A dynamic artist collective nested in a newly restored 1950’s building in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Located slightly outside the periphery of the historic centre of Petaling Street, in the equally historic locale of Kampung Attap, the building once housed the Selangor Zhongshan Association and various small merchants. With the support of Think City, it has become a successful urban rejuvenation project, energised by a close-knit community of artists, researchers, designers, artisans, and musicians.
The rejuvenation project was spearheaded by art consultants Liza Ho and Snow Ng, who drew upon their years of experience in the local arts and culture scene to populate The Zhongshan Building with an eclectic set of creative businesses and private studios. The artisans and aficionados behind the building’s creative businesses distinguish themselves from most commercial ventures by investing deep passion and research into their methods and materials; many of them are considered the finest in their field locally and sometimes even regionally. Ranging between emerging art and artisanal sourdough, independent booksellers and underground musicians, letterpress-ers and silkscreen-ers, coffees and suits, law and punk records, the conversations and collaborations sparked by their close range within the narrow corridors of the building is testament to the fact that the strongest ecosystems are the most diverse ones.
The great appeal of The Zhongshan Building is its sense of character, evident in the easy-going relations the tenants have with each other, and their visitors. There is a sense that one is transacting more in ideas and passion rather than sales, and that is what makes the building an arts hub. The space is also an incubator for a small number of private studios of creatives and researchers. The various hidden nooks and unmarked doors signal that there is always something brewing behind the scenes.
From time to time, certain spaces in the building will open their doors to host public events featuring major figures in their respective fields. These include art exhibitions, listening rooms, live music gigs, workshops, lectures, and discussions. Through the dialogues generated by The Zhongshan Building and, as a hub for a diverse range of communities and disciplines, the building continues to shift and expand in a myriad of unexpected, but exciting, directions.