Photo: The Moon

There's a new multi-concept lifestyle space in town and it's a 3 minute walk from the Chinatown MRT station. The Moon is the brainchild of Pakistani Sarah Naeem and Singaporean Lee Jia Qian. The two creatives viewed 30 spaces before finally deciding on a former antique store. What convinced them: the two levels, which have been transformed into an indie bookstore and cafe downstairs, and a reading room which doubles as an events space on the top floor. It was super important that no one walks in and feels like they don't belong. From the approachable staff to the cosy vibes, it's the kind of place where you can truly live in the moment and feel at ease

After all, The Moon was designed to embody the essence of the Danish concept hygge. For the uninitiated, hygge is about appreciating the joy and cosiness in everyday moments, and creating physical and psychological sanctuaries for yourself. Denmark is one of the world's happiest countries, so who better than the locals to lead the way?

It might've been years since hygge first crept into public consciousness but we're not sure we'll ever get over it. Who doesn't want to be enveloped by a sense of warmth and contentment? And we are definitely down for how Sarah and Jia Qian want The Moon to be the kind of place where positive experiences are created. “If someone walks away with a good conversation or warm feeling inside, then that to us is a success," says Sarah. 

 

Photo: The Moon

Enter the building and you'll be greeted by The Moon's bookstore corner. From the works of Wild author Cheryl Strayed to Ponti by Sharlene Teo, more than 70 per cent of The Moon’s shelves are stacked with books written by women. Sarah was browsing the Philosophy section of a bookstore in Pakistan when she noticed that there wasn’t a single female author among the titles. It made the 28-year-old reflect on her own reading experience. Realising that she wasn’t making conscious decisions to read more widely, she wanted to make different kinds of books more accessible to habitual readers and non-readers alike.

“We tried to find unique titles that you don’t usually see, or famous books such as Jane Austen and Dune classics but in limited edition hardbacks,” she says, adding that they have a section called “everything but the kitchen sink” for the ones that don’t quite fit in any genre. She and Jia Qian are also thinking of starting a section called “oddly specific book titles”. A book like 30 Cakes to Eat Naked would fit right in. They want the book buying experience to be fun and help us discover what we normally might not.

 

Photo: The Moon

If you've bought a book and can't wait to crack on, head on upstairs to the reading room. Or you can bring a book of your own and just pay for a drink or cake from the cafe. The Haldi Doodh (golden turmeric milk) is like a hug in a mug on a rainy day, but if you want something with a little more ooph - try the matcha lemonade or coffee.

 

Photo: The Moon

For something to nibble on while you devour your latest sci-fi pick, treat yourself to a slice of chocolate and cardamom cake with orange ganache or turmeric banana bread. A handful of these are gluten-free and vegan-friendly

 

Photo: The Moon

A casual living room sort of situation, the reading room is dotted with eclectic cushions and furniture that include tables from the co-founders' own homes. It could also house events like poetry reading, movie screenings and art exhibitions. If you're an artist in need of some storage space, you might even leave your sculptures there. 

“We wanted to create a space where we can collaborate with creatives,” explains Jia Qian, 25, noting that there isn’t really a space for creatives to explore and do stuff locally. "Even if they can’t pay for full rent, they can come in for the space in exchange for providing a service," she adds. Take for instance a theater club that recently made use of the space. The club paid half the rent and helped out by providing weekday workshops for kids. 

Walk into The Moon, you’re never going to want to leave.

The Moon is at 37 Mosque Street. Opening hours: 11am-8pm daily.

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