What once housed the Selangor Zhongshan Association has now come back to life in the form of a three-building independent arts and research hub housing the likes of art gallery OUR ArtProjects, music store Tandang Records, Tommy le Baker's Kampung Attap outpost and more. We checked out what to do, where to grab a bite and do a bit of shopping at The Zhongshan Building.
Art, design and exhibition spaces at The Zhongshan Building
After some years in the arts scene, juggling between being an arts consultancy and organising pop-up exhibitions, OUR ArtProjects have finally reached their endgame. The OUR ArtProjects Gallery is among the 12 units which make up the newly restored Zongshan building in Kampung Attap. In fact, it’s the first unit in the building to be fully operational and open to public. What the gallery lacks in size it makes up for in the quality of its curation. For example, for its inaugural show, the exhibition debuted with Nirmala Dutt’s ‘Great Leap Forward’. Also, since the space is small and contains fewer pieces, it allows for longer contemplation of the artworks. According to Snow, one of the co-founders of OUR ArtProjects, the gallery is focused on showcasing contemporary Southeast Asian art. So, expect to see some regional names here too. While you’re there, don’t miss exploring the rest of the Zongshan building. Apart from running their gallery, OUR ArtProjects are also responsible in leading the creative direction of the building. They’ve carefully handpicked the other tenants in the building, which include Malaysian Design Archive, Tandang record store, Ricecooker Gallery and more.
Food at The Zhongshan Building
Piu Piu Piu
This minimalistic café is located on the second floor of The Zhongshan Building, right above OUR ArtProjects. One way to reach this eatery is to go through the Tintabudi bookstore and head out the back where you’ll be greeted by a mural drawn by Japanese chalk artist Chalkboy. The intimate space and alfresco area is filled with wooden decor and little knickknacks nonchalantly scattered around. The drinks are Piu Piu Piu’s calling card. Crowd-favourite Sour Lemon + is preserved lemons in a concoction of soda and shochu; sweet, sour and bitter all at once (there’s also a non-alcoholic version). For coffee, barista Unagi sources his beans from local roasters Aim Coffee and uses them in the café’s espresso, black and white coffee drinks. Pair that with the kaya butter walnut toastie made by home baker Queeny, who also bakes cakes on a rotation basis.
Tommy le Baker at The Zhongshan Building
As with its main shop tucked away at the back of Viva Residency, this outpost of Tommy le Baker is also tucked away in The Zhongshan Building, holding fort in the creative hub's well-lit courtyard. Breads are still freshly baked here, though at a smaller variety compared to its headquarters. Menu items comprise of sandwiches and tartines (open-faced sandwiches) with a selection of cheeses like camembert, goat, brie and emmenthal. We say go for the smoked salmon tartines which come in a serving of four, and are made with sweet tomatoes, lashings of creamy mustard and mayo.
Books at The Zhongshan Building
Rumah Attap Library & Collective
A collaborative project between Ameteur, In Between Cultura and Au Sow Yee Studio, this library functions as a gathering ground for individuals to share ideas, read, educate and learn. The library also regularly hosts talks by local writers, artists and activists.
Music at The Zhongshan Building
If you’re rocking an obviously 1977 original punk rock look, Tandang Store is perfect for you. There’s more than just vinyl, cassettes and CDs here; you’ll find zines, books and other punk-related merchandise. Be a good sport and support the venue by attending the gigs held regularly.
Archives and research at The Zhongshan Building
Malaysia Design Archive
Malaysia Design Archive (MDA) is an initiative to preserve and map the country's visual history. The space acts as an archiving centre for MDA as well as the venue for their public engagements like workshops, talks and reading groups. Visits are by appointment only. Read more about what they do in our interview with them.
Institut Pondok Perancis
Located in The Zhongshan Building, this Malaysian-French research centre is an academic hub for co-operation and co-working oppoturnities between researchers and scholars of the two nations. The space is equipped with a journal library, as well as other work and research facilities. Institut Pondok Perancis was set up in May 2017 to encourage the development of academic projects in the country and promote exchanges in knowledge among French and Malaysian scholars.
Shops at The Zhongshan Building
Founded in Singapore in 2013 by Dennis Tay as an online sales site that curates locally made products and supports local artisans, Naiise now has six outlets across Singapore and London, with Naiise's KL outpost their first in Malaysia. Designed to fit into the overall aesthetics of Zhongshan with tiled black and white floors reminiscent of old kopitiams, exposed concrete and white walls, it's a calming space. The main idea for Naiise KL is to create a communal space where Malaysians can be exposed to local brands and artisans, as well as to create a retail channel for local artisans. There are about 800-1000 items in store, from stationery by Mossery, candles by Hush, teas to home furnishing products. If you can't swing by, all of their products can also be found online. At the end of the store, there's a space where future workshops will be conducted; keep tabs on their site and social media channels for updates.