Issue 31 / London
Where did the past 36 months go? Our editor in chief Tyler Brûlé surveys the editorial floor on the eve of our third birthday.
It’s all go in the kitchen at Monocle. As we send this 31st issue off to press in Dorset, it’s cake and champagne time around our well-worn BassamFellows table to celebrate our third birthday and the start of volume four. Our resident pastry chef Poppy Shibamoto has whipped up an outstanding array of cookies and Baumkuchen to mark the occasion and friends from the best bubbly houses in and around Reims have sent cases of their finest vintages to assist with the festivities. Aside from Poppy’s whisking and kneading, the whole team have donned their pinnies and rolled up their sleeves to tackle a series of new assignments.
Alicia has expanded her portfolio in the edits section to scope out more travel stories, broaden our food and drink coverage (watch for a special guide in the months to come) and report from the world’s major fashion and design expos. Tom Morris has been tackling bigger features and just returned from a special talent scouting mission to Auckland to bolster our newsgathering capabilities in the South Pacific. And Liv will soon be packing her bags and waving goodbye to London as she heads off to Hong Kong to take up the post of bureau chief at our new operation on the South China Sea.
Upstairs, Pam and Anders on the publishing desk are lining up new extensions to the editorial mix (a transport special is hurtling down the track) and a few desks away Kirsty, Sabine and Pauline are negotiating a series of deals that will see new Monocle shops in New York, Toronto and Tokyo. Around the corner Alex is working on a series of new jingles and special segments for the Monocle Weekly and there are murmurs that a new audio programme is also in development. On the street below the logistics facility is humming as Gaby and her pixies inspect prototypes for new products and pack orders for shipment to readers near and far.
As I survey all of this busy-ness, it’s clear that not only has our little editorial venture grown – it’s now bursting at the seams. Having started with 19 full-time staff at the end of 2006, we now number 43 – with a fresh batch of new hires on the way. While we love our home at 20 Boston Place (the instant cash-for-used-cars garage next door, the delinquent youths at the end of the street and the grumpy Polish girls manning the espresso machine in Marylebone station), it’s time to start looking for a new home to accommodate our various activities.
About once a month, when I lose hope with Heathrow or find myself delayed on Eurostar, I think about pulling the plug on London altogether and setting up shop somewhere else. But where would we all go? Would Monocle work if based in Paris? Would Geneva really make sense? What about Berlin? After doing a quick mental spin around Europe I always end up back in London as it’s still the best city for running an international, English- language media brand like ours.
Having been slightly spoiled by having our own building, we’re on the hunt for the same but only bigger. As we want to share a space with our sibling Winkreative (a branding, design and content agency), we need to expand by at least 50 per cent and find a handsome home that will accommodate at least 30 bicycles that pull up in the morning, host five meetings simultaneously, offer a bit of outdoor space for al fresco dining when the sun decides to put in an appearance over the southeast of the UK and solid construction so we can build a series of audio studios.
Ideally, a well-priced plot of land off Edgware Road would be the best scenario so we could construct our own compound but as the seams are unravelling it’s not really an option. In short, the best birthday gift would be a lead on a building that comes reasonably close to fitting our brief. If you know of such a structure in the heart of London then drop me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or my assistant Alex (email@example.com) a note. As ever, you can also send along any tips, story ideas or comments to these addresses as well.
On behalf of all of us in London, Tokyo and Zürich, I’d like to thank you for your support, correspondence and commitment to Monocle over the past three years. Cheers.