One To Show, One To Go
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 11/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
William Lim stealing a private moment with his father inside his "Drifting Pavilion" installation at the Designhuis in Eindhoven, Holland. Photo by Shinichi Arase.
Bills posted on Hoxton Square in London.
"Old Persons Home," an installation of sculpture by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu at Saatchi.
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Gehry Partners in London.
Big Ben towering over the Houses of Parliament in London.
There's William Lim the managing director, and there's William Lim the artist. The challenge for the head of Hong Kong–based CL3 Architects is making sure that ever the twain shall meet. "I always feel a link between art and design," says Lim, "and in my projects, I want to explore this relationship." These aesthetic explorations frequently lead to real journeys, most recently a two-part jaunt to the Netherlands and London that fed Lim's dueling proclivities for invention and observation.
He indulged the former at the Designhuis in Eindhoven, joining the first contingent of Chinese designers participating in Dutch Design Week. With wife, father, and two siblings in tow, Lim toasted "Drifting Pavilion," a 300-square-foot installation in which Hong Kong graphic artist Freeman Lau's furniture was surrounded by Lim's 25 wood-framed paper envelope panels—appropriately enough, meant to suggest a traveler's letters home. During the three days required to install the show, the inventor's alter ego took hold, insisting on taking in sights such as Merkx + Girod Architects' Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore, its steel frame housed inside a 13th-century church in Maastricht, and Gerrit Rietveld's Schröder House in Utrecht, Lim's "architect's pilgrimage." Perhaps anticipating the trip's second leg, he passed up stamppot for fish and chips at Utrecht's Bis restaurant.
Once in London, Lim fully morphed into an inspiration sponge, absorbing crossover ideas for his own work: "Window displays, art, and environments, the juxtaposition of old and new." A Mark Rothko show at Tate Modern was a "religious experience," he notes, made all the more resonant when followed by Francis Bacon's "amazing" exhibition at Tate Britain, and the inevitable comparisons. After viewing Anish Kapoor installations at the Royal Institute of British Architects headquarters and visiting Hoxton Square galleries, including White Cube and Yvon Lambert, Lim was stopped dead in his tracks by a dragonlike configuration of coat hangers in a Harvey Nichols window. But we know what you're wondering. Having supped on British comfort cuisine in Holland, what was for afters? "I go to London for Chinese food," Lim admits, carrying coals to Newcastle.
William Lim's Top 5 in London
1. Visiting the Tate Modern.
2. Having a drink at the bar at the Sanderson hotel.
3. Touring Knightsbridge and walking over to the Victoria &Albert Museum.
4. Shopping at Selfridges.
5. Exploring Hyde Park and the Serpentine Gallery.
Images by William Lim.