Of printing and the moon

The Luna exterior

As soon as you turn into Wan Chai’s Lun Fat Street, your eyes are immediately drawn to a particularly well-lit area along the road. This is The Luna—most fitting then, that its namesake should also be a light emitting icon.

The neighbourhood of Wan Chai used to contribute to Hong Kong’s letterpress printing industry. For the uninitiated, this is a traditional technique of relief printing. The letterpress utilises small lead rods, each with a raised character on its end, and these are then painstakingly arranged in a frame by hand, locked into place, daubed with ink, then finally pressed onto paper. Renowned London-based Make Architects then used this idiosyncratic bit of history as inspiration for their project design; Anahita Chouhan, the project architect, had in mind a printing block motif as the basis for the build.

letterpress The Luna

Looming up from its concrete and drab coloured neighbours, what makes The Luna eye-catching are the balconies irregularly oriented on the building's facade. These champagne gold-hued boxes seemingly poke out of the glass background, some square, some rectangular, with gradual perforation creating a gradient, and staggered across all sides. Viewed from different angles, the shapes and light patterns differ intriguingly. Now, this sounds like a hot mess of a design, but when you peer up at The Luna in person, it truly does resemble type in the midst of being arranged on a type bed. The metallic tower’s doubled-glazed curtain walls lend a futuristic touch to its nostalgic spirit. The essence of the printing industry is also embodied in letterpress-inspired sculptures and type ornaments in the building’s lobby and common areas.

After a temporary moment of confusion as to where the building entrance is located, I stepped into the lobby to be immediately greeted by staff manning the front desk. I was told I had been assigned a one-bedroom apartment for the night, then, with a simple flourish of a pen, given a room key and brought up to the fifth floor. As soon as I was divested of luggage, I was presented with a little lamp in the shape of a moon—a clear nod to the serviced apartment’s namesake. Every tenant at The Luna will have a moon lamp to accompany their stay, a frankly adorable touch of thoughtfulness. My representative from Vanke, the developer, told me fondly that The Luna is their first serviced apartment, and is very much a beloved baby. Clutching onto the glowing orb, we set off to explore the room.

The Luna bedroom one

The Luna offers 105 fully-furnished apartments with layouts made suitable for both individuals and families. The smallest is the studio, a 365-square-foot unit which looks larger than it actually is. A grade up is what I was set up with, the one-bedroom unit which ranges from 515 to 535 square feet. A sliding door delineates the living and dining area from the bedroom. There is also the 595 square foot deluxe one-bedroom suite, large enough for a yoga session in the living room, with a walk-in closet. The two-bedroom units are on the 29th floor, with flat roofs that are 118 and 259 square feet respectively. These L-shaped flat roofs boast a 270-degree view. The largest unit available is the penthouse on the 31st floor. Its connecting roof top garden measures 1,016 square feet, providing a 360-degree view down to the harbour and up to The Peak. Its bathroom is also stunning, with a bathtub situated beside the full-length curtain wall, so tenants can soak in a bath while also soaking in an undisrupted view. 

Each apartment comes with a queen-size bed and a fully-equipped kitchen. I didn’t try “cooking a three-course meal” as my Vanke guide told me I could do, but the two-hob electric induction cooker certainly seemed up to the task. Because Vanke,
the project director Sean Affleck, and project architect Chouhan, are all in agreement that people in general should be more health-conscious, steam ovens have been installed in each unit instead of your bog-standard microwaves. Each tenant is given a brand new set of cutlery, utensils and dinnerware upon arrival, and the old tenant is given the option to take the set they’ve been using with them. 

The Luna bed

With a thrill of ingenuity, I discovered a Handy Phone in each apartment. Using this smartphone, tenants can go online and check the pre-installed interactive map, or plug into social media, with unlimited mobile data. Perhaps even better, the Handy Phone offers complimentary local calls as well as international phone calls to the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Japan. Residents are also free to take their smartphone with them outside of the building complex. Perfect for those new to Hong Kong, or perhaps those here for a stay not long enough to warrant buying a phone card. The bathroom is also equipped with a thermo ventilator which the Vanke representative tells me is strong enough to dry hair after a shower.
Each bedroom also comes with a Bluetooth speaker, a space grey oversized button propped up on stilts with a sound quality pleasant enough to handle my late night jazz playlist. 

I was eventually taken downstairs to the clubhouse on the third floor, a welcoming space tiled in art deco flooring. There is a kitchenette and a high bar table, where a ‘Grab & Go Breakfast’ is available from 7:30 to 9:30 each morning; each tenant is entitled to a piece of pastry, bread, or cake, a piece of fruit, and hot coffee or tea. Sliding glass doors then lead to the outdoor section of the clubhouse. Part of this approximately 1,400-square-foot area is comprised of a gym; currently there is only a bike, an elliptical, and a rowing machine, but there are plans to include more equipment and Vanke tells us they are keen on collaborating with fitness teachers who could run classes directly at The Luna. The rest of the outdoor area is green-filled, with soft couches to laze around on, a place to chill out from the manic rush of Hong Kong and reconnect with nature as much as possible. 

The Luna bedroom two

As I head back down to the stark white lobby and out the main doors in search of dinner, the Vanke rep points out that a couple of floors of the building has been designated as a retail area. The first and second floors are soon-to-be retail spaces, while the ground floor is houses Pinot Duck, a creative culinary endeavour focusing on only two ingredients: the duck and the Pinot grape. “Did you know that because it’s part of the same building, residents at The Luna can get 15% off at Pinot Duck?” Only one guess as to where we went for dinner.  

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