David Adjaye, the renowned British architect, often talks about how space holds a certain power over us, informing how we feel and who belongs. “The narrative of architecture is one of a strong and silent storyteller,” he explains. “Yet it is the stage in which we all perform.” Exploring the subtle ways in which space can conjure emotion, inform belonging and build narrative is central to Andrew Lim Clarkson’s practice. The London-based set designer, whose work lives in the images of Rafael Pavarotti, Silvia Rosi, Till Janz and Tyler Mitchell, elicits a subtle and refined fashion fantasy that defies boundaries and expectations.
Clarkson grew up in Lichfield, a cathedral city on the outskirts of Birmingham in the UK, where his mother emigrated when she was 16. “I’ve always felt a bit alien being half English, half Malaysian, talking in a pseudo queen’s English,” Clarkson shares. “I never felt a sense of belonging there, and from an early age, I had the desire to escape and search for something bigger.”
His introduction to design was born out of his mother’s entrepreneurial spirit, with which she built two successful businesses. First, a care home for people living with mental health issues and then a property venture. “Her job meant we moved around a lot doing up houses and selling them on. This gave me a taste for interior design before I even knew what it was.”