One half of Lim + Lu, an award-winning inter-disciplinary architectural design practice based in Hong Kong, Vince Lim shares his most memorable travel moments, jet lag tips and more
My last trip was a visit to Stockholm, Sweden, during the Stockholm Furniture and Lighting Fair. It is a wonderful furniture fair to visit as the best of Scandinavian design has to offer is on display. We launched a lounge seating collection with Danish brand New Works, which was very well received.
The fair also has a fantastic young designers program which is a great platform for young designers to connect with furniture brands and manufacturers. We plan to exhibit at the fair this coming year and hope it will be a fruitful experience.
Most of the traveling we do nowadays is for work. However, once a year during summer, we take a family vacation and that is strictly for leisure. We frequent Venice for the Biennale often, two years ago, we went on a safari in Tanzania. This year, we are taking a cruise that navigates the waters of the Baltic Sea.
Although these family trips are for leisure, we will make an exception this year. Disembarking the cruise liner in Copenhagen offers us an opportunity to be in one of the design capitals of the world. Over the past two years, we have also been collaborating with a few Danish furniture and accessories brands, and being in Copenhagen will give us the chance to have a workshop with the brands and see the prototypes of our upcoming designs.
What do you love the most about travelling?
As designers, we commonly get asked “where do we get our inspiration from?” The short answer to that would be travelling. When one travels, their minds are exposed to new perspectives and new cultures, things that would seem foreign and strange at first, however, the curiosity to understand the different cultures often reveals remarkable answers.
We draw inspiration from everyday surroundings and the daily mundane. We like to people watch and observe how different people interact with spaces and objects.
Most memorable travel experience?
Two summers ago, we went on a safari in Tanzania. It was an unforgettable experience and I highly recommend it to be on everybody’s bucket list.
You wake up while it’s still dark and jump in a jeep before the break of dawn, racing out to the great plains in hopes of seeing glowing beady eyes in the darkness. As first light hits the earth’s surface, a lioness and her three baby cubs are revealed playing in the tall grass. That was just the opening act to the headliner which is the wildebeests crossing the river as part of the great migration.
Two whole days were spent sitting in anticipation for the wildebeest to cross a crocodile-filled river, but no luck. On our last day, we waited eagerly with zero expectations, just as anxious as the creatures below the surface of the water.
Without any warning, splash goes the first wildebeest and the others followed blindly. At last, we witnessed a great migration which lasted over 20 minutes. Being able to witness all that mother nature has to offer is a bonus, spending 12-hour days baking in a jeep with our family was the best part.
And the worst?
During my college days, our group of friends scattered across the US decided to reunite for a weekend at a music festival in a desert. On the second night, the music festival was cut short at midnight due to a sandstorm.
Just as we were about to reach the car, I couldn’t find our car keys. Due to the sandstorm, roads leading to us were closed. We ended up sitting out in the cold of the parking lot until sunrise when the tow truck finally appeared to end our misery. As miserable as it was then, it makes for a good story and a laugh now.
Three things you always travel with?
Sketchbook, camera, comfortable shoes.
What do you normally read on the plane?
Before a flight, I like to purchase some design magazines and publications. With information being exchanged so rapidly today, most literature has moved to a digital format.
However, the romantic in me still enjoys seeing images printed on paper that you can physically touch. There is no better time to flip through some magazines than when you’re 30,000 feet in the air with no internet access. As a result, our home and office is scattered with editorials.
Favourite travel companion?
My wife Elaine. Elaine and I were classmates when we studied architecture at Cornell University and our romance only blossomed in our penultimate year. Since then we have travelled to countless places together and because of our study abroad programs, it is only fitting that we love travelling together.
See also: How I Travel: Elaine Lu of Lim + Lu
Aisle or window seat?
Favourite travel app?
The Weather app.
Your best travel tip?
If travelling to a place where tipping is customary, tip beforehand rather than after. The service will be more attentive and the experience will be more pleasant.
Any tips on overcoming jet lag?
Day time: Power through the day, don’t take naps and fight the urge to sleep early.
Night time: Have an eye mask within arm’s reach. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, absolutely no mobile devices, put the eye mask on and force yourself back to sleep.
What are the latest travel trends?
As social media becomes more integral in the way we communicate, once remote and hard to get to destinations are now seen by people all around the world. As a result, people are constantly in search of destinations off the beaten path for a sense of uniqueness and individuality.
See Vince's top picks from Tumi below:
The ’How I Travel’ series is presented by Tumi, a global leader of high-end suitcases and travel bags. Believing that life is a journey, their wide range of suitcases, totes, bags, and travel accessories are ready to accompany you every step of the way.