The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 26 March 2016

Image: Hiroshi Iwasaki

Working the angles

Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake is known for sculpted dresses and jackets with pleats and precise geometric folds that jut and swirl. From now until 13 June, a selection of pieces from Miyake’s 45-year career is on display in a retrospective at the National Art Centre in Tokyo. Divided into three rooms, Miyake Issey Exhibition: The Work of Miyake Issey reveals the breadth of the designer’s experimentation and his enthusiasm for hi-tech manufacturing methods. There are samples for visitors to unfold – try your hand at miniature versions of dresses from his “132 5” collection – and daily demonstrations on a large pleat-making machine.

Image: Shin Miura

End of an era

A liberal light has gone out in the UK: the last issue of The Independent was published today, the latest newspaper to fail to make its journalism pay in a digital age. At its best the Indy was a campaigning force: liberal and not afraid to be unpopular if it believed it was right. The owners claim they are heading towards a bright, digital future: an app has been launched and the website given a spring clean, while star columnists and foreign correspondents have been retained. But don’t be fooled: the website is filled with clickbait and many of the newspaper’s best, most experienced staff members are losing their jobs. Its fellow liberal bastion The Guardian has its own problems, announcing just this month that 100 editorial jobs will go. Both papers give their content away for free online; the Times and the Financial Times do not. Guess which ones are doing well.

Image: Transpod Inc

Tech-savvy Toronto

A Toronto transport-technology start-up called Transpod is taking up the mantle of Elon Musk’s visionary concept Hyperloop, an uber-fast rail system that reaches speeds of at least 560km/h. Collaborating with the University of Toronto, Bombardier and other players in the aviation industry, Transpod aims to release a working prototype to present at Berlin’s InnoTrans rail show in September and to produce a commercial model by 2020. Founder Sebastien Gendron says his model will cut commute times between Toronto and Montréal down from more than five hours to less than 30 minutes, making it feasible to live in one city and work in the other. While there are plenty of reasons to doubt the concept, many Canadians will be curiously following the Transpod’s progress (or lack thereof).

Image: Daniel Yim

Read all about it

A New York artist has spent the past year stacking books across the city and urging passers-by to take from the pile. The elaborate book share, known as The Reading Project, has seen piles of books left in lifts or on pavements, as well as at major tourist destinations such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the High Line and Central Park. The artist, Shaheryar Malik, includes bookmarks requesting that once a book is read, the stranger sends him an email. He says his aim was not merely to promote print but also to encourage human interaction – and it seems he has succeeded. Malik estimates that of 250 books taken, many have been passed on and travelled as far as Belgium, the UK and Singapore.

From Monocle 24

Image: ASCOM Prefeitura de Votuporanga

Brazil’s Easter eggs

In Brazil, Easter is celebrated in a big way. The world’s largest Catholic country in terms of population, a common tradition at this time of year is exchanging giant chocolate eggs. But with inflation at more than 10 per cent, many are scaling back on their purchases. Monocle’s Rio de Janeiro correspondent Sheena Rossiter visits her local supermarket to see if Brazilians are still in an Easter egg-buying frenzy despite the higher costs.

From Monocle Films

Venice Architecture Biennale: Fundamentals

For the second in our two films on the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. We investigate the theme of “Fundamentals” set by curator Rem Koolhaas.

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