Editor’s letterAs Monocle gears up for a schedule teeming with plucky print products and top radio programmes, our editor in chief outlines our editorial plans for the months to come.
The openerBefore toasting a cup craze and scouting the best penknife, we appraise Finnish fondness for fraternities and Russia’s yen for national pride.
All aboardDesigned to keep going in all weather, this new driverless bus might not be fast (at least, not yet) but it’s certainly fun.
Making tracksTwo Germans are on a mission to heal the rifts that are threatening to split Europe – and they believe that free international train travel for all European 18-year-olds is the way to do it. So far the scheme is proving a hit.
Throwing signsLike any language, signing changes with the times – and that incorporates updates to include the latest obscenities and drug references. Monocle put its hands up for a lesson in lyrics at a Texas gig.
My cabinetThe president of the Rhode Island School of Design sketches out the make-up of her tight team.
Cosy cornerThe star of ‘Deutschland 83’ reveals that acting is just a side hustle – his first love is music.
Civil serviceIt’s a valued institution but its reputation has been under fire: Monocle explores the complex role of the Guardia Civil.
Politics BriefingSurely Vladimir Putin’s grip on power won’t last forever? We meet the activists preparing for Russia’s future.
Politics briefingA cabinet reshuffle in Peru and how environmentalism could shake up the EU elections.
Diplomacy BriefingPress freedom comes under the spotlight and the UK’s ambassador to Switzerland tells all.
Defence BriefingAirbus gets a much-needed military order while Canada’s navy searches for more seamen (and women).
Cities BriefingAthens’ outgoing mayor shares advice for his successor and Montréal’s shops start talking the talk.
Eastern promiseIn our new feature we’re heading to one nation per month to look at the ideas, practices and customs that are worth exporting. First up, Japan – policymakers take note.
Are we nearly there yet?While electric vehicles have been around for a while, they’ve never stolen the spotlight – until now. Monocle visits the Geneva International Motor Show and a smart charging point company in Finland to see if this could finally be the year they enter the fast lane.
Picture perfectBoth highly practical and visually arresting, Leica’s handsome home reflects its status as a visionary presence in the photographic field.
Tidy profitsDecent design has always prioritised better materials, using less and making things that are worth keeping. We profile three firms selling sustainability, storage and a sense of order that’s made to order.
What’s the big idea?Meet Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner who knits elephants while pulling apart the finances of technology behemoths.
Business BriefingVenezuelans in Madrid, the future of duty-free shopping and a spinning start-up in Mexico.
Tall storiesAre you sitting comfortably? It’s time for Monocle’s annual property survey, where we start with five distinguished developments.
Judging a book by its coverIs it the cardinal sin? Not according to those who design the jackets that catch your eye in the bookshop. We meet them to find out why – when it comes to selecting reading material – it should be love at first sight.
Must the show go on?Just when you thought the plug should be pulled on the tired old music talent show, along comes another new offering. Yet ‘Songland’, which sees the spotlight shift from singer to songwriter, promises something different. Apparently.
Star turnAbstract artist Frank Stella had his first Moma retrospective 50 years ago. We caught up with him as he prepared to show his latest colourful work, partly inspired by his smoking habit.
The TenThe days are getting longer and festival season is almost upon us. So take the initiative: head out to a sculpture park in Spain, a five-hour play in Melbourne or Venice’s Biennale with the help of our indispensible guide to the best films, series, art, books and exhibitions on offer this month.
Best in classOur pick of superlative designs that are functional, beautiful and made to last.
Repeat after meAn inspiring school with high ideals created a space in which its pupils could foster their own creativity. No wonder so many of its alumni have become designers.
Ideas on tapGood sense is winning out over pointless technology in the world of bathroom design.
Off the gridA fearless Mexican city is drawing comparisons to the world’s most exciting design hubs. We meet its key figures.
True coloursA residents-funded revamp of a magnificent modernist tower block has given it the kiss of life – and attracted an array of creatives.
Sweet spotsMelbourne’s mid-century milk bars are being reimagined by a new breed of entrepreneur. Who fancies a shake?
A lot on its plateNew York’s latest mega development might boast the mother of all malls but is an exciting food offer enough to tempt people to visit?
Food & Drink BriefingOur favourite food finds, from German cookbooks to a top new Toronto table.
Buffy Sainte-MarieThe 1960s singer-songwriter and passionate advocate of indigenous rights, gives us a lesson in eating lobster at her favourite restaurant in Vancouver.
Staying in stepTokyo is one of the world’s most fashionable cities – why does its fashion week lack global clout?
Domestic blissLuxury fashion in Mexico used to be European – but rising womenswear stars are redressing the balance.
Fashion BriefingA Tuscan menswear designer opens up shop, plus our favourite watch finds from Baselworld.
Easy does itComfort trumps all in the heat. These light and loose layers will keep you cool whatever summer throws at you.
Go for boldBright days are here at last so it’s time to make a statement. Pastels and block colours are all you need to stand out – and stay smart.
Top of the shopsA tour of Row DTLA reveals a walkable side to shopping in the City of Angels plus plenty of divine takehomes.
Sitting prettyAs furniture shop Living Edge opens in Western Australia, we took a first look at its new space.
Refined retreatAn old family pile, stripped back to reveal its former glory, starts a new chapter as a hotel.
Travel BriefingRead on for the latest hotel openings and travel news from around the globe. First up we head to LA for a smart stay in an art deco building that’s been given a new lease of life.
Spring bulbsOur collection of the best lamps and lights to brighten up your life, indoors and out.
The directoryWhether you’re after a design hotel in Budapest, a cup of Joe in New York, a memento from Santiago De Querétaro or tulips in Utrecht, our guide is here to help.
Making amendsRather than erase all evidence of Georgia’s Soviet past, the country’s architectural community is keen to preserve its history and give the once-foreboding buildings another – happier – lease of life.
Storied beginnings and a fresh approach
Inax is Japan’s pioneering manufacturer of toilets, sinks, bathtubs, faucets and tiles. Founders Hatsunojo Ina and his son Chozaburo started their company (originally called Ina Seito) in 1924 in Tokoname, a traditional pottery town in central Japan. INAX’s global launch of two new collections at Milan Design Week showcases the brand’s Japanese heritage and craftsmanship, cutting-edge technologies, sublime design and uncompromising quality – elements that turn bathrooms into comfortable, relaxing spaces that improve people’s lives.
Inax is reimagining bathroom design, creating relaxing, beautiful spaces. This is not achieved with a single product: comfort comes from a careful composition of toilets, bathtubs, wash basins, faucets and tiles. It’s a level of expertise that Inax has developed over nearly a century and through collaborations with top architects and designers.
Every Inax product is a balance of three values: essence, sophistication and thoughtfulness. The brand’s designers prioritise function, innovation and ease-of-use and strip out excess decoration. They also respect tradition and focus on quality and craftsmanship, paying particular attention to the way a product feels and is finished and how it will be used.
Three basic shapes give Inax’s products their signature look.
Part square, part oval, this shape incorporates both human and architectural elements, creating a connection between people and buildings.
Inspired by the curved surface of water, this gently sloping shape reflects light and adds dynamism. It is precise and beautiful but also functional: water naturally flows over it.
This robust and elegant form intuitively guides users to its peak and has a surface that’s easy to clean.
Chief design officer Paul Flowers talks to us about Inax’s global launch.
What was the design approach for the Inax launch?
Our task was to modernise the brand but still emphasise Japan’s cultural elements. We worked to embed a set of simple elements into our work with three basic shapes: squoval, tension and volcano. We also developed a culture of design-thinking, enforcing a consistent, detailed level of design that works on an objective level.
How is Japanese culture reflected in your products?
Our brand values are essence, sophistication and thoughtfulness. These really resonate with the cultural aspects of Japan and act as the guiding principle for everything we create – whether it’s a website, product packaging or an interaction with consumers.
What makes Inax unique?
We have a heritage of being a technology-led brand and we want to continue to lead with our technology. We created the world’s first-ever commercial shower toilet, which has a bigger consumer base than dishwashers in Japan. And we’ve got 100 years of knowledge of making ceramics – we provided the tiles for the design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
What are some key design elements, technologies and manufacturing processes?
The Inax blue colour is a strong brand element. When you turn on the shower or flush the toilet, the Inax blue appears to let you know that the water is flowing. You will see it in all of our products. In a number of products, we use what we call “intelligent control”. It’s a unique shower valve that allows you to control the volume of water and reduce consumption. We also consider the spray; the way the water comes out is unique. These are human-centric features – we don’t use technology needlessly. What we try to do with our technology is ask, “What is the human benefit?”
Are there differences in bathing cultures between Japan and the west?
Japanese people bathe at a higher temperature than those in the west. In onsen (hot spring) bathing houses they clean themselves before they get into the tub, even at home. But there are challenges to taking it global – such as universal design and ecology – that our designers can tackle while examining different demographics and weighing the needs of elderly and young people.