Ipoh Echo was invited to the exclusive pre-opening preview of Funtasy House Trick Art, a 3D trick-art museum located at No. 16, Jalan Pasar (Market Street), 30000 Ipoh recently. Located in the heart of Old Town, it was officially launched on Saturday, November 21.
Deriving its name from the combination of “fun” and “fantasy”, the opening of this 3D trick-art gallery marked another milestone in the conservation and restoration works performed on this beautiful century-old dual-frontage courtyard shophouse, bringing back the life and activities it deserves, in addition to preserving the nostalgic feel of yesteryears with the “Straits Eclectic” architectural beauty of Ipoh’s Old Town heritage enclave. The owner has selected and rented this shophouse to a suitable tenant business-operator as part of their commitment to contribute to the conservation and preservation of history and heritage values and tourism-activities for Ipoh, Perak.
The tenant-business is operated by Arts & Wonder Museum Sdn Bhd, occupying the fully air-conditioned two-storey shophouse of approximately 5000 square feet, which includes the fully covered internal courtyard that features over 20 pieces of hand-painted 3D interactive trick art (or in French, Trompe L’oeil) by eight local freelance artists which took a total of four months to complete.
Twenty-six-year-old Penangite Andrew Chew who is the business owner-manager, told Ipoh Echo, “Getting inspiration from Penang, I want to add to the attractions of Ipoh. Some drawings here are reflections of Ipoh. In the future, we are thinking of changing the murals’ theme from time to time,” the young entrepreneur said.
Everything is retained in the conservation and restoration of this dual-frontage courtyard shophouse, including the original heritage 100-plus-year-old steep staircase built by Shanghai carpenters (“Sifu”) back in the days of yore. Another highlight is the framed 109-year-old copies of the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail which were printed in London and Manchester simultaneously then, dated “Friday, 20 July 1906” on the restored walls. These heritage newsprint artefacts were discovered pasted on the century old lime plastered walls during repair and restoration works and were carefully curated, conserved and preserved “at it is”, on the walls.
Dating back to the 1900s, this Straits Eclectic dual-frontage courtyard shophouse fronting Market Street and (back) Market Lane – also famously known as the 2nd Concubine Lane or “Sam Lai Hong” in Cantonese was originally owned by Towkay Leong Kin and later by an English lady by the name of Agnes Lucy Skelchy. The shophouse was a resident stay for and operated by the tenant family under the name of “Heng Woh Shoe Shop”, one the oldest and most sought after custom handmade leather shoe-maker and accessories shop in Ipoh Old Town of its time. It was managed by Mr Ho Kok Lim (a Chinese migrant) and his family. Thanks to his father, eldest son Captain Winkie Ho Weng Toh was the envy of many with his everlasting supply of leather shoes, a luxury in his time. Captain Winkie Ho also made a name for himself as he later became an elite member of “The Flying Tigers”, professionally trained to fly the Mitchell B-25 Bomber squadron during WW2.
Other luminaries who patronised the shop was the famous Mr Berthel Michael Iversen, the famous Danish architect of Ipoh and modern Malaya who also ordered custom-made shoes from this historical and heritage shophouse.
Another untold heritage mystery of this shophouse brimming with old-world charm is its hidden secret chambers found between the four-brick-thick load-bearing walls which functioned as the safe deposit boxes of yesteryear.
Mark your calendar, grab your family/friends and capture some Instagram-worthy fun-filled photos there now!Address: 16, Jalan Market (Market Street), 30000 Ipoh, Perak. Opening hours: 9am-6pm (weekdays), 9am-8pm (weekends and public holidays) Admission fees per person: RM15 (adults), RM10 (kids, students and elderly) and RM19 (non-MyKad holders). Free entry for the disabled. Visitors will be accompanied by gallery attendants. Tel: 05 255 0007 Facebook page: funtasyhousetrickart