The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 3 October 2015

Image: KHALED KASSEM/Alamy Stock Photo

Rio ruckus

The outspoken Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes has made his city the first in Brazil to ban Uber and authorities in São Paulo are mulling over a similar course of action. Paes is supporting his native taxi drivers, which has prompted Uber to deem his actions “unconstitutional”. This is just the latest showdown for the car service that has found that its progress into Europe is also facing numerous roadblocks. However, the move from Paes comes as the city is gearing up for the Olympics and even friends of city hall feel that the taxi trade needs a vast overhaul. Unless the mayor can find a way to integrate Rio’s competing taxi services, visitors to next summer’s games may struggle to understand the move.

Back on track?

British railways were once the envy of the world. First Great Western, one of the country’s operators, is receiving a timely rebrand by design agency Pentagram. It’s reverted to its 1833 name, the Great Western Railway, and the new look echoes the brand’s golden-age font and old-school charm. But are fancy poster campaigns and austere Victorian logos enough? Britain’s rail operators should take a bit more notice of Italy’s high-speed red Frecciarossa stock or Japan’s beaky-looking Shinkansen for benchmarks of how to get its ailing network back on track.

Image: Miriam Elia/Ezra Elia

Classic in the making

Recommended reading this weekend comes courtesy of artist and satirist Miriam Elia, whose sharply observed self-published short work We Go to the Gallery has, by popular demand, been rereleased in a larger print run. Meticulously created in the style of a vintage illustrated children’s book, Elia’s work lampoons the world of contemporary art with a series of charming, childlike and at times nihilistic observations made by two children on a trip to an art gallery with their mother. “I want to play with the balloon,” says one of the characters, John, pointing at a piece by Jeff Koons. “Only venture capitalists can play with this balloon,” retorts his mother. It’s a covetable classic in the making that will outlast the initial ripple of laughter its release prompted. It’s also a good primer for the upcoming Frieze Art Fair.

Image: iStock

Coffee crisis

Coffee’s popularity is no secret but one discussion that emerged from last week’s Global Coffee Forum in Milan is that demand for the bean may soon outstrip supply. According to Bloomberg, global coffee consumption will increase by a third to 200 million bags by 2030. But Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of the Trieste-based brand of the same name, says production may not be able to keep up. As climate change threatens farmers in South America there’s an opportunity for producers in Southeast Asia to cash in on the black stuff. Speaking of opportunities, if you find yourself in Tokyo, Istanbul or Vilnius this weekend, why not stop in for a caffeine fix at one of these new openings: Paddlers Coffee, Crooked Nose and Other Stories or Four Letter Word.

From Monocle 24

Image: GMF | BUILD 2015

Pittsburgh: poster-city for resilience

Following the decay of the industrial and steel industries, Pittsburgh has become an emerging hub for technology, education and finance in the past few decades. Kevin Acklin, chief of staff at Pittsburgh’s city hall, tells us more about how his city has managed its transformation.

From Monocle Films

Boutique Norway

Monocle heads to Norway’s third-largest city, Stavanger, to discover how this boom town’s oil reserves are spurring on retail entrepreneurs looking to strike lucky in this once-overlooked area.

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