Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In our weekly 27 Questions column, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same amount of time it takes to sit through a 2-minute speed date.
In this week’s edition of 27 Questions we speak with Caroline Chou, Design Director of award-winning interdisciplinary firm OPENUU. Originally born in Texas, Chou spent her early years shuttling between Taiwan and the U.S. — where she later went on to study architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. Along with husband (and OPENUU founder) Kevin Lim, Chou has become something of a marquee name on the burgeoning Hong Kong design/architecture scene. Since Chou and Lim moved their business to Hong Kong in 2012, OPENUU has been awarded ‘Best of Year’ firm by Interior Design Magazine four times; and bagged the prestigious Will Ching Design Prize this April — awarded for ‘original and excellent’ design by small companies with up to five employees.
Deeply invested in crafting personable, irreverent spaces which foster a wider sense of place — whether that be irreverent F&B outlets like Mean Noodles or a full-scale boutique hotel — it’s little wonder that Chou’s practice has developed a reputation for its uncanny ability to engage both clients and members of the public. Amidst her busy schedule, we sat down with the 35-year old architect (and mother of one) to discuss slightly more light-hearted matters, ranging from her love of white truffle pasta to the summer she interned at Sina.
Name: Caroline Chou Lim
Neighbourhood: Happy Valley
“Never give up, there’s always a solution.”
The Alba truffle pasta at Otto e Mezzo Bombana.
A summer internship at Sina.
Usually [my husband] Kevin drives, so it’s been a while.
The fact that we designed!
Not studying abroad during college.
There’s always too much going on: I often find myself triple booked, and it’s hard to schedule meet-ups with other people.
Breakfast a few times a week. I’m not much of a cook, so breakfast is probably the most I can do.
Anything bug-related, especially cockroaches.
Watching Marvel films.
A Star is Born.
Going to college again, and only having to worry about which classes to take.
French Polynesia — I’d go scuba diving literally all the time.
A love of good food and a hard work ethic.
José Andrés, Grant Achatz, Norman Foster, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec.
Basically anything by Jay Chou.
Me and my brother walking home from school together.
I hid my mid-term report cards!
I can’t cook to save my life! That said, I bake a pretty good chocolate chip cookie.
My high school mathematics teacher, Mrs. Cox. She taught me that if you have a multi-step system for solving problems, then even something like calculus can be easy.
Around 25, though I usually wear my white canvas Toms.