12 August 2021
Born into a family of architects, Kevin Lim had a childhood that made him witness to many of the challenges faced by his architect father. “Constraints such as money, time and the actual space make it hard for architects to realise their ideals,” says Lim, who nonetheless followed his father’s path and studied architecture at Cornell University in the US. “When I was young, I often visited restaurants that my father had designed, experiencing the way he fused Chinese elements into designs to construct his ideal spaces. I wanted to be like my father, creating beautiful spaces that resonate with people.” His younger brother also followed in their footsteps, making the Lim family of architects complete.

Lim co-founded OPENUU in 2011 and as an Applied Science Degree Associate from Le Cordon Bleu, understands restaurant design better than most architectural designers. “In the past, you only had to design restaurants to fulfil their function. But in recent years clients have often asked for unique ‘Instagrammable’ features so that diners can check in and take pictures,” he explains, citing as an example a local noodle shop where his design has purposefully incorporated a rusty finish on its iron frames to evoke a local industrial vibe.
The recently-opened Nina Patisserie by Nina Hospitality is also the brainchild of Lim. Apart from being ‘Instagrammable’, its minimalistic design enhances the sense of space, drawing the attention of passers-by to the delicate desserts and pastries in the glass cases. “Design can entice people into the cake shop for a break, to enjoy coffee, dessert or a light meal. I hope it can be a new gathering place in the Tsuen Wan community,” he adds. After ten years in the field, Lim has still not forgotten why he started.“I hope that people will eventually relate to the ideal space that I’ve created.”

Kevin Lim

After graduating from the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University, Kevin Lim co-founded OPENUU in 2011. A three-time winner of the Best of Year Awards by Interior Design magazine, he has also received the 40 under 40 Award from Perspective Magazine and 40 under 40 Designer Award in China (Hong Kong), by Guangzhou Design Week.

Mean Noodles evokes a local industrial vibe.

Ah Yung Kitchen, designed by Kevin Lim, demonstrates how restaurants today have to be both functional and ‘Instagrammable’.

Nina Patisserie adopted a minimalistic design.

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