Kate Blairstone Illustration

Oma’s Hideaway finds its muse in Chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly’s Oma, Kiong Tien "Tina" Vandenberg.

We wanted the restaurant design to reflect the energy of a Malaysian night market as well as the owners' funky personal style: a signature combination of culinary cultural references and stoner taste. Having created several custom pieces – including a portrait of Oma as Matriarch – for the owners' first restaurant, Gado Gado, I wanted to dive in deeper for Oma's Hideaway.

One detail from Oma's life stood out to me: she'd run a tropical fish business out of her garage in the 60s. In photographs shared by her family, Oma's aquariums were set on tables laid with batik fabrics in bold colors. It was from this nostalgic reference that our wallpaper concept, Psychedelic Fish Tank, was born. With a nod to the color story, undulating florals and mark-making of Malaysian batik, I created an underwater scene depicting endemic species of invertebrates, fish and corals (who needs mind-altering substances when you have tropical fish?).

Photography by Oma's Hideaway and Christine Dong.