advancement of digital technology is changing the way we perceive and use space, as well as the way in which we socialise. So as opposed to a specific future trend in terms of colour and style, I think a larger shift is at play. The industry will observe is an increasing demand for human-centric design and for communal spaces. This is slowly but surely being manifested in the inversion of public to private space ratio where the sizes of home are shrinking and the space allotted for social purposes increasing.

     

     

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