For most people, running a restaurant and a design studio would mean taking on two separate full-time jobs. For Caroline Chou ’02 and her husband Kevin Lim, it is a serendipitous combination that enables them to fully flex their creative muscles as co-owners of OPENUU Design Studio and Mean Noodles. This year, their hard work and creative innovation bore fruit when Mean Noodles was awarded the 2019 Will Ching Award by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
The enticing Southeast Asian dishes served up at Mean Noodles in Hong Kong are as aesthetically pleasing as the exquisite décor. Opened by husband-and-wife architects Kevin Lim and Caroline Chou MArch 11 in 2017, the restaurant in the city’s Sheung Wan district recently earned a Will Ching Award from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
“This year’s winning project is exemplary of the aesthetic and collaborative power of boutique firms,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “We are pleased to honor OPENUU as the winner of the 2019 Will Ching Design Competition and celebrate their vibrant, urban, and cohesive design.”
Kevin Lim missed laksa, the spicy soup he slurped as a child when visiting relatives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “It was my comfort food,” recalls Lim, who is an architect as well as a trained chef—he attended Le Cordon Bleu, the now-closed culinary school near Boston, after attaining his architecture degree. Now back in Hong Kong, he’s the co-founding partner of OpenUU with his wife, design director Caroline Chou. The soup and other Southeast Asian dishes conceived by Lim have debuted at their first restaurant, Mean Noodles, the winner of the Will Ching Award for a project by a firm with five or fewer employees.
The latest volume in Frame’s hospitality design series unveils outstanding and inspirational destinations that are setting the direction of the industry.