Ong Chin Huat spends a morning at Bungalow18 by Frankitas, the colourful and vibrant multi-concept Lifestyle Space located in the leafy and genteel neighbourhood of Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.
Businesses born out of friendships are said to have a heart and soul, which helps to explain the allure and spirit at Bungalow18 by Frankitas. The two women behind the lifestyle retreat are Francisca Turner and Gayathri Subramaniam (below), who’ve known each other since early childhood.
Bungalow18 is a haven for women and a home away from home. It takes you away from the relentless hustle and bustle of the city whilst still letting you shop, exercise or just chill out with a mocktail or two.
It is a multi-concept space comprising a boutique carrying various brands, fitness classes, a nail bar and workshops, a pop-up café serving Francesca’s grandmother’s best-loved dishes and a private event space available for bookings.
“The bungalow takes inspiration from Gayathri’s childhood home, which many of our friends and I enjoyed because it was safe, warm and welcoming, and we wanted to recreate these emotions in Bungalow18,” says Franki, as she is affectionately known.
When you enter Bungalow18, you do feel the friendliness and an aura of serenity. It has a bold design – think acid-toned accent walls and 1970’s retro-chic décor. There is comfy patio seating and a cosy pergola decorated with wicker lanterns.
You can envisage ladies sitting here who’ve just finished a morning session of Barre Sculpt and Tone class, contemplating whether to explore the boutique or instead, pamper themselves with a manicure and pedicure.
Franki explained to us how this multi-experiential concept came about. “During the pandemic, we felt a large vacuum and disconnect in human social aspects which led to mental health issues…for this reason; we wanted to create a safe space for our family and friends as well as our customers to reconnect again.”
Among the many draws of Bungalow18 by Frankitas is a boutique which sells a diverse selection of Malaysian indie brands that may not be on a mainstream radar but nonetheless deserves pride of place in fashionista’s wardrobe.
“For us, it’s about supporting as many local brands as possible, especially after these last few difficult years,” said Gayathri. “We looked for local brands who had a story – whether it was hand-made, designed by Malaysians or ethical, fair-trade or socially responsible by giving back to the community… it’s a continually evolving space in which we curate with new brands we fall in love with. It’s also a space for brands that may not have a physical presence and where we can provide a platform for them to showcase their products physically.”
Among the indie brands sold at the boutique is Franki’s own handbag and home décor brand, Frankitas, which utilises fabrics sourced from skilled artisans from Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Africa, India and Malaysia and observes strong business ethics and sustainability. A shoe and men’s shirt collection is also planned for the future.
Fugeelah is another socially-conscious and ethical jewellery brand founded by Deborah Henry, which is sold at Bungalow18 and where a percentage of sales foes towards educating and empowering refugee children and youths.
On Fridays, Bungalow18 drops its fashion veil and offers a pop-up café with dishes culled from Franki’s grandmother’s recipe books and which she prepares with her Aunty Titin. In celebration of Franki’s Indonesian heritage, there are dishes such:
- Indonesian Sate (barbecued meat skewers served with peanut sauce)
- Opor Ayam (braised chicken cooked in spiced coconut milk)
- Soto Bogor (Beef broth with beef offal in coconut milk)
- Gado Gado (an Indonesian mixed salad with peanut dressing)
And let’s not forget their speciality Bunga Kantan Mocktail (Ginger flower).
To compensate for all that delicious home-cooked food, Bungalow18 also offers outdoor fitness classes during sunrise with classes such as Strength, Barre Sculpt & Tone and Zumba or if you like them all mixed together, then join their Monthly Fitness Marathon, which incorporates all these various workouts in a nifty 30-minute session. Future plans at Bungalow18 include hosting workshops such as Sound Healing and Yin Yoga, as well as Nutrition and Mindfulness.
With shopping, eating, pampering and exercising, Bungalow18 seems to have it all stitched up. “Ultimately, Bungalow18 is an exclusive place where all women are celebrated, supported and empowered. It’s a place to build yourself from within, have fun, and catch some loving energy while doing it.”
Bungalow18 by Frankitas – Where and how?
Bungalow18 by Frankitas is located at No.18 Jalan Damansara Permai, Taman Damansara Endah, 50490 Kuala Lumpur. For further information, please visit Bungalow18 by Frankistas Instagram page @bungalow_18_by-frankitas.
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