KL City Gallery: Your Information Centre On Everything Kuala Lumpur!
I first knew about KL City Gallery when my friend and I played tourist for a day in central Kuala Lumpur. We visited every heritage building near Dataran Merdeka, including the KL City Gallery.
Housed in one of Kuala Lumpur’s heritage buildings, KL City Gallery is located next to Kuala Lumpur’s Music Museum.
Brief History of KL City Gallery’s Building
Situated along Jalan Raja, KL City Gallery was built in 1899 during the British colonial administration. The building was designed by architect A.C. Norman and helped by J. Russell (Government printer). It was meant to house large printing machines for the government after the Government Printing Office in Taiping was closed.
Like other heritage buildings around this area, KL City Gallery is highly influenced by the neo-Renaissance period. Exposed bricks, large semi-circular windows with keystones and plastered columns are visible in many sides of the exterior. Canopy roofs to protect the walls from the hot Malaysian sun were later installed in the 1940’s.
I am happy to see that none of these original designs were altered, only upgraded from wear and tear of time. Today, the building is owned by ARCH Collection Sdn Bhd.
Things I did in KL City Gallery
The minute I stepped into the entrance, I was blown by a detailed map of Kuala Lumpur on one of the walls from floor to ceiling. I can find historical buildings or important sites from the map on this wall. There are many flyers in the shelves next to the wall-map which includes ARCH’s own Kuala Lumpur Walk & Tours Map – a mini version of the Kuala Lumpur map on the wall.
You will have to take a walk in the building and explore different sections of Kuala Lumpur which includes:
- the history,
- the miniature heritage buildings,
- step out on the alcove,
- watch The Spectacular City Model Show (on the second floor),
- see work done in the workshop,
- have a drink or a bite at the cafe and
- buy some souvenirs before you leave.
The visit to KL City Gallery would be incomplete if you did not take a photo at the “I ❤️ KL” signboard outside of the gallery.
Who is ARCH and what does it have to do with KL City Gallery?
Arch is a brand name and a business. The company’s nature of business are:
- Designer and manufacturer of unique veneer (wood) based gifts, souvenirs and collectibles depicting culture and heritage
- Owner of a Tourist Attraction in KL – KL City Gallery
- Publisher of Kuala Lumpur Walk & Tours Map
It was set up in 1989 to fabricate architectural scale model. Few years later, it diversified into gift industry, including premium quality corporate and tourist related gifts with distinctive detailing.
At first, the founder and CEO of ARCH, Andrew Lee only designed his veneer art pieces on heritage buildings and iconic landmarks but it later expanded to designs like flora and fauna and cultural and heritage themes.
The mission and design
ARCH plans to spread awareness and appreciation for heritage buildings, flora and fauna and cultural and heritage themes through it’s designs.
ARCH creates layered art pieces to give the 2-D effect. This technique gives depth to the art piece and the use of different species of veneer shows off the different tones and hues. Only limited edition art pieces have colors added and this is only based on the clients’ request. All art pieces are hand assembled for exclusivity – hence no 2 pieces are the same.
A wide range of veneer species are used including cherry, oak, maple, beech, makore, anigre and walnut. The wooden frames are mainly solid durian wood harvested from durian trees that are past fruit bearing age.
What Makes ARCH Unique?
With the support of MARTRADE, ARCH has been able to go global and export its art pieces to countries like Singapore, Brunei, Far East and the Middle East regularly. They also sometimes export to US, UK, Canada, Italy and Mexico.
The uniqueness of ARCH art pieces is what made them much sought-after because:
- Made in Malaysia – with high standard of craftsmanship.
- Hand assembled – laser machine cut veneer pieces are manually assembled to create an artistic finish with a human touch.
- Natural wood veneer from sustainable forests – the different colors from each veneers gives character to each art piece.
- Short turnaround time – ideal for corporate clients that works on a tight schedule.
- No minimum quantity for customized designs.
- Fine detailing – the larger the art piece, the more refine the detailing.
- Products individually packed with short write-up of the design.