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2D Cafe: Hand-painted and surreal

Having tea and a snack at the 2D Cafe offers one a unique experience, as one quickly realises that the edible offerings play second fiddle to the interior design of this F&B outlet located in Bandar Sunway, Selangor.

The main focus of this eatery is its creative interior design concept that offers an unusual ambience. The entire cafe looks like a giant sketch book of 2D drawings. Yes, everything is hand drawn or painted including the furniture, doors and windows, right down to the outline of the plastic bottles of its bubble tea offerings.

Stepping into the cafe feels like popping into a comic book. It is like entering an alternate reality similar to that of a sketch book — quite a surreal experience indeed.

The black and white cafe, fittingly called 2D, is located in a retail space on the third floor of Sunway Geo Avenue. It has been in operation since April 13, 2019 and quickly became a viral sensation as an Instagram-able place of interest. The concept however, is not the first of its kind. There is an eatery with a similar concept in Seoul, South Korea.

Notably, the creative brain behind the cafe, See Kai Shen, took inspiration from a waiter, Tan Hwei Ling whom he had employed for his other cafe — Le Fleur — which is also located in the same building. Noticing she had a knack for drawing (she also does oil paintings), See decided not to let Tan’s artistic talent go to waste.

“One fine day we had an idea, why not show off her talents? We could incorporate her drawings into an F&B business,” recalls See. Along with the current hype among Malaysian youngsters to indulge in bubble tea drinks, See believed that setting up the bubble tea cafe was a splendid idea.

Besides a variety of bubble tea drinks, 2D also serves bento, croissants and light snacks.

It took the 2D team — consisting of See, shareholders Carmen Loo, Tania Hew, Ong Kheng Kean and investor Toh Jung Jin — about two months to complete the design for the cafe. “The drawings for the interior took up a lot of time,” explains See, adding that the rest of them tried to help Tan with the painting wherever and whenever possible.

“Any mistakes meant starting over as it required the repainting of the walls or ceilings,” adds Toh.

The drawings could not be too ‘perfect’ either — “If the lines are too straight, they do not look good or real,” says See.

2D Cafe’s interior is a hybrid of Japanese and European design elements, hence visitors can expect to see a tatami room, a Japanese bathhouse and a Renaissance-inspired library as part of its design.

Meanwhile, the team is already planning to set up two more franchises. According to See, an outlet will be in PV128 in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur while another will be in Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. These 2D outlets will feature their own design themes. “We are looking at Egyptian, Chinese or sci-fi themes,” says See.

2D Cafe
Address: F-03, 10, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Sunway Geo Avenue, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: 12pm to 9pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Facebook: 2d.bubbletea

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my pullout on June 14, 2019. You can access back issues here.

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