The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 7 November 2015

Image: Tom Harris

Building foundations

The late Chicago-based architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe made a mark on their trade but the Windy City is in the doldrums of the design world once again. The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial brings together exhibitors from more than 30 countries under the banner of The State of the Art of Architecture. Not the catchiest title but the event is an attempt to push the city into the limelight. “We can solidify our place as the space where new ideas and innovations in architecture and design are happening,” says Michelle T Boone, commissioner of the city's Department for Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The event lacks the confidence of the Venice Architecture Biennale but it’s a smart play from Chicago to build on its architectural reputation.

Image: The Araki

Capital cuisine

It's a good time to dine out in London: the UK capital has seen a significant increase in new openings over the past year. According to the recently released 2016 edition of Harden's London Restaurants guide, 179 new dining spaces have opened. That’s not only an increase on the previous year but it exceeds the pre-financial crisis peak of 158 in 2008. The taste for Japanese cuisine is stronger than ever, accounting for nearly one in 10 of the city's new spots. But while sushi is on the rise ­­– also topping the list for the priciest night out with a £300 (€420) tasting menu at The Araki – Harden's ranked Michel Roux's Le Gavroche in Mayfair as number one overall.

Image: AMNH/D

Evolving design

New York's American Museum of Natural History has unveiled its design for an expansion by architect Jeanne Gang. After much debate over the plan encroaching on Central Park's territory, the $325m (€299m) addition will take up less space than expected: about 1,000 sq m. If approved the museum will have three of its 25 existing structures taken down to make room for the six-storey addition. And by way of a nod to its original 19th-century masterplan (which was never fully realised), the new building will improve foot-traffic connections for visitors with more thoughtful navigation around its 20,000 sq m of new space.

Planting ideas

Those in Singapore with a green thumb should attend GreenUrbanScape Asia this weekend, the region's leading landscape and hi-tech gardening fair. The second edition, which concludes on 7 November, sees 170 firms and brands from 23 countries (as far-flung as the Netherlands and Italy) showcase the latest products and innovations in urban gardening. Don't miss the Asia debut of the Finnish firm Plantui. With soil-free plant capsules, smart lighting and clever watering systems the company has created a personal home garden to make even the most absent-minded of gardeners capable of growing their own herbs indoors.

From Monocle 24

Give it a squeeze

Tune in to The Menu to find out how quality brand Sir Kensington’s is changing the way people consume ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

From Monocle Films

Bringing furniture back to life with Finnish company Artek

In 1935 the founders of Artek drew up a manifest that the Finnish furniture company still lives by. Its “One chair is enough” slogan promoted a philosophy of intelligent consumption and this resulted in well-designed, timeless pieces that are coveted to this day. So much so that Artek is hunting down old items and bringing them back to life.

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