The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 19 January 2016

Short and sweet

Countless fashion houses have unveiled elegant showrooms at Milano Moda Uomo autumn/winter 2016 but Valextra’s new pop-up shop signifies something far more refreshing. On Sunday the leather-goods label opened the doors to its overhauled flagship space, which was designed by Belgian architect Bernard Dubois and will have a one-year lifespan before being reimagined by another architect. Dubois describes his salotto-like space as both “austere” and “fun”, with bright-yellow and pale-pink walls offsetting grey-brick structures topped with autumn/winter 2016 wallets and bags. The project is proof of the power of the pop-up: though they are often associated with gimmickry, Valextra is using the continuous reinvention of its flagship as a tool to stay current. “The shop is one element of the personality of the brand,” says Valextra CEO Sara Ferrero. “We are still the same but we adapt and absorb; keep consistency but have something slightly different.”

Image: Koelnmesse GmbH, Constantin Meyer

Sitting comfortably

This year’s IMM Cologne, the agenda-setting interiors fair, has only just begun but it’s already clear that furniture design never stands still. Each year the fair awards the celebrated A&W Designer of the Year prize, which this year went to Jasper Morrison. The designer, whose Hal chair for Vitra has been relaunched in white, says he is driven by innovation when it comes to design. “If you ask why we need to design more chairs, the answer is if you honestly compare a good chair of today with one from the 1960s there’s a world of difference,” he tells Monocle. “There are hundreds of different kinds of chair; even though I may have designed more than 30 there are still plenty of types I haven’t done.”

Image: Ken Hawkins

Wise words

Monocle readers know our position on print and, indeed, all things journalism: it’s alive and thriving. It was nice to see that view reflected at the DLD (Digital Life Design) conference in Munich this week. With more than 150 speakers and about 1,000 attendees, the event holds different panels ranging from the future of publishing to the responsibility of tech companies in fighting terrorism. A highlight was Monday’s “How will journalism survive?” panel, featuring a robust discussion between several media executives and moderated by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta. Despite challenges facing the industry, panellists were wholly optimistic about both journalism and its place in the world. Time Inc’s Norman Pearlstine noted that publications should be poised to sell to global audiences and that even with the rise of digital technology, “there is still an audience for magazines”. For more on Monocle’s take on the world of print, tune in to The Stack on Monocle 24.

Image: Kohei Take

Taste test

Japan is considering a new approach to strengthening its soft-power initiatives abroad: certifying chefs who specialise in Japanese cuisine. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries programme would apply to non-Japanese chefs and is likely to begin by summer. Chefs can earn a gold ranking by working for more than two years at restaurants in Japan; a silver ranking after studying at a Japanese culinary school; and a bronze for a short professional internship. Ministry officials are still working out the details but they say that supporting chefs who get training promotes authentic Japanese cuisine and limits incidents of food poisoning from raw fish that isn’t prepared to proper hygienic standards. With an estimated 89,000 restaurants overseas serving Japanese food, the programme could have a big impact. Added bonus: it might also boost exports of soy sauce, kelp and other products.

From Monocle 24

Image: Julian Wolkenstein

Qantas: ‘I Still Call Australia Home’

We speak to Australian journalist Carli Ratcliff and Sydney-based composer Les Gock about their relationship with the Qantas campaign song. “I Still Call Australia Home” has been welcoming Australians back to their home country for nearly two decades and has become an anthem in its own right.

From Monocle Films

Blooms or bust

Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market might be a must-see for tourists but the Japanese capital’s flower market is also a rare thing: a place of beauty and big business.

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