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Sim Boon Yang: The Sensitive Rationalist

Following up on our visit to architect Sim Boon Yang’s abode in Cubes Indesign C63, Luo Jingmei finds out more about the person himself.

Sim Boon Yang: The Sensitive Rationalist


July 4th, 2013

There’s a lot you can find out about a person when you visit his abode. Rich in textures, yet restrained, a visit to the home of Eco-ID Architects’ co-founder Sim Boon Yang gave us a glimpse into his daily life and personality.

Eco-ID Architects was established in 1996 after some years of Sim studying in the USA and working for Michael Hopkins & Partners. It’s most known for its chic and sensitively detailed hospitality projects such as The Metropolitan in Bangkok, Naumi Singapore, W Resort in the Maldives and most recently, residential work such as the Hamilton Scotts condominium. From our conversation, I also found out more about what inspires Sim and makes him tick.  

Eco-ID Architects

Clearwater Residence, KL, Malaysia

On his design training:

“London in the late 80s [to] early 90s was very exciting, very experimental. All the ‘high-tech’ architects were there – Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Michael Hopkins – so what I got was this absolute sense of rationalism in my approach to design. Of course, the language is very different. It’s not entirely applicable here. So it’s not so much the architecture itself, but the thinking logic leading to a successful design that I got from that period of working.”

Eco-ID Architects

Dream City, KL, Malaysia

Eco-ID Architects

Dream City, KL, Malaysia

On his design references:

“In current times, I simply do not read about architecture. I stay clear of architecture references because I think the source of inspiration for projects has to come from somewhere else. It could be geography, the culture of a place, a mood… I think it’s far more important to dig deeper for the source rather than the architectural idea so I read widely.”

Eco-ID Architects

Naumi hotel, Singapore

On current architecture:

“I think there isn’t enough architects trying to be artistic. The idea of the Renaissance man is a lost idea. People don’t think like that anymore. As a result, there’s a lot of orientation towards form-making that has that ‘magazine effect’, that big single effect.”

Eco-ID Architects

Dusit Thani Mudhdhoo, Maldives

On his hospitality work seeping into his home:

“Those things I do with hotels come into my home – the way I style the rooms. Not many architects do that. [For instance] I’ve been sourcing for a painting for the living room wall for a long time and I only bought it a year after I moved in. It’s a very strong, bold [image] which I find anchors this wall. Architecture that is of interest to me must really have an identity that comes with the layering of things; likewise if you’re doing a resort, the lobby wants to have something from the region that puts it in its context.”

Eco-ID Architects

Dusit Thani Mudhdhoo, Maldives

On his inspiration:

“Louis Kahn. Because in the university I went to in the United States, my professor used to work with him. He strikes the absolute magical balance of modernity [and tradition] and takes it to the next level where it starts to have a spiritual presence in space. That’s very hard to achieve. It’s the characteristic of architecture I aspire towards.”

Sim Boon Yang/ Eco-ID Architects

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