Wednesday 24 February 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 24/2/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Joerg Hempel

Next stop: creativity

Art on the underground has taken on a whole new meaning in Düsseldorf. The Wehrhahn, a new metro line that opened last week, runs from east to west beneath the city centre and features six stops created through an ambitious collaboration between artists, architects and engineers. Fifteen years in the works, the metro line and stations – which cost the city €843m – will be entirely advert-free. Instead residents will have their imaginations stimulated by dramatic panoramic windows, 3D projections of planets and an art installation wall that displays real-time footage of passing pedestrians, all held together by the cohesive vision of Berlin-based artist Heike Klussmann, the project’s lead designer. The city had no problem with the metro being an advert-free space and was energised by the challenge of creating a public-art project on such a large scale. It’s a metro link that aims to make your ride all about the journey rather than the destination.

Image: Getty Images

Scare tactics

As campaigning begins in earnest ahead of this summer’s referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU, politicians and commentators are looking back at the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence for inspiration. The pro-EU campaign shouldn’t be negative, they say, because that turns voters off. It shouldn’t just focus on economics because that’s not inspiring. Essentially, it shouldn’t be a repeat of “Project Fear”, as the campaign to keep Britain united was dubbed. There’s just one problem: that campaign won by quite some margin. Focusing on economics, emphasising the negative aspects of independence and, yes, playing on people’s fears was actually very effective. The campaign to remain in the EU could do a lot worse than repeating the strategy of Better Together.

Image: Getty Images

The talking stops

It’s the end of an era in the world of Brazilian talk shows. Globo, the country’s behemoth media group, announced this week that this will be the last season of late-night talk show Programa do Jô hosted by 78-year-old Jô Soares, fondly known as “the fat one” in Brazil due to his rotund figure. Soares has worked in TV since the late 1950s and remains popular among Brazilians but his show, which has been on air since 1988, has faced a shrinking audience of late. His fragile health in recent years hasn’t helped matters either. Although new presenters such as Marcelo Adnet and Danilo Gentili are keen to occupy the vacuum that Soares will leave, it will be a very hard task. “Jô Soares is a monument of Brazilian television,” says television columnist Tony Goes. “His personal mix of wit, culture and showmanship is impossible to replicate.”

Image: Eric Michael Johnson

Building resentment

Now that the majority of China’s population lives in cities, its central government is prioritising urban challenges such as pollution and traffic congestion – and “weird” architecture. According to the state council, which has just published 30 directives for improving urban development, Chinese cities are blighted by “bizarre” buildings. While president Xi Jinping has previously voiced his dislike for unusual building design, other directives have taken some by surprise, including a suggested ban on gated communities and the gradual opening of existing walled compounds. Many in China’s architecture community worry that the new orders will result in a clampdown on innovative designs in favour of conservative structures. The timing of the directives’ release won’t help: next weekend the National People’s Congress will rubber-stamp the latest five-year plan, dictating China’s development up to the end of the decade.

Image: Terence Chin

Page Thirty Three and Daniel Emma

Two design couples – Sydney’s Page Thirty Three and Adelaide’s Daniel Emma – tell us about the challenges and opportunities facing Australian product designers today.

Making a point

In a competitive world driven by technological advances, some artisan producers are staying resilient and challenging the mass-produced industry. Monocle Films visits entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Cape Town and Mallorca who champion the art of craft.


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