The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 14 November 2015

Image: Charlotte Schreiber

Capital creativity

In recent years London’s East End has become a voguish stomping ground for a new generation of inner-city makers. But as the Makers of East London book by Hoxton Mini Press reveals, there’s also an array of time-tested firms plying their trade here. The beautifully shot tome is both a run-down of 26 east London manufacturers and a snapshot of this creative quarter’s diversity and charm, from violin- and bell-makers to spoon-whittlers and spectacle-shapers. "East London has a long history of making and most people think it's gone," says the author Katie Treggiden. "There's an idea that we don't make anything in England any more, let alone in London." Far from being an elegy for urban manufacturing, the book is a celebration of its role in keeping our cities interesting.

Image: Motohiro Sunouchi

Green imprint

Architect Toyo Ito is always looking for ways to bring nature into his work. In his Tokyo firm’s recently completed design – the Minna-No-Mori Gifu Media Cosmos city library in Gifu, Japan – the smart architects are bringing exterior light into the work space with a series of funnels from the ceiling. The funnels lead to oversized hanging domes, not only bringing in natural light but also separating the room into designated stations for reading and studying. Set next to a lush park, the library design also makes use of solar energy. An outstanding example of a pragmatic design that doesn’t skimp on looks.

Sprouting ideas

Running until 11 January, the LA Getty Museum is hosting a second iteration of Salad Garden presented by artist and writer Julia Sherman, creator of the blog Salad for President. Following the first installation at Moma PS1 in New York, Sherman took over some unused museum space to plant a range of edible greens, including some 19th-century varietals. She hosts a range of artists to help her harvest and make salads. “For me the garden is both familiar and strange – a place that allows for an ease of curiosity, discovery and dialogue,” she says. As surprising as it is to find artists pruning at the museum, Sherman believes cooking makes for fascinating conversations. “It mirrors the ideal engagement one should have at the museum.”

From Monocle Films

Clear vision: Czech glass

Contemporary Czech designers are embracing regional Bohemian glass-making traditions while investing in new techniques to create modern products with soul. Monocle films pays a visit to some of the country’s most clear-thinking glass alchemists.

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