All images courtesy of Karyn Lim.
Today we have a conversation with Karyn, a recent graduate from National Universal of Singapore Division of Industrial Design.
Yanda: Tell us something about yourself.
Karyn Lim: Hello. My name is Karyn.
What got you into your course industrial design?
I had to attend university but didn’t want to study. Industrial design was one of the more hands-on courses.
Were you always into design or arts?
Was in art club in primary school. Does that count?
I’ve always had an attraction to tasteful things. The real interest in design only developed after 6 months on exchange at L’ENSCI in Paris. It was a small school where students had to compete against each other to get in and really only a handful of all applicants are admitted. We can imagine how passionate and talented they are. Passion and talent aside, what really struck me was the pride that they had of their work. It wasn’t boastful, more of self-satisfaction and some intention to impress.
Another great influence in my development as a designer was having Patrick Chia a mentor. It was he who got me interested in design literature. He used to lend me books after books and I’d spend hours flipping through them and wondering his intention for lending me the particular book. Once, he lent me a book on Thomas Heatherwick. & he asked, you know this guy right? Sheepishly, I shook my head no. It was a good read.
Transformation Bags II
So are you reading more now? The best talks I have ever attended was by Thomas Heatherwick and Toyo Ito. But I never really like keynote presentation or TED talks. Would actually prefer chats over coffee or studio visits.
Owning more books but reading less. I’ve always enjoyed reading. More fiction than non-fiction. & I used to complete many books while commuting daily. But it’s really bad for the eyes so I stopped. Coffee chats and studio visits are definitely more intimate than talks and presentations.
Which batch were you from for NUS DID? And coming from a school that has produced so many President’s Design Award recipent like Hans Tan, Studio Juju, Hunn Wai, Patrick Chia, Nathan Yong, are there any pressure among yourself or your peers?
I graduated from NUS DID in 2015, same batch as Litile Collective (Lim Zhi Ying and Tay Tze Yu), one batch after Afzal Imram (Proper People) . These are friends who were brave enough to start independent studios after graduation and whom I hope will join the ranks of “names we throw out when talking about Singaporean designers”. Pressure, maybe not so much. Everyone is trying to give their best.
If you could own a project of anyone, what would it be and why?
It would be interesting to co-own/co-work on a project with someone of a different field of study/expertise. Collaborations are interesting to me as it offers a peek into another person’s concerns, considerations, and ways of working.
I was actually asking what is your favourite project of others that you would wish you designed.
I know! Wouldn’t steal anyone’s project! I never really wish to have done something that someone else has done. More like, can I achieve an equivalent calibre or do better.
Masses or the niche?
But niche doesn’t get you very rich.
Riche Niche. The niche has potential to produce a rich outcome. Rich not in monetary value but in concept and execution. Niche is an indulgence that does not compromise. Niche has its own mind. For that, niche over masses.
“The new extension to the existing Nanyang Primary School and Kindergarten in Singapore is designed around a large internalised valley, open to the sky but facing away from the residential streets. studio505’s and LT&T’s key design objective was to place the communal space at the heart of the school.
When entering the valley at public street level the visitor cannot see the valley?s entire extent as it curves around a strategically placed bend at its geographic centre where a large landscaped staircase is located. It provides access to the hilltop and its classrooms and integrates spaces for outdoor activities. This landscape gesture emphasizes and enhances the existing site contours. The horizontal extent of the valley is balanced by the verticality of the stair and exposed yellow columns which prop link bridges that seem to fly overhead and facilitate easy connections between the two parallel wings of classrooms.