Publika is one of the latest malls to join the numerous shopping malls and megamalls that occupy the Klang Valley. But, unlike other malls, Publika has brought shopping to a completely new level whereby shopping is not just mere shopping, but is intermingled with the art scene.
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Opened in 2011, Publika uses the artistic mall concept whereby almost every nook and cranny of the building is filled with works of art. From the various unique sculptures scattered around the place to the graphic designed walls and inspiring quotations engraved on the floors, Publika is very much like an art gallery in itself. Even the restrooms are adorned with murals and graphic designs!
Creativity and innovation being its main objective, Publika was converted from two rows of shop houses-cum-offices into a modern shopping mall with a glass rooftop and various other architectural designs. Adding on to its artsy vibe, art events such as The KL Fashion Weekend, the KL Design Week, the Collision Arts Festival and many other art festivals are frequently held here to draw the attention of art enthusiasts.
Shopping in Publika
Photo Credit: Publika, Facebook
Publika is a very huge and spacious shopping mall catering to the whole family. It consists of an array of retail outlets ranging from art galleries to bookstores, children enrichment outlets, fashion and accessory retailers, health and beauty products and services, home and décor stores and jewelry retailers.
Seeing as the mall is dedicated to the arts, there are quite a number of art galleries and other retail spaces specially designated for art such as MAP. MAP simply stands for “Making Art Public”. MAP makes up two spaces namely the White Box, which is basically an art gallery, and the Black Box, which is an experimental theatre that can fit up to 200 people.
The stores in Publika consist of both established brand retailers and guerilla outlets. Some of the established brand outlets include:
Guerilla outlets, on the other hand, are small start-ups which use creative ways of marketing. Also known as “pop-up stores”, these stores are popular in the Western society. Pop-up stores at Publika include:
- The Jeans Bar (an online retailer)
- Corgi (Korean designer shoes/bags)
- Monica Quen (modern Chinese dresses)
- Ambiance (home décor)
Publika also houses Ben’s Independent Grocers (B.I.G) which is one of the anchor tenants of the building. B.I.G is a supermarket that is unlike any other. Equipped with a restaurant, a bakery, a chocolatier, two cafes and a newsagent, this supermarket is definitely not your average supermarket. Items sold here range from premium products to average-priced everyday essentials.
Food and Dining in Publika
Photo credit: Publika, Facebook
The food and beverage outlets here range from lower end Mamak style outlets to higher end pubs and bistros. Aiming to be different from other shopping malls, the Publika Management does not encourage the use of retail spaces for the same chain stores and food outlets available at other shopping malls. Therefore, most of the food and dining places that you find here are sure to be one of a kind, so don’t expect to come across any popular fast food outlet here.
For those who prefer Western food, there is a variety of interesting food outlets here. This includes Fat Boy’s (an independent burger bar), Wonder Milk (designer cupcakes), Club Paradiso (which serves Western food while screening movies) and The Bee (which combines food, drinks and live gigs). Another food outlet that is definitely a must-try is The Eat Food Village. Also an anchor tenant of the mall, this non-halal food court gathers some of the best hawker food from around the Klang Valley. This includes an array of choices from the Bukit Mertajam yam rice, which is famous in Penang, to chilly pan mee, hokkien mee, chicken rice and so on, which are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
How to get to Publika
Publika lies among the newly built township of Dutamas. It is located within the Solaris Dutamas complex, just off Jalan Duta. Important landmarks to look out for are MATRADE and the Wilayah Mosque which are just in the vicinity of the shopping mall. If you are coming from Jalan Duta, just turn in at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium Junction. Alternatively, if you are travelling from Mont Kiara, you can either reach there via Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Jalan Duta Kiara or Persiaran Dutamas.
If you are planning to go to the mall by public transportation, there aren’t really any buses or trains going directly to the mall, but you can catch a cab there. However, there are a few shuttle services available. Firstly, there is a shuttle service open to public from Kl Sentral which departs to Publika every two hours from 11.30am to 9.30 pm. It operates every day except Sundays and public holidays.
However, visitors to the mall would require a pass in order to use the shuttle service. Visitors can register for the pass at the information counter of the mall by providing a single receipt with purchases worth RM50 from any of the shops within the Publika shopping mall. There is also another shuttle service called the Sunrise Funride. This is only available for residents’ within the Sunrise area. This shuttle bus has a few pick-up points around Mont Kiara and Publika
Pros and Cons of Publika
What is the advantage of visiting Publika? Well, unlike most shopping malls that are usually teeming with people especially during the weekends, this mall is quite the opposite. Being a relatively new place, the mall is usually not crowded. Therefore, it is quite a peaceful place for leisure shopping or just hanging out with friends.
However, parking there can be quite tricky. Parking spots are difficult to get during working hours (Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm). On the contrary, unlike other shopping malls, parking spaces are easily available during weekends. Another setback of the mall is that it does not have a movie theatre.
With its edgy concept of art-cum-shopping, Publika offers a whole new shopping experience. It is definitely a place worth visiting whether you’re hanging out solo or with family and friends.
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