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Kedai KL, Mahsa Avenue – An Artisanal Marketplace for Homegrown Creatives

If you’re looking for a place to hangout over the weekend that isn’t a crowded, cookie-cutter mall, drop by at Kedai KL, a cool hidden gem tucked within Mahsa Avenue in Petaling Jaya. A project by Mahsa Group (which owns and runs Mahsa University nearby), the artisanal market was launched in late 2019 as a space to “bring local entrepreneurs, artists, makers and designers together under one roof”, whilst also giving visitors a curated retail and lifestyle experience.

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Please watch my video and subscribe. I spent six hours making this. D:
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Kedai is located at Block B, and spans two floors, on levels two and three. Inspired by the concept of a street market, the spacious centre court (called The Lorong, or ‘alleyway’) hosts cosy beanbags and low tables and chairs that are perfect for lounging. On weekends, the space is used for pop-up booths, bazaars and activities.

There are about 60 shops at Kedai, mostly featuring homegrown products and businesses; you can find a hodgepodge of products and services here, from shoe shops to stores selling accessories and clothing, chic cafes, a tattoo parlour, a creative workshop space, a digital art gallery, and more. The shops are all really tiny by the way, measuring between 220 to 440 square feet.

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Window display at Mossybola Kokedoma, which sells decorative indoor plants

Social media has changed many aspects of our lives, including how and why we travel – and the last couple of years have seen a rise in “Instagram destinations” – places that are designed to be aesthetically pleasing for the Gram (because Malaysians are obsessed with taking photos). Kedai is one such place: you’ll be hard-pressed to find an ugly corner. The folks at Kedai know this too, and they actively encourage visitors to take lots and lots of photos.

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One of the shops that I found really interesting was Lampu.kl, because it was essentially a showroom with no staff. The shop sells customized neon lights, and there are a couple of setups within where visitors are encouraged to take selfies with. Next to the neon signs are QR codes that you can scan for more info on the pieces, as well as the price. Of course, you can find their social media handles on the posters around the room. Maybe this is the future of shopping.

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Shops are laid out in a rectangular grid, which makes the space easy to navigate. The corridors on the top floor are rather narrow, though. Fine if there aren’t too many people, but it might be difficult to maneuver through when crowded.
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A pink staircase and elevated walkway connects the two floors, and there are dozens of fairy lights hanging from the ceiling. Definite Insta fodder. Unfortunately, I did not have an Instagram boyfriend on hand during my visit.

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You’ll find lots of Japanese-themed decor outside Kai Tattoo House, including a Japanese woodblock print of two cats at the entrance.
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Reka is an artist space that regularly hosts creative workshops.
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At the far end on the 3rd floor is a Digital Art Gallery. The space showcases new media art from promising new media artists in the region. There was an audio visual exhibition going on called Guli, so I popped in for a peek. Entry was RM8. The show was basically a collaboration between local multimedia artist GrassHopper, who made the visuals, and musicians Iwan and Gan, who created the accompanying soundtracks.

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All that walking made me thirsty, so I got takeaway from Degree. They specialise in Dalgona drinks. Prices are very reasonable – my Dalgona milk was only RM7.90.

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Dalgona Milk – fresh milk with dalgona toffee. The toffee has the crumbly texture of honeycomb candy; you stir it into the milk and it melts, creating a sweet and refreshing beverage.
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I was actually surprised that the place was relatively empty during my visit, especially since it was a weekend. My guess would be that not many people know of the place yet; it opened late 2019, then there was the whole pandemic and movement restrictions throughout most of 2020.

KEDAI.KL is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10AM – 6PM. You can park within Mahsa Avenue for RM5, but do note that parking spots are limited.

KEDAI KL

Block B, Level 2 & 3, MAHSA Avenue Jalan Universiti, Off, Jalan Ilmu, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM (*I made a mistake in my vid, it’s 10AM, not 11).

https://www.mahsaavenue.com/kedai/index.html

Happy Hopscotch: A Lifestyle Subscription Box

Hey guys!

Apologies for the long absence – I was in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for work/travel and haven’t been able to update this space.

I return with a video I did recently for work reviewing Happy Hopscotch, a lifestyle subscription box where they curate goodies for you every quarter. Great gift to surprise friends, or as a treat to pamper yourself!

Prices and subscription plans : here

 

Things To Do in Kanazawa, Japan: Gold-Leaf Art

Gold leaf, which is gold hammered down to an extremely thin sheet (sometimes 1/10,000 of a millimetre!) has been used in decorative art for centuries. The process of layering it over a surface is called gilding. One might find examples of these in European art, on statues, mirrors, small objects and jewellery, or as part of a building’s architecture on ceilings and window frames.

credit: Japan National Tourism Organisation

While there is no definite account of when gold leaf first made its appearance in Japan, some say that it came from China together with the influence of Buddhism. In the 16th century, the Maeda clan (who ruled what is now Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures) attempted to turn Kanazawa into a renowned center for gold leaf art – but the Shogunate, in an effort to curb the influence of powerful daimyo families, restricted gold beating to only Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. The art was only revived in the 19th century, and has since flourished into a major industry. Kanazawa now accounts for 99% of Japan’s gold leaf production, and visitors will find numerous craft centres and shops selling items such as gold leaf lacquer boxes, cosmetic masks and even gold leaf ice cream!

Our guide had arranged for a gold leaf art class for us in the city’s artisan district. Unfortunately I forgot the name of the shop, but since its a popular activity here I’m sure there are many places where you can give it a go.

The front of the shop had numerous gold leaf products on display, including cosmetics like masks and creams. Not sure if they have any beneficial properties, but it sure feels luxurious!

At the back of the store were two partitioned ‘classrooms’, where materials had been laid out for our small party of three. These included delicate tweezers, forceps, glue, paper cut outs, glitter and more.

Our (pretty) sensei for the day. Communication was a bit difficult since she didn’t speak English, but we made do with hand signs and gestures lol.

We were each given a lacquered plaque. I picked out three animal shapes for my ‘design’. The first step was to gently lay the thin gold sheet onto the cut out. Easier said than done. I’ve never had the most patience or a steady hand, so I ruined two sheets (!!) before getting it right.

Pressing the cut-out designs onto the plaque. The swifter you pull it off, the more likely it’s going to turn out nice. Definitely requires a lot of dexterity !

Before cleaning off the extras around the sides. I thought of picking an earth-sea-air thingy hence the three animals. Also added some colourful glitter to give it some pop.

Another class in session.

It was really fun trying our hand out at gold leaf art, and I find it more meaningful to make my own rather than simply buying a souvenir off the shelf. If you’re ever in Kanazawa and have the time to spare, consider joining a class in the city’s artisan district. There is also a Gold Museum nearby. 🙂