The Zhongshan Building – The Art & Research Hub

Imagine a place whereby one can not only enjoy the beautiful ambience, but also feel the connection with what it represents to you. Wouldn’t that be incredible? If you are anything like me – a self-confessed artistically inclined enthusiast-, you may want to check out The Zhongshan Building with your family.

Ever since the end of the lockdown, I vouched to visit places that had brought me fond memories. The Zhongshan Building in Kampung Attap, Kuala Lumpur was on top of my list! Perhaps it is because of the arts, but coming to this building feels as if I am coming home.

And so recently, I’d decided to spend a day at this progressive art and research hub in the city. A hub, energised by an eclectic bunch of artists, musicians, designers, researchers and artisans.

Let’s start the day with Tommy Le Baker

The Zhongshan Building

To start with, I decided to have brunch at Tommy Le Baker. And what a sumptuous meal I had, on top of spending some time with the creator and founder himself, Tommy. Not only is he an interesting conversationalist, informative and knowledgeable in the field of baking, he has a sense of humour and warmth that allows one to feel at home.

I would usually be careful with the amount of bread that I consume, as when it comes to complex carbohydrates, one has to watch it! However, when it comes to baguette, my favourite bread in the whole wide world, I just can’t help it. Tommy Le Baker delivers within the Klang Valley and does take-aways too. Have a look here!

The Back Room Gallery

Zhong Shan building 4 - Happy Go KL

Catching up with Liza Ho, the Founder of The Back Room Gallery is always a joy. For someone who had spearheaded to turn this entire historical building from the 1950s and transformed it into what it is today, is nothing short of extraordinary. A champion for the local artists, despite her achievements, she is humble.

With the philosophy and belief that art is very much alive and it should be accessible to all, The Back Room Gallery was set up with the commitment to engage with the world by giving a platform to emerging and alternative artists. With an intimate space and cosy atmosphere, it certainly allows artists, viewers and curators to easily engage in conversations and exchange. 

Remedy: reduce, recycle and reuse

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Next up, I decided to pay a visit to Remedy, a concept store that is committed in helping to bring out the best natural products proudly made in Malaysia.

Everything about this shop spells sustainable living. Even the furniture that allows customers to sit on, are made of recycled card boxes. When you decide to buy let’s say a bottle of shampoo or face wash, you purchase a bottle that can be brought back for a refill.

If an entity that encourages local brands and customers to make and use quality products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, that to me is worth checking out, as if I were to buy and utilise them, it will equate to a healthier me for absorbing natural nutrients and the environment that I co-exist with. 

INKAA batik

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Batik is one textile art that is popular amongst locals and tourists. But how many of us actually know who the makers are of these beautiful creations? 

This is why INKAA stands uniquely apart from many of the batik sellers out there. It is not just about selling its products, it is more about collaborative efforts with grassroots organisations and artisans in Malaysia, by helping to promote the artisans craftsmanship and telling their stories to the world. Its tagline says it all: “Honouring Artisans, Preserving Heritage”. Log on to the website and you will find a section dedicated to telling stories of the artisans from Terengganu and refugees.

There are many more artists and retail shops that would strike one’s interest in this awesome multiracial and multicultural set up, such as The Bogus Merchandise, Tandang Music Record Store, Ana Tomy, Piu Piu Piu, Malaysia Design Archive, Atelier Fitton and so on… At the Zhongshan Building, people of all ages are welcome. Young or old, it is a place whereby one can get inspired to ignite some creative juices going!

Zhong Shan building 5 - Happy Go KL
Zhong Shan building 6 - Happy Go KL

To climb up all the stairs would be hard for really young ones, but the artsy place is great for (young) teens.

From time to time, there are always talks or workshops at The Zhongshan Building open to the public. Log on to their social media accounts and website to get the latest updates!

The Zhongshan Building is located at 80 – 84 Jalan Rotan, off Jalan Kampung Attap, Kuala Lumpur.

image - Happy Go KL

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