March 27, 2014

Memo From Kuala Lumpur: What’s Trending

While Kuala Lumpur hasn’t exactly been heading up the list when it comes to noteworthy hotel stays, local landscape designer Ng Sek San is aspiring to change that. In 2010, Ng launched the first property from his Sekeping chain of hotels in Bangsar. Conceived as experimental retreats that draw inspiration from the buildings and sites they occupy, the hotels are often modernist-inspired affairs composed of reinforced concrete, wood and salvaged construction debris. Poised somewhere between a boutique hotel and a hostel, these properties are often situated in overlooked urban areas in view of adding “cultural value” to those neighborhoods. Ng’s latest endeavor, Sekeping Sin Chew Kee, is making waves in Pudu, a grittier suburb that resonates with the authenticity of “the real KL.”

In a plushier part of town, the Malaysian pewter company Royal Selangor is undergoing a revival of sorts. The company has been synonymous with handcrafted housewares and customised gifts since 1885. The reimagined interiors of its flagship shops by SWOT Design signal a modern take on the brand’s heritage. Brimming with textures and bold motifs that pay homage to the tin mining process, the outlet at Pavilion Mall also comes with a homey touch—a cozy shell-shaped chaise for tired shoppers.

For all manner of non-pewter collectables bearing a handmade provenance, a trek to Publika is a must. This art hub-cum-mall in Solaris Dutamas, an affluent suburb popular with expatriates, focuses on the unconventional, be it in a boutique, gallery or grocery store.

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