Japan is a nation that does many things rather well. Here we profile a few problem-solving products to tackle some of life’s trickier challenges – oh, and a banana holder.
Editor’s letterThis year proved that we can do things better, says editor in chief Andrew Tuck. Here’s how.
The openerAn intercontinental array of bulletins bringing you up to speed on Israel’s pop charts, the changing face of suburbia and underwear to massage your bottom.
Wild thingsResidents of Anchorage would be justified for laughing at other cities’ talk of rewilding because in Alaska an enormous moose in your garden is an ordinary occurrence.
Splash of colourAre your city’s public toilets a busted flush? Then take a stool as we tour Tokyo’s latest deposits: outdoor conveniences that set a new bog standard.
My cabinetClean-ups organised by Sustainable Coastlines have rid New Zealand’s beaches of hundreds of tonnes of waste – and it’s just getting started.
Order of merit?At their best, city laws can encourage smart behaviour and enshrine the freedoms that make great places to live. At their worst they can pander, prevaricate and even generate a stifled laugh. Some of these lesser-known examples are benchmarks, while others are lamentable. But all show urban life in its oddity, charm and contradiction. Note to lawmakers: must do better.
Civic prideMaverick mayors and plucky planners are springing into action to make their cities greener and cleaner – and prepare them for the big bounce back.
In the runningFrom championing the fight against global warming to lacing up and pounding the pavements, Slovenian president Borut Pahor is taking his ideas to the streets, as well as the EU.
PoliticsSlovenia’s president takes us on a tour of his patch, a revolutionary new law in Argentina could spark change and Nigeria is building a new railway.
Diplomacy BriefingCanada’s ambassador to Belarus talks keeping the peace, Bulgaria and Russia fight it out and a new embassy location is found in Jerusalem.
DefenceLuxembourg’s defence minister talks about going green, India invests in homegrown jets and Greece places a big order.
CitiesLos Angeles transforms its river, Helsinki goes deep for its heating and Prague’s tram lines go green.
Change for goodBig improvements can often come from small adjustments to our behaviour. So how can we ensure that we do things better? We asked 20 thinkers – from authors and professors to artists and architects – for their take.
Strong foundationFrance’s embassy in Kenya was built with the climate in mind. But does it serve its primary purpose: to foster ties between the two countries?
Asian provocateursAcross Asia, progressive politicians and activists are challenging long-established power brokers and accepted norms. We assess the policies and prospects of nine of these men and women to find out whether they offer the potential for genuine change.
Into the futureAs more companies pivot towards sustainable practices, we visit seven savvy firms shaking up their respective industries, while proving that doing business better needn’t compromise the bottom line.
Building societiesFrom filling city skylines with farmland to rolling out comfortable flat-pack homes, here are 10 visionary schemes that could transform how our urban environments take shape.
BusinessIndian real estate’s green shoots, saltwater farming in the US and circular economies.
True colourA future-focused shopping centre from the brains behind Eataly, Green Pea occupies a largely self-sufficient building and holds its in-store partners to a sustainably minded manifesto. Will it catch on? We head to its northern Italian base.
Call of the wildNatural-history programmes are kings of the televisual jungle. But are they telling the whole story?
Safe in the knowledgeHow can media sustain us? Keep conversations simple, challenge untruths, fix neighbourhoods? We visit three projects that are good for their environments.
Only humanFrom vital but sobering screen documentaries to a captivatingly introspective US instrumentalist and the story of a besotted auteur, the premier cultural offerings of early 2021 seem to reflect a meditative mood. But there’s innovation and celebration to be found among them too – and even the tale of a work placement on a pirate ship.
Concrete junglesAs urbanites the world over seek to nurture a little nature in their cities, we travel to Singapore, Copenhagen and Beirut to visit three projects with rewilding at their heart.
Feel the breezeThere are more ways to keep cool than cranking up the air conditioning, as architects in more temperate climes have been discovering for years. From naturally cool materials to clever ways to harness wind and shade, here are 10 shortcuts to a breezier building.
No time to wasteFurniture-makers are waking up to the fact that there’s more to sustainability than product longevity. We visit the Lombardy base of B&B Italia to hear how the brand is pioneering eco-friendly materials and methods.
Ground controlIn forensically researching the history of a site before he builds on it, prolific Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane likens his role to that of an archaeologist. We meet him to dig a little deeper.
Light reliefIn Portugal’s Alentejo region, designer and entrepreneur Francesco Ippolito has built a modernist off-grid sanctuary that paves the way for his plans to create a high-end, design-focused retreat.
The Monocle ShopThis month’s selection from our shop starts with ‘The Monocle Book of Italy’. Our dedicated reporters and photographers have roamed the length of the boot and this coffee-table book is the result. Feeling inspired by the nation of the ‘bella figura’, we’ve also highlighted some well-designed pieces to refresh your wardrobe and home.
Starters’ ordersBeard is back. The Tokyo chef behind the fêted restaurant followed one farmer’s produce to a remote town to help lead an unlikely agricultural revolution.
Food & DrinkThe desire to “do better” can bear fruit (and vegetables and many other tasty things besides) in the kitchen. Perfecting a recipe is a simple step to improving your quality of life. As such, we’ve laid on a spread of five tried-and-tested dishes to try your hand at. Expect wraps with a Korean twist and a satisfying cod risotto, plus dumplings from Italy and a hearty clam chowder, not to mention a tasty mixed tempura from Japan to kick things off.
Rafaela SeppäläThe art collector, journalist and newspaper heiress cheers the global standing of Nordic design over fresh crayfish and bilberry pie at her home in Helsinki.
Close quartersGlobally renowned fashion brands needn’t have an unwieldy supply chain. Source materials nearby, get the design right and pursue your passion, and customers will come to you.
FashionFrom a sharp one-man show in Tokyo to a British bag brand championing tweed, we try some new looks.
Wear it betterSpring is a fitting season for a wardrobe refresh, so add some colour and pop your collar – it’s time to get outside.
Off the mapSometimes a sustainable solution is on the doorstep. We start our tour of domestic success stories in Lapland, where foreign visitors are absent but Finns are strapping on skis.
Open sesameAfter a hard year, there are still reasons to be cheerful about the hotel industry. We scan the hospitality horizon for the openings set to define the year ahead.
Here to stayRefined stays hewn with bags of original charm from the centre of Kyoto to the shores of California, by way of an upscale Alpine lodge and a Danish island retreat.
Field of visionHaving taken a break to find a dream holiday home, a UK couple are opening up their Alpine retreat to guests.
Power toolsJapan is a nation that does many things rather well. Here we profile a few problem-solving products to tackle some of life’s trickier challenges – oh, and a banana holder.
Beyond repairWhen our assorted items and ephemera break, fail or cease to become useful, the temptation to replace them is only too easy. But there are those who make it their life’s work to rediscover, renew and restore these objects – and in doing so, emphasise their true value.
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