Q&A with Lim Cheng Kooi, AR43 Architects: Less is more, less is beautiful

Q&A with Lim Cheng Kooi, AR43 Architects: Less is more, less is beautiful

Q&A with Lim Cheng Kooi, AR43 Architects: Less is more, less is beautiful

You have a prolific portfolio of residential projects. How have you managed to keep inspired while working in this space all these years?

We always get excited each time we have a new commission to work on. It is the adrenaline that keeps us going all these years. To get inspired, we need to look beyond architecture, to different sources, in the most unexpected of ways; while having a walk in the park, a jog in the evening or listening to music. At times, even a chat with the clients or driving to a meeting could spark an idea.

What more can be done to push the boundaries of residential design in Singapore? 

To push boundaries, by my definition, is to build less, as houses here are getting humongous. I hope we can live more by the maxim of less is more, less is beautiful! Let’s not be obsessed about maximising the permissible GFA of a house. This is a mindset issue that I hope homeowners can overcome. 

Which three designers, from the past or present, do you most admire? Why?

  1. Carlo Scarpa
  2. Issey Miyake
  3. Herzog & De Meuron

They are inspirational to me for their ingenious handling of materials, artistry in techniques and inventive approach in design.

What are your three favourite buildings in SE Asia?

  1. The Colonnade, Singapore
  2. Central Market, Kuala Lumpur 
  3. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

You’re an avid potter. How does your passion for it complement the architecture that you do? 

Pottery making is meditative. You need to be focused and centred before a piece of clay can be made into a ceramic piece. Similarly, in architecture, one has to be very focused and mindful to produce inspiring work. Pottery also requires precision and decisiveness…just like architecture.

Lim Cheng Kooi is the Founder of AR43 Architects.

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