An Overview Of The Kuala Lumpur Central Market

The Kuala Lumpur Central Market or what we called the Pasar Seni is a melting pot of Malaysia’s culture. It originally stands in the Street of Hang Kasturi which was built by Yap Ah Loy as a wet market. During the old days when Kuala Lumpur was renowned with its rich tin mines, Central Market is where the large tin mining community attain fresh food supply. Later then, the market expands into a permanent structure was built to accommodate the vendors. By 1930, it was further improvised to the current façade.

Today, it has become a must-visit destination to all tourists who seek to immerse in the unique heritage of Malaysia. The architectural style of Central Market has a profound connection with our climate, history, and technology. The main structure of central Market is of reinforced concrete, as it is widely available and steady-to-use. Also, in accordance to the hot and humid weather in Malaysia, the glass windows found in Central Market are of glazed glass. These glazed blue-green colored rolled plate glass filter the heat and sun radiation, only allowing 20% of the heat and 60% of daylight to penetrate the interior.

The exterior of Central Market which is influenced by the Art Deco Style displays linearity. This style is usually characterized by abundant colors, vivid geometries, and luxuriant decorations. It demonstrates a sense of line for division when contrasting blue and white paints are used for the appearance of the Central Market. Other than that, the building has a low and horizontal massing, a symmetrical balance where both sides are ‘weighed’ equally. The design intention of the Central Market is to accommodate all the stalls under a roof, where air-conditioning is provided, and tourists can shop to their heart’s content.

According to the most reputed travel website, TripAdvisor, the Kasturi Walk which is located alongside the main building resonates a vibrant al fresco ambience under a huge wau arch. Well, it is truly an interesting open-air walkway where visitors can find vendors selling tantalizing local street food and exquisite souvenirs. However, I find it not very welcoming when there are not just one, but several vendors selling fake products such as handbags, watches and shirts. It would be better to keep up with the uniqueness of Malaysia’s local-made products rather than wiping it off. As what the Lomography Magazine states, good quality and highly-crafted local goods can enhance tourists’ shopping experience. However, as compared to Petaling Street, Kasturi walk earns a higher rating in my heart as the kiosks and stalls are cleaner and nicer. Speaking of this, there are around 50 wooden kiosks with coconut leaves spreading on the roofs, giving an authentic sense of “kampung” to visitors as they stroll along Kasturi Walk.

Nevertheless, the themed entrance with three pewter-coated polycarbonates giant wau bulan in Kasturi Walk, which was designed by Sayhan Lim Architect, is indeed a huge highlight for Central Market. It symbolizes the Malay Heritage and clearly reflects the authorities’ effort to retain and promote the diverse culture of Malaysia. Not only that, the wau-arched entrance is 9-meter high, enabling it to be seen even from a distance.

The Star Newspaper reported on the Central Market and the Kasturi walk after its renovation. According to the Kuala Lumpur director- general Datuk Salleh Yusup, Central Market Sdn Bhd and the Kasturi Walk were in-line with the government’s effort to win more tourists. In another point of view, having these two iconic tourist attractions in the heart of the city could also open up more business opportunities.

All in all, the transformation that the Central Market had gone through all these years gives a sight to us on how Kuala Lumpur has developed technologically and culturally. We play a crucial role to help maintain this remarkable piece of building. 

10 Jun 2021
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