Matthew Lim

Space Narrator, Matthew Lim Associates

What makes a superb designer? From the moment you sit down to chat, Matthew is articulate and down-to-earth, breaking down concepts with everyday analogies so you ‘get’ why grey and brown won’t do – no matter how avant-garde the home owner’s ideas. He’s got a great story about how he started his firm, MLA Design. So we’ll let him take it from here:

The stage is yours…

Well it was a struggle going through college so I freelanced all throughout doing concept proposals and illustrations. It was very challenging to juggle both academic work and hustling on the side. But it really helped me pick up on what the industry actually about. When I came out to work I realised it put me three to five years ahead of my peers.

What’s your personal style about?

I’m all for timeless luxury – clean cut lines and minimalist design. But every brief really depends on the client’s requirements, whether it’s for a commercial or residential project. You might think of it in these terms: a Porsche has an iconic shape and is designed to be instantly recognisable. Unlike a Ferrari or a Lamborghini that’s made to inspire awe on the first impression.

What are the challenges facing a business like yours?

It’s important for designers to be professionally accredited. A lot of building contractors offer design services but their work is not up to par and quality is always sketchy. Then there are fresh grads who set up their own practice and offer rock bottom prices to secure clients. Over the long run, this jeopardises all of us in the design world.

What other aspects of your job are equally important, but often overlooked?

As an interior designer it is crucial that we manage our clients with clear and precise communication, so that we hear and understand their concerns. Sometimes we need to advice the client to top-up their budget and opt for more durable materials that last the test of time. So good communication is actually vital to the successful completion of any project.

What were your first thoughts on the A-Lister invitation?

I’m generally laid back when it comes to downtime. I like movies, swimming, catching up on my sleep. When the call came I was very intrigued, and that’s why I’m here!

Jacket and pants by Bottega Veneta; Bell & Ross BR 05 Black Steel with black rubber strap; Vision Briefcase by Braun Büffel

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