The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 28 March 2016

Image: Pavegen

Power walk

Laurence Kemball-Cook is the CEO and founder of UK business Pavegen, a company that has created a pavement tile that harvests kinetic energy – from people walking on it – to generate electricity. Now while this may sound like a nice gimmick, perhaps useful for a company hoping to wrap itself in PR-able green tech, he insists he’s on the cusp of going mainstream. Initially each of the tiles cost thousands of euros to produce but today retail for less than €360 – and prices are set to halve again. Kemball-Cook says he is close to competing on price with traditional floors used in, say, train stations. “The main thing for us is the built environment and getting ready for scale,” he says. His roster of forthcoming projects include working with Transport for London and large-scale retailers, as well as installing a project in Washington. And what happens to the power? It’s used to run everything from street lighting to wayfinding schemes. (For more on pavements listen to the latest episode of The Urbanist.)

Image: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Slow progress

West Kowloon’s beleaguered transformation into a culture and transport hub looks back on track. Hong Kong’s government has finally pushed a vital budget extension through the divided Legislative Council, allowing construction to continue on the controversial new terminal and high-speed rail link with mainland China. Meanwhile, interest in the nearby M+ museum, which has suffered its own delays, has been revived thanks to a well-received preview of 80 works from the Sigg collection; featuring more than 1,500 Chinese modern art works, it will go on full display when M+ opens in 2019. Amid all the building work the district even hosted a ribbon-cutting this month with the opening of the 32-room Olympian by Sino Hotels, the group behind the boutique Pottinger Hotel on Hong Kong Island.

Image: Unit Editions

You’ve got mail

Regular Minute readers may have already detected our proclivity for the plushly published delights from UK-based Unit Editions but it’s books such as Graphic Stamps that show the firm at its finest. The collaboration between editors Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy explores and exalts the sticky-backed collection of stamp experts otherwise known as Iain Follett and Blair Thomson. And the result is a beauty. Graphic designers and philatelists alike will fawn over the boldness of the red-and-white right angles in 1960s Swiss stamps or the brash reds, whites and blues of their US-designed counterparts. The enduring qualities of these most disposable of mediums is striking. The title is the first in the publisher’s forthcoming Archive Series – a collection worth saving room for in any design library.

Clean sweep

Shoreditch-based interiors designer Lee Broom is heading to New York. His recently announced pop-up shop – Broom off Broome, a reference to its Greene Street location off Soho’s Broome Street – will open on 12 May during NYCxDesign festival and run until June. The designer has been building a reputation for his elaborate temporary retail spaces in the past year, after setting up The Department Store pop-up for Milan Design Week last April and launching The Flower Shop for September’s London Design Festival, filling his Shoreditch shop with blooms. Broom on Broome, however, will be his first US space and it’s clear that he’s hoping to make an impact on the competitive New York market: the 186 sq m showroom will not only stock his characteristic furniture, lighting and homeware but he’ll also unveil a new lighting design that will only be available to US customers.

From Monocle 24

Image: N i c o l a

One step at a time

The floor we step on every single day is an essential piece of urban design. We examine Portugal’s limestone calçadas, Singapore’s unique “five foot ways” and Turin’s covered pavements. Plus: we imagine a world in which every single step we take in a city is converted into energy.

From Monocle Films

Trudeau and Fogo Island

The remote Fogo Island – where Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau spent Easter with his family – is enjoying a new lease of life. Monocle Films paid a visit to discover the new vision for the island.

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