Prestige 40 Under 40: John Lim, founder of The Humid House
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John Lim

34, FOUNDER OF THIS HUMID HOUSE

“Pain is temporary” – that is the mantra botanical designer John Lim tells himself when the going gets tough. It has certainly helped him in the founding of his botanical design studio This Humid House, which has shaken up Singapore’s floristry scene with non‐conformist arrangements (think dried leaves, smashed watermelons and misshaped gourds).

Not everyone bought his “contemporary and critical point‐of‐ view” when he first started out in landscape and floral design. “We had to convince clients to step out of their comfort zones,” he says. “It was tough in the beginning and we had to earn our clients’ trust – that was the reward for powering through doubt and staying true to our vision. It’s easier now, as clients come to us because they are familiar with our approach.”

The studio has already made a name for itself with its designs for events by luxury brands such as Franck Muller, Kenzo, Cartier and Hugo Boss, and popular venues such as The Warehouse Hotel, Straits Clan and Privé, along with other clients for weddings and more. Next up are plans to expand This Humid House’s reach to Paris.

The 34‐year‐old’s ideas stem from his background in architecture – he has worked in big firms such as Steven Holl Architects and Büro Ole Scheeren – while borrowing from a variety of landscape traditions, floristry techniques and contemporary art.

“One of our biggest challenges is getting interesting ingredients for our work,” he shares. “I believe we should mine what we have in the tropics, and not be reliant on imported ingredients. So I’ve been talking to growers who are open to growing things for us. And I’m constantly pushing nurseries here to bring in or grow interesting plants for us, such as heirloom corn with beautiful pixelated kernels – yes, it grows really well in Singapore!”

Balancing creative and commercial considerations is a constant struggle, he admits. “I need to exercise wisdom in deciding when to play art school and when to be a businessman.”

 

Lim is wearing the Panerai Luminor GMT — 44mm (PAM01033)