The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 28 December 2015

Image: Sebastiano Rossi

Fit for purpose

If the need to jump-start a vigorous workout routine is being stymied by the dread of joining swathes of fitness newbies in an overcrowded, overheated gym, take some inspiration from MyEquilibria. The Italian-based project has looked to mother nature to create a striking outdoor gym that features a moulded, tree-like structure around which people can bend, stretch and lift their way to fitness. “The more beautiful something is, the more you want to use it,” says wellness expert Gian Luca Innocenzi, who spearheaded the project. The outdoor gyms will be going into production in January and will be used in city parks, public beaches, corporate campuses, hotels and even private residences.

Root of the matter

After a holiday of heavy eating, most of us are ready to lighten up with our meals. Fortunately for New Yorkers, a number of popular restaurants – Avant Garden, Semilla, By Chloe and Superiority Burger among them – have embraced vegan, vegetarian or mainly vegetarian menus. (Jean Georges is even planning his own veggie-focused place.) Those who couldn’t imagine giving up meat should keep an open mind: this new wave of cuisine is vegetarian food made with meat-eaters in mind as several chefs helming the establishments are not vegetarians themselves, including Avant Garden’s Andrew D’Ambrosi and Superiority Burger’s Brooks Headley. Meals are hearty (think “meat” ball subs and vegetable steaks) so people aren’t likely to miss the meat as a centrepiece of the meal – at least until the holiday haze clears.

Image: JW Marriott

Be well

Fans of R&R and beautiful design are in luck: two spa and wellness projects from Italian architect and designer Matteo Thun are in the works. The first is a five-star hotel Europäischer Hof in Baden-Baden, which will be refreshed by Thun, including the spa area. The second project, slated for opening in spring 2017, is the Bürgenstock Healthy Living hotel featuring generous wellness and medical-service spaces. Thun is known for taking inspiration from nature, using light and wood for a calming effect, and his new projects will be no different. “Wellness environments are the ones that more than any other space call for harmony and respect,” says Thun. Can't wait until 2017 to unwind? You can always try the Goco Spa Venice at JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa conceived by Matteo Thun & Partners – it’s been shortlisted for the 2016 World Luxury Spa Awards.

Image: Lukas Wassmann

Let’s drink to health

Though red wine drinkers have long been able to smugly bask in the health benefits of their tipple of choice, a growing body of research suggests that beer consumption also boasts a number of wellbeing advantages. With evidence showing beer can reduce the risk of everything from heart disease to arthritis to diabetes, there’s plenty to raise a glass to. (An IPA is a good choice: one study found it has the highest levels of a mineral that boosts bone-building cells.) One thing to keep in mind though: the benefits are enjoyed by moderate drinkers so you might want to take it easy, at least until New Year’s Eve.

From Monocle 24

Image: Juan Verni

Best of The Urbanist 2015

We’ve looked back over the past 12 months to fish out some of the most colourful and fascinating moments here on The Urbanist. We hop on a houseboat in San Francisco, head to Bolivia’s high-altitude capital and party with a cycle orchestra. Plus: powerful interviews with the mayor of Athens and Daniel Libeskind.

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