Designer Jarrod Lim is a busy man these days. He is currently working on a luxury villa project in Bali in addition to designing more products for his own Hinika range of furniture and home products.
Early this year, Lim’s lattice panel booth design for the American Hardwood Export Council won Best Stand Award (200sqm and below) at the International Furniture Fair Singapore.
Springing from that are several other exhibition booth projects that he has been asked to work on. He is also working on a new restaurant interior.
On top of that, the award-winning designer will be coming up with more products for the Crystalline collection for Royal Selangor.
The elegantly simple collection is inspired by the faceted geometry of crystals and features polished pewter set against natural black walnut wood, evoking a pleasant contrast.
“After visiting the (Royal Selangor) pewter factory, I felt that I needed to concentrate on the unique characteristics of pewter, such as its ability to be formed into intricate shapes and its potential to achieve a highly polished finish,” explains Lim, 38, via e-mail.
“Also, I wanted to develop pieces that could display the high level of skill that the artisans at Royal Selangor possess.
“Many of the pieces in the collection appear simple but they are very difficult to make and can only be manufactured using the type of traditional techniques employed by Royal Selangor,” says the Singapore-based designer.
“Faceted and patterned structures are something that I really like to incorporate into my designs. I felt that a faceted appearance is something that’s not normally associated with pewter products but the shapes reflect the light brilliantly and really enhance the appeal of the polished surfaces,” adds Lim.
Being a soft material, pewter allowed Lim to come up with some complex designs for the collection, which comprises tea-light holders, salt and pepper shakers, candlestands, jugs, bud vases and candelabra.
“Some of the thickness of the products needed to be increased to add more strength but without the malleability of pewter, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the intricate shapes and the detail that I wanted in the design,” says Lim.
Lim’s father is Singaporean while his mother is Australian, so he was born and bred in Melbourne, and completed his education there.
Lim says that he “sees creativity as a process of taking the old and familiar into new, unexpected directions”.
That philosophy has snagged many awards for his designs such as the Pinnacle Award USA 2009 and the A&D (Architecture and Design) Trophy Award 2014; he was also named Australia’s Young Designer of the Year in 2001.
Lim’s Gable Lamp, made with aluminium and polycarbonate with specialised LED technology for British furniture and lighting company Innermost, won the Asia-Pacific A&D trophy award.
“It is a ceiling lamp aimed mainly at commercial environments as a replacement for fluorescent lamps. The design is based on the idea of ‘a roof over your head’, which gives it the quirky appearance,” says Lim.
Meanwhile, his Apex Chair won in the Best Outdoor Furniture category in the American Society of Furniture Designers’ Pinnacle Award. The chair was part of the first collection Lim created when he started working in Singapore and was designed for a local manufacturer looking for a new range to launch its own in-house brand.
“They specialised in teak wood outdoor furniture but they had just started working with stainless steel. So I wanted to use their skills to create something simple yet very modern.
“I looked at what I could achieve with simple cuts of wood and slowly developed the idea of the changing angles on the edges of the furniture. The design tricks the eye making it appear as though the wood is changing thickness but it is the same thickness all the way through,” explains Lim, who has exhibited his work throughout Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia.
After graduating in industrial design from the RMIT University in Melbourne, Lim moved to Milan and worked with established designer Patricia Urquiola, where he was exposed to international design and worked on a variety of projects with top companies in Europe.
He later moved to London to work with SCP, one of Britain’s top design and furniture manufacturers. Developing projects from a manufacturing perspective gave him a well-rounded view of the industry, crucial to laying the foundation for setting up his own design studio.
Lim then returned to Melbourne to work as a design lecturer, during which he also took part in various Singapore design competitions, winning several awards. That spurred him on to pursue his lifelong dream of starting his own design practice.
In 2007, he moved to Singapore, first operating from his apartment. In 2011, he officially set up Jarrod Lim Design.
“In my designs, I focus on investigating how people relate to the materials, objects and spaces that surround them.
“It is through this investigation that I can find new inspiration and connections whether it’s something to do with the material or the manufacturing process.
“My aim for each project is to realise a delicate balance between creating something new and engaging while maintaining a sense of purpose and tradition,” shares Lim, when asked to describe his design style.
Lim works with all kinds of materials in his designs.
“I don’t have a favourite material to work with. Every material has its own merits and it’s up to the designer to discover and enhance the qualities of each one. Different materials work better in different situations and each can provide the user with a different experience.
“For example, it might be unusual to have a water bottle made from bamboo but with the right design it may become a future, new method of manufacturing water bottles.”
Some of Lim’s long term plans include increasing his staff strength at the studio.
“I’ve purposely kept it very small but now that I’m getting offered larger projects, I feel that I need to grow. With these larger opportunities available, I’m also being given a much wider scope.
“Recently I’ve been designing websites and developing branding for various companies. I’m also working on exhibition and event design in China as well as more products for my own Hinika collection,” he says.
“My ultimate goal as a designer is to have a body of work that I’m proud of. Whether it’s small household objects, luxury goods or whole hotels, I just want to feel proud of each design that I do,” says Lim.
The Crystalline collection is available at Royal Selangor retail stores, authorised dealers and at royalselangor.com.