Image

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.

20210403_154142
Please watch my video and subscribe. I spent six hours making this. D:
20210403_154513

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.

20210403_163846
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.

20210403_154950
20210403_154824

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.

20210403_154840
20210403_163904
20210403_163928
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.
20210403_160218

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.

20210403_155823
20210403_160252
20210403_160608
20210403_160635
You’ll find lots of Japanese-themed decor outside Kai Tattoo House, including a Japanese woodblock print of two cats at the entrance.
20210403_160714
20210403_160802
Reka is an artist space that regularly hosts creative workshops.
20210403_162648

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.

20210403_163247

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.

20210403_163417
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.
20210403_163529

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

2D Cafe @ Sunway Geo, Bandar Sunway

Hey guys!

I was reading an article recently about how ‘selfie culture’ has changed the landscape of travel and lifestyle offerings. Now, it’s no longer about travel for the sake of experiencing things, but documenting and snapping photos of ourselves all along the way; a journey of narcissism and self-validation through likes and follows. Perhaps that sounds cynical, but its the nature of how things are today.

One of these purpose-built places is 2D Cafe @ Sunway Ge. Modeled after the 2D-cafe trend in South Korea and Japan, the cafe’s entire interior has been designed to look like the pages of a black and white comic book, with bold black lines creating an illusion of ‘flatness’ against the all-white furnishings. The result is eye-catching and certainly unique, as subjects pop against the backdrop.

D

The cafe itself is a bit hard to find, as it is located on the 3rd floor, away from all the other restos and cafes clustered on the ground floor. Once you get there, the entrance is a little confusing as well. The seating area is shielded from sight, and patrons enter through a narrow corridor. The theme for the cafe is European x Japanese, and you see the European portion of it at this section which features famous works of art such as the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, Edward Munch’s Scream and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, cheekily holding up bubble teas (the shop’s specialty).

20190610_150538

20190610_134629

Once inside, the Japanese elements are apparent, with geishas, darumas, maneki nekos and vending machine murals aplenty – and even a drawing of the Great Wave of Kanagawa adorning one side of the wall. All of the furniture and deco is handpainted and took the artist (who is also a share holder) two months to complete.

20190610_140630

20190610_135611

Me taking photo of a dood taking a photo of me #photoception

B

A section of the cafe made to look like a classroom.

C

Another section with a bath ‘tub’ / ball pit (not pictured), made to look like a traditional Japanese public bath.

20190610_140644

Counter where they take your orders. You will find about five different types of bubble tea here, although prices are above average (RM14.90). To match the cafe’s aesthetics, the bottles are also packaged in the same ‘comic’ art vein.

A

Picture courtesy of 2D Cafe. 

I did not try their drinks because I thought they were too pricey, but there have been reviews on Google which are less than stellar. Let me know what you think if you’ve tried it!

Only time will tell if these Instagram ‘concept’ cafes will last, because personally, no matter how attractive you spruce a place up, if the food/drinks aren’t great and the price point is expensive, most people will probably only go once. That being said, from an arts perspective, I think it’s pretty creative, even if it’s not original.

2D CAFE 

F-03, 10, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, SUNWAY GEO AVENUE, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 9PM (Closed on Wednesday).

 

Things To Do At Linc KL: Murals, Art And All Things Instagrammable

With Kuala Lumpur peppered with malls left, right and centre, do we really need another boxy, air-conditioned space with the same cookie-cutter brands?

The newly opened The Linc KL, however, offers a different experience. Tucked along Jalan Tun Razak, the artsy retail and creative space features a unique design, promising to connect visitors to ‘nature, community and human interaction’. N and I were in town recently, so we dropped by to check the place out.

20190331_174513

The mall’s design is certainly not traditional. Aside from colourful murals and art installations, the space’s centre court features a giant Ficus Benjamina, or Ficus Tree, which can grow up to 30 metres high. The Linc’s specimen is massive, its large, twisting branches spreading to form a dense canopy three-storeys high.

20190331_174549

Large and airy, the mall incorporates plenty of green (both real and aesthetic) into its design. Murals featuring flowers and foliage run the length of the walls, with artsy poetry to go along. There are also lots of spots with seats where people can just chill and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Retail-wise, there are plenty of independent and artisanal brands and cool eateries. Frangipani Bulk, a zero-waste store, is located on the ground floor, just across from Ben’s Independent Grocer. Other stores include Bendang Artisan, which carries handmade tableware and crockery, coffee place Bean Brothers, and Homes by Rahim x Nik, which sells locally-designed rattan furniture.

What most youngsters will enjoy is probably the Instagram-worthy art installations and murals scattered across the mall,

20190331_182154

The Owl by Amarul Abdullah. All of the murals in the mall are done by local artists.

20190331_175146

20190331_175621

The piece-de-resistance – “Doves”, comprising 41,600 folded paper doves in 40 colours, hung from the ceiling to form a mesmerising curtain of shades.

20190331_180728_mh1554034675402

Since the mall is pretty new, there isn’t yet much to do – but we’re looking forward to exploring more of the space once more tenants move in.

THE LINC KL 

360, Jalan Tun Razak, KL.

Open Daily from 10am-10pm