'Princess Leia's bikini' brought to life by Elenberg Fraser
It has inspired a dedicated fan web-site, generations of fancy-dress costumes, countless YouTube tribute videos and now a building. That’s right; Luna, by Elenberg Fraser, is based on Princess Leia’s infamous ‘dancing girl’ gold bikini, featured in Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
Situated at the centre of Melbourne’s recreational capital St. Kilda, Luna consists of 72 high quality residential apartments atop premium ground floor retail tenancies. The building is extruded as a single geometric volume where its curvaceous form echoes the draping lines of Leia’s usual white robes, whilst the shimmering gold glass and metal mesh materials are matched perfectly with the colours and textures of the gold brassiere.
The shallow façade goes deeper; the science of the building is the science of perception. The metallic skin seems almost intangible, hovering between reality and fantasy – a comment on the tension between the interior and exterior self. How much of ourselves do we reveal; how much do we want public, how much do we keep private?
Luna tackles the ongoing conundrum of apartment life – how do you retain privacy, keep your lights on and still enjoy the view? Exposed on a corner site the building uses an operable glass line and a veil of operable shutters to offer residents ultimate control over not only what they see, but what others can see of them. The series of fixed and bi-folding screens privatise the residence by day, whilst a collection of lighting battens activate the building surface by night.
More than art, the lighting is science. The lighting not only illuminates the interior but when the external lighting level is greater than the internal lighting level it draws out the reflection in the glass preventing people outside from seeing in. The interiors borrow from the flexibility and occupant driven environment of the façade where one way mirror pivot doors can be used to enhance or privatise the living and bedrooms.
Typically open living and dining spaces are unified by a singular joinery piece which elegantly integrates entertainment, kitchen and storage spaces and continues through the bedroom spaces to define a seamless gesture, complimented with clever storage alcoves and a considered contemporary choice of materials.