The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 6 January 2016

Image: Alamy

Screen time

The world’s biggest consumer electronics show, CES, opens in Las Vegas today and at the heart of the show is innovation in televisions. Making TVs is a tricky endeavour: margins are tiny and prices are dropping but Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Sony are still expected to deliver fresh features, improved design and impeccable picture quality from slim profits. Today companies will launch screens that feature the latest image technology, such as 4K screens – also known as UHD (Ultra High Definition) – that are four times the resolution of regular HD displays. Then there’s HDR, which makes shadows sing with detail and renders skies dramatic and rich. Attention is also paid to thinner-than-ever panels, almost imperceptible frames and screens designed to look good even from behind. Think 4K is more than you need? This year, Vegas will show us that 8K is on the way. Watch out for more CES coverage this week on the Monocle Minute.

Image: Alamy

Detroit’s drive forward

Chicago may be making headlines on the back of the success of its first architecture biennial that ended last week but the Windy City isn’t the only place in North America that’s earning design distinction. Detroit is one of 47 new destinations to be inaugurated into the Creative Cities Network and the first in the US to be dubbed a City of Design by Unesco. The nod aims to foster international co-operation and urban development, and spur the city’s design-minded businesses. As a cradle of industrial modernism, the Motor City will hope to ape the success and attention its mid-western neighbour has garnered and drive forward its often-overlooked design talent.

Image: Reuters

Divided they stand

The battle for Middle Eastern supremacy between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which will form the backdrop for so many of the conflicts and crises unfolding in 2016 and beyond, shows little sign of being resolved soon. Who, if anyone, can pressure the two powers to step back? The US, UK and France have, in the past, all seemed far more interested in the ready supply of oil and the selling of arms to make too much of a fuss about Saudi Arabia’s regional promotion of Wahhabism. Russia, meanwhile, is keen for Iran’s support on Syria and prefers not to push its allies to change internal policies. But both Russia and the West should look beyond their narrow, short-term self-interests. If the Iran-Saudi battle escalates, it will affect us all.

Image: Bartosz Kolonko

Raising the roof

A new entrepreneurial hub looks set to emerge in Hong Kong: Wong Chuk Hang, a former industrial area in the island’s southern district, will soon be humming with enterprisers as the Social Innovation Centre opens this week. The centre, an incubator supporting young entrepreneurs, is located in a former warehouse that has been transformed into a co-working space by Rick Lam of Architecture Commons. “The major challenge was the limited ceiling space owing to the warehouse’s deep beams,” he says. His solution was an undulating stretched ceiling that takes advantage of the space between said beams. Another sign that the area is about to boom? It’s due to receive its first rail links by the end of 2016 with the extension of the city's MTR network.

From Monocle 24

Image: Byron Prujansky

Museum of Tomorrow

The Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro is a bold new venture designed by Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava. Eschewing the usual approach of focusing on objects, it’s mainly concerned with ideas about where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Monocle’s Rio correspondent Sheena Rossiter visited the museum to find out more.

From Monocle Films

Travel Top 50

Our annual survey of the best in class from carriers to train stations, architecturally blessed inns to tasty food concepts. It’s your round-the-world ticket to meet the hospitality stars.

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