“Luxury has changed a lot. In the past it was eating in a three-star restaurant. Now it’s eating home-grown vegetables in a garden or somewhere on a mountain, or going to a small cottage where you find handmade cheese, and just having a taste of that in open air, that’s luxury now. In fashion it’s a bit the same. In the past, haute couture was luxury. And now finding a sweater in a hand-spun cashmere somewhere on the hills of Nepal is far more exciting and luxurious.”
— Dries Van Noten (my main man, besides Stefano Pilati)
When I had a spare 30 minutes in Hong Kong a few days ago, I hopped in a cab for a harrowing journey ride to visit HK Honey‘s HQ in Ngau Tau Kok in Kowloon.
It was one of those scenes from a movie where the heroine realises how much she loves the man, gets in a cab downtown, climbs five flights of stairs, realises she’s a chubba who needs to go on the Zone then but bursts onto the rooftop and there he is. Only in this case, the object of my affection were the bees.
HK Honey was featured in Nowness a week or so prior to my visit, but as I’ve been a fan for the longest time so I consider this a little dream come true.
At the rooftop garden I found founder Michael and intern Sky, shovelling dirt from Mapopo Community Farm from Fanling, HK that’s as hard as bricks and mixing it with other kinds of soil to make it plantable*.
In truth, I had come because my supply of beeswax is running low and I needed to stock up, but it was such a wonderful escape to be able to burst into this little world and see a section of beehives surrounded by shrubs and plants of all kinds.
“This sounds chicken of me but I’m kinda afraid of bees, Sky. I have dinner at Lupa in 20 minutes. Can’t really get stung today,” I said.
“Michael’s crazy. He doesn’t wear a beekeeping suit when he opens the hives. He just… runs,” came the reply. “But the bees are generally gentle.
Later I learned from Michael that a whole bunch flew away after a recent rooftop barbie the other day.
Sky shows me the cucumbers, strawberries and mangoes. While my nose dives into every bud, bush and semblance of a fruit, Michael rubs the leaves with the pads of his fingertips and brings them to his nose. “This is basil,” he says. “We’re going to make pesto soon.”
Ya-HUM! In another planter a few boxes down, rosemary and basil.
A few levels down, I was shown their office and massively wicked driftwood wall. I want a driftwood wall! And a rooftop garden and bees! Classic grass is greener moment. In the midst of this completely industrial part of town, I found something incredibly hopeful and renewing about the space.
An inspiring afternoon. Thank you to HK Honey, Michael and team xxx