Matthew Lim: Where Passion Meets Design

Lydia Lohshini by Lydia Lohshini on May 13, 2020
Why you should care

At only 30, this young interior designer has made his mark in the regions interior design industry. Check out how his resilience and hard work took this small-town boy to the big leagues.

This year has been unexpected for everyone but local interior designer Matthew Lim isn’t going to let any hurdle stop him from achieving his goals. At only 30 years old, his interior design firm, Matthew Lim Associates has garnered deserving recognitions and awards both locally and internationally.

SOURCE: Matthew Lim (centre) at Reka International Design Award 2017 ceremony

As a young kid from Malacca, Matthew lived an ordinary childhood being raised by his father who worked as a lorry driver and mother who was a tailor. But it was his keen eye for details and love of drawing that helped him along the path of art. It didn’t hurt either when he was nudged into the world of interior design as he was told it could eventually be a lucrative job.

SOURCE: Heesan Kopi at Jonker Street, Malacca by Matthew Lim Associates.

What started out as a small interest bloomed into a love for all things design. Matthew states: “I’m always attracted to beautiful designs regardless of its nature — interior, art, product design, architecture, and basically anything around me. It excites me when I visit new places, explore new hotels, restaurants, and even bars while travelling abroad. That is how I get inspired, by allowing myself to immerse in the essence of great design.”

He started his entrepreneurial journey at 21 while pursuing his degree by taking on freelance projects that required him to curate concept designs and 3D visualisations for various ID firms. It was only in 2015 that Matthew Lim Associates came to fruition. It only took five years for the firm to make its mark in the industry with expansions of its portfolio to eight countries in Southeast Asia, specialising in F&B and hospitality projects. It hasn’t been a smooth road as Matthew notes that a lot of hard work and challenges were involved with the world of interior design. It’s not all about beautiful spaces; it requires management skills, financial knowledge, communication, and even comprehension in psychology.

SOURCE: Matthew Lim (left) with Santan + T&Co’s client – General Manager Catherine Goh (centre) & AirAsia group CEO tan Sri Tony Fernandes (right).

When asked about what has kept him going through the years, he says: “Purpose — it is very important to understand the very fibre of your intent when setting up your own firm. What can you offer the market that no one else can? You need to be persistent and focus on high-quality execution. Do not start an ID firm just for the sake of making money; it’ll be very hard to sustain the business and you’ll end up falling over very quickly.”

Understandably, all jobs come with their share of frustrating and rewarding traits. Being an interior designer has given Matthew a greater amount of patience and understanding. Through the years, he has come across clients and colleagues who may not always see things the same way as he does or is able to accept ‘no’ for an answer. When dealing with challenges, he explains: “Always maintain your focus on the purpose and goal you’ve set in the beginning. Then, believe wholeheartedly in that purpose when you’re facing challenges and difficult times. For me, I always look back to why and where I’ve started since the beginning of my career. “

SOURCE: Matthew Lim (right) with Hong Kong renowned interior designer Steve Leung (left).

In return, he has found joy in helping corporate clients improve their business operation efficacy and brand awareness through interior design. It further motivates him when his clients continuously refer MLA to their business partners and friends. It has also been a satisfying journey as homeowners always experience improvements in their lifestyles through the power of interior design.

During our conversation with this young entrepreneur, it has become evident that hard work, dedication, passion, and resilience are the key traits that have helped him become a major force in the interior design industry. It also helps Matthew Lim Associates build an unwavering image as interior designers who curate bespoke and personalised experiences through problem-solving and story-telling.

SOURCE: Santan + T&Co at Midvalley Mall, KL by Matthew Lim Associates.

In parting, Matthew Lim quotes Franklin D. Roosevelt saying, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” This has proved to be true in his case as Matthew Lim as an individual or interior designer, has gone through challenges that have since paved the way for greater things. With that said, his vision is to further elevate the standards of design in Asia while continuing to do his part to give back to the design community.

Want to connect with the interior designer? Head on over to Matthew Lim Associates’ profile.

Why you should care

At only 30, this young interior designer has made his mark in the regions interior design industry. Check out how his resilience and hard work took this small-town boy to the big leagues.

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