William Lim Associates William Lim Associates

William Lim Associates

The logo of an architecture firm founded by William Lim

Tan Swie Hian (陈瑞献)
William Lim Associates

The logo is an abstract ideogram of the Chinese character "巢" which means nest. It also faintly resembles the Unité d'Habitation, a residential building designed by the influential modernist French architect Le Corbusier.

After Lim founded his studio in 1981, he turned to artist Tan Swie Hian to capture the essence of the firm's approach of drawing inspiration from tradition while being modern as well as blending East and West. Tan created several sketches of abstract ideograms derived from the Chinese characters for its logo. Of the three characters proposed, 舍 ( shè – home) 巢 ( cháo – nest ) 屋 ( wū – hut / shelter), the firm settled on 巢 as it is laden with meaning. In Chinese mythology, Youchao-shi ( 有巢氏 ) was one of the mythical Three Sovereigns ( 三皇 ) who used their abilities to improve the lives of their people. In this mythology, Youchao-shi is the inventor of houses and buildings, and taught people how to make buildings from wood so that they could protect themselves from animals.

Tan's sketches were turned into a logo by graphic designer Ko Hui-Huy. In 2003, the logo was replaced when Lim retired and the firm was renamed W Architects.

  • "From William Lim Associates to W Architects." In To Draw an Idea: Retracing the Designs of William Lim Associates – W Architects", edited by Justin Zhuang, 18–19. Singapore: National Library Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority, 2023.