Founded by Lim Shing Hui in 2016, L Architects is a boutique architecture studio based in Singapore that asks simple questions but are intrepid in its interventions. It revels in the hard questions and untested solutions, pushing boundaries to conceive new prototypes. A space is more than a sum of parts, and has ample potential for enhanced living beyond what we are familiar with. This thought shapes its philosophy to making objects, rooms, dwellings, work spaces and gardens.
Not one to subscribe to mere archetypes or typologies, it has in its body of work an apartment interior that embeds qualities of a landed house, nature as a building material, and abandoned structures resurrected into life-giving shells full of wild, aged beauty that makes for an unusual workspace and an extraordinary retail space made from ordinary materials. Also, in design studies transcending scale, a doll’s house to contain bookish treasures, a shoe cabinet that is part umbrella stand, and a floating bedside table that adapts to space and function.
With each piece of work, an architect invites the client into a part of her childhood, habits and beliefs, making the very act of designing a personal one. For Shing Hui, this would be everyday conversation with the natural world. As a child, she was beholden to nature’s gifts and possibilities. Forest treks and scenic discoveries shaped her thinking, and they still do. Nature can reveal many lessons. It is the premise for the studio’s experiments, and a tool to evoke emotion and calm.
L Architects designs for people, and people are multifaceted. Quirks and habits, routines and past times, work and play. These are things it thinks about – as do you. It understands your apprehensions, your dreams, your lacks and your fancies. It is a maker, but also listener. In its role, it takes the client along on a journey of discovery through unlikely ideas into surprising products.
The metamorphosis of concept to pen, and then to built form – L Architects enjoys all the steps it takes, including the back-and-forth dialogue in developing a design, the hours (yes, it does take hours) conceiving and drawing a door or staircase edge detail, as well as the creative energy among collaborators on site. Mostly, it strives to find that one right question that will steer each creation.