CHECK OUT – ONE HALF X ILAIKA

Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - text EM­ME­LYN CINDY MAH pho­tog­ra­phy ROBIN YONG

A won­der­land of cu­rated ar­ti­sanal goods and a cafe serv­ing great cof­fee.

IN THE SUB­URBS OF SEA­PARK RESTS A CHARM­ING SPOT FILLED WITH AR­TI­SANAL HOME DEC­O­RA­TIONS, CU­RATED WITH A MEA­SURED HAND TO WELL PIQUE THE IN­TER­EST OF ALL WHO WALK THROUGH.

In­spired by ran­dom and beau­ti­ful things, Ilaika first came to be in Oc­to­ber of 2016. “We felt there wasn’t a place or plat­form for show­cas­ing lo­cal ar­ti­sanal hand-crafted items,” says Man­ager Yeo­son Ng. “Most of (these crafters) have full time jobs and their brands are their side busi­nesses, so they usu­ally sell their prod­ucts in pop up mar­ket­places or on­line stores.”

In un­earthing this predica­ment, the brains be­hind Ilaika de­cided to take the bull by the lit­eral horns, and to take the plunge in set­ting up shop. The team looked to the brands that they liked for Ilaika, cu­rat­ing a look and feel that ul­ti­mately speaks of qual­ity, quirk­i­ness, and a ded­i­ca­tion to the finer, beau­ti­ful things in life. “We’re a plat­form for lo­cal ar­ti­sans to pro­mote their prod­ucts,” Yeo­son says. “Cus­tomers al­ways look sur­prised when we tell them that a cer­tain prod­uct is lo­cally made, but they are sup­port­ive and keep com­ing back to get them.”

The Sea­park shop, as it stands, is bril­liantly put to­gether, lever­ag­ing both bright Malaysian sun­shine and the in­her­ent chill de­meanour of Pe­tal­ing Jaya’s in­hab­i­tants to find a pleas­ing aes­thetic. Strik­ing green walls meet the eye at the en­trance, shrouded in de­light­ful shrub­bery in the form of hang­ing and stand­ing plants – more of Yeo­son’s work. The sim­ple and min­i­mal­ist in­te­ri­ors, how­ever, give off clas­sic dis­cov­ery vibes – from beau­ti­ful ter­rar­i­ums and vi­var­i­ums by the door to a myr­iad of pretty and in­ter­est­ing things spread out over shelves and sur­faces. “We

change our lay­out and ar­range­ments once a month,” Yeo­son says. This in turn al­lows for a fresh ex­pe­ri­ence every time a cus­tomer steps in – some­thing new to dis­cover and love.

For all its art­ful, mea­sured de­sign, Ilaika’s prod­ucts do truly speak of a care­ful se­lect­ing eye. Each prod­uct feels con­sid­ered and weighed, down to the last minute de­tail in pro­duc­tion and its place in the shop. “Even though most of our ven­dors have prod­ucts in a va­ri­ety of colours, we cu­rate the colours and de­signs that suit Ilaika,” Yeo­son says. He points to scented soy can­dles as his favourite prod­ucts in the shop – which, in­ci­den­tally, are also one of Ilaika’s most pop­u­lar prod­ucts along­side solid colognes and cloth­ing. “The cus­tomers like the min­i­mal­ist, sim­ple de­signs.”

Fur­ther adding to the charm of Ilaika is their col­lab­o­ra­tion with One Half Cof­fee Bar. “We were orig­i­nally from Ta­man Para­mount,” says Op­er­a­tions Man­ager Jiale Ng. As fate would have it, the One Half folks were do­ing their first col­lab­o­ra­tion project a few doors down, a stint that lasted four months. “We’ve (since) opened a new place in Da­mansara Up­town,” Jiale adds, “But our cus­tomers in­sisted that we re­opened in Sea­park. We saw this par­tic­u­lar va­cant spot in­side Ilaika, and de­cided to pro­pose a col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

The pro­posal was re­ceived with great in­ter­est. As Jiale tells it, it’s been two years since the col­lab­o­ra­tion, with no signs of change in the fore­see­able fu­ture. “We’re ex­tend­ing our op­er­a­tion cov­er­age from Ilaika to Awe­some Can­teen,” Jiale adds. From where it stands, it looks like ex­cit­ing things are in store! ONE HALF COF­FEE BAR WILL BE PAR­TIC­I­PAT­ING IN THE WORLD BARISTA CHAM­PI­ONSHIP 2018. COME MID-JULY, ONE HALF X ILAIKA WILL ALSO BE PAR­TIC­I­PAT­ING IN THE TIAN KONG MU­SIC FES­TI­VAL IN THE CAMERON HIGH­LANDS.

FOR MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION AND NEWS,

CHECK OUT @ILAIKASELECTSTORE AND @ONEHALF_ ON IN­STA­GRAM.

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