Business / Global
Making malls in Brazil, keeping faith with coal in Australia and how Japan has its finger on the pulse of the latest biometric technology.
Mall systems go
São Paulo already has 72 shopping centres but the newly opened Cidade Jardim aims to be different and raise standards. The design – led by Brazilian architect Arthur Casas – is flooded with natural light, has gardens in front of the stores and will promote the best of local and international luxury labels. “São Paulo needed a shopping centre that rescues the relation with the streets, with green spaces,” says Casas.
The mall has partnerships with Brazilian companies such as Fasano and Daslu. The Fasano group (owner of some of the best hotels in Brazil – see Monocle issue 01) will run Emporeo Fasano, an Italian food shop, and a new branch of its restaurant Nonno Ruggero. Daslu, the luxury boutique store, will also open a new branch in the complex.
Cidade Jardim is owned by JHSF, a leading company in Brazilian real estate, which is run by the young entrepreneur Jose Auriemo Neto. So far 120 shops are open and another 60 will follow.
Japan’s decision in November to launch mandatory fingerprinting and photo-taking at airports was greeted with puzzlement by some of the country’s two million foreigners, who called it discriminatory. Introduced as part of beefed up “anti-terrorism” measures, some observers believe business is set to benefit most. Corporate Japan has been quick to spot the rise in demand for ID and security devices, a market set to balloon to more than €4.4bn by 2012. Fujitsu, Toshiba and Hitachi have all announced plans to expand hugely production of ID devices that read palm veins. Oki Electric is marketing a security system that scans retinas, while Matsushita has a machine that identifies moving subjects in two seconds after screening their eyeballs. Facial recognition that detects the sex and age of subjects by comparing them to photo databases has been created by NEC, the firm behind that new biometric system in Narita.
Finger on the pulse
1. Oki Electric – electronics manufacturer with €4.3bn of sales in 2007. Employs 21,380 people. 2. Matsushita Communication – specialises in mobile communications, audio-visual systems, and automotive electronics. 3. NEC Corporation – 109 year-old Tokyo-based IT and computer maker. Sales of €28bn in 2007. NEC and its subsidiaries employ 154,786 people.
London and Paris
We predicted here some months ago that London’s Mount Street would become the address of choice for discerning brands (joining the likes of Marc Jacobs). Latest to open shop there is Aesop, the skin care and beauty brand. Across the Channel, the area in and around Gare d’Austerlitz is being tipped for retail greatness. While LVMH’s brands aren’t signing up for space just yet, there are a number of leading galleries and clever retailers who either have their contracts with lawyers or are already talking to architects about what they can create. With the station set to see an overhaul (including more tracks), it might just become a new hub for Parisians and ex-pats who’ve been priced out of the city centre.
Slash and burn
Australia’s zeal to slash its greenhouse gas emissions is at odds with its valuable coal industry. However, an experimental plant could make them easier bedfellows.
With its coal industry employing 25,000 people and earning the country A$23bn a year, the government is keen for coal to survive. Australia’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility in south-western Victoria may let the country burn and sell coal while cutting emissions. The test site will capture about 100,000 tonnes of CO2 over a two-year trial period and store it 2km underground.
With €24m from government, industry and research bodies, the facility is being run by the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies. “The success of this programme will confirm the CCS technology as a viable option to reduce the carbon footprint of coal,” says energy minister, Martin Ferguson.
Not everyone is convinced. The plant will store a tiny fraction of the CO2 a coal-fired station produces and no one is certain it will be economically viable.