Wednesday 27 January 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 27/1/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: iStock

Digging deep

Copenhagen’s dedication to dealing with climate change continues apace: its latest venture sees the city transforming parks to keep up with heavy rainfall and prevent flooding. Public park Enghaveparken will be redesigned to include an excavated area, which will serve as a slightly sunken sports field in sunny weather but will be able to contain a great volume of water, effectively transforming into a pond during stormy periods. The boundary will also be marked by a dyke, which will collect and filter water into small gardens situated around the park. Expect to see similar spaces around Copenhagen: the city council has approved plans to build 300, some of which have already been completed. Though the transformation is expected to cost a total of €1.2bn, Copenhagen officials estimate that the rethought areas will save them nearly twice that in flooding damages in the long run.

Image: Alex Schelbert/Spielwarenmesse eG

Full steam ahead

Flashing lights and electronic noises abound at Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg today, as the world’s biggest toy trade fair begins. Much of this hullabaloo comes from the toy market’s current flavour of the month: drones. But there are alternatives on display for the child (or child at heart) bent on a vehicular thrill. Model railway manufacturer Märklin, founded in Göppingen in 1859, has enthralled hobbyists for years with its meticulously constructed miniature railroads. In 2011 the company launched ‘My World’, a range of simplified battery-powered and choke-hazard-free model trains designed for use by small hands. The purpose: to introduce model railroads, Märklin in particular, to a new crop of hobbyists. “Our products connect the generations – everybody can play together,” says managing director Florian Sieber. It is now a cornerstone of the company’s corporate strategy and in 2016 Märklin plans to invest more than €1m in the development of new entry-level products alone. The fair runs until 1 February.

Image: Frommel Fotodesign

Breathing easy

Though the sun’s warmth is a blessing for many industries, a hot season can melt away sales in the world of winter sporting goods. At the massive Ispo trade fair, which comes to an end today in Munich, buyers, brands and distributors are feeling the heat. “The winter sports industry is a weird one because the economic situation in a country is not as important as the weather situation,” says Tobias Gröber, Ispo’s director. “This season has been difficult because it’s the third winter in a row where we didn't have enough snow.” To differentiate themselves in a tough market innovative designers have learned to adapt to warm as the new normal. Lausanne-based sportswear brand Mover has turned to highly-breathable natural fabrics such as cotton canvas for its jackets. But the secret weapon is the padding: wool from Swiss alpacas. “We don’t raise them ourselves,” says Mover’s CEO Nicolas Rochat. “Swiss farmers need to shave them and they don’t know what to do with the wool.” At Ispo, an alpaca’s loss is a sweating skier’s gain.

Image: Getty Images

TV drama

Nervous times lie ahead for Canada’s television stations according to a recent warning by the country’s national broadcast regulator. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which is preparing to launch a series of public hearings on the future of community-based broadcasting, has claimed that without a fresh injection of funding nearly half the country’s local TV stations could be forced off air by 2020. Private television stations have seen advertising revenues slump by 25 per cent since 2010 as the popularity of online and on-demand services has grown. But local television offers an invaluable public service. If the times ahead do prove to be leaner, broadcasters will need to reimagine what these services should be rather than fearing the death knell.

BMW: Driving forward

Fernando Augusto Pacheco sits down with BMW’s head of design Adrian Van Hooydonk to discuss how the industry is revving up and what the company has on the drawing board for 2016.

Boat builders of Bodrum

We take a trip to Turkey’s Bodrum shipyards to watch the century-old skills that are still right at the heart of the peninsula’s revered boat-making businesses.


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