CzipLee's flagship store in Bangsar blends Asian design touches with modernity and a sense of nostalgia

Besides the plethora of tempting merchandise from the finest names in the world, the company has also taken it upon itself to champion local talent.

Sharon Tan and Jason Chen (All photos: Patrick Goh/ The Edge Malaysia)

Stationery stores have always been veritable treasure troves since our childhood. And in a day and age of digital sensory overload, it is more imperative than ever that we rediscover the joys of touching paper, using our hands to create objects of wonder and even just enjoying the pleasure of reading without the damaging glare of blue light.

One of Malaysia’s most celebrated names in  the stationery and book business, family-owned CzipLee continues to reinvent itself to keep up with the times and stay relevant in what is arguably the most challenging period in history for the industry. Taking the bold and proactive move of expanding its deep-rooted ties to the upmarket Klang Valley enclave of Bangsar, CzipLee has just unveiled its beautiful flagship store at popular neighbourhood mall Bangsar Village.

“We want to maintain giving our customers the experience of being able to find all that they need and more under one roof. And for this new look, we looked to Zizo Studio with whom we’ve worked before. Our brief was simple, revolving around key words like ‘modern heritage’ yet ‘old school’,” says executive director Jason Chen.


CzipGather is designed for hosting informal events and gatherings

Spanning 4,958 sq ft and occupying the former Borders space, CzipLee is as immersive and welcoming as can be. Besides the plethora of tempting merchandise from the finest names in the world, the company has also taken it upon itself to champion local talent. Alongside established global businesses like Clairefontaine (the CzipLee flagship boasts one of the most extensive selections of the 166-year-old French paper label in the country), Décopatch, Rhodia (“It’s as big and as good as Moleskin, if you know your brands,” says Chen), Jacques Herbin, Sheaffer and Thames & Hudson are proudly Malaysian names, which include but are not limited to Loka Made, Buku Fixi, Gerakbudaya, Atom & The Dot and Yein & Young.

The entrance, where the cash registers are, indeed exudes a modern-nostalgic vibe, courtesy of an upcycled counter and a massive, imposing Chinese medicine cabinet. Inside, old-fashioned grilles, tiles and cement breeze blocks add retro yet design-conscious utilitarian touches. “We want to be as eco-friendly as possible and also take into account that our demographic is very wide, ranging from young parents who bring their toddlers and children to those in their seventies and eighties who’ve been supporting us since CzipLee was established in 1968,” says Chen.

At the heart of the new flagship is CzipGather, a modular space that’s ideal for small events, launches and book readings. “It is indeed a very interactive store,” CzipLee chief development officer Sharon Tan concurs. “It’s designed to get people away from their screens. To further aid this, we will organise Experience Tables, where people can try out and play with new product offerings from time to time.”


The kids section boasts its own entrance, created using a cardboard archway

Occupying two key spots are artworks by graffiti artists Drewfunk and SnakeTwo, with a particularly expansive stretched canvas artwork created using spray paint and Gesso titled The Bonsais among the Kois by the former dominating one section of wall. “All the artworks are for sale, if anyone is keen,” says Tan.

If you have young children, do not miss the kids section, which boasts its own entrance, created using a cardboard archway. “For this, we worked with Cardboard Tan — well, that’s his nickname anyway — of Cardboard Country Enterprise,” says Chen. A special area dedicated to the Miffy universe, the cartoon white rabbit with an “x” for its mouth created by Dutch author and artist Dick Bruna, is likely to be a big hit.


This article first appeared in issue No. 111, Spring 2024 of Haven

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