The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 12 April 2016

Image: Salone del Mobile

Furniture frenzy

The weather may be inclement in Milan but it’s unlikely to dampen the spirits of those in town for the city’s 55th annual furniture fair Salone del Mobile, which runs until Sunday. More than 300,000 have arrived in Lombardy’s capital to take in the 2,000-plus exhibitors and rub shoulders with the world’s best and best-known designers (they’re not always one and the same). Today’s top tips for those attending: hit the Rho fairground for SaloneSatellite and EuroCucina. The former is a manageably small but eminently inspiring space dedicated to up-and-coming designers under the age of 35. The latter is the industry’s biannual showcase of kitchens, with everything from smart new materials for worktops to cookers and extractor fans. Its techy FTK event, which translates as “Technology for the Kitchen”, may have overcooked it when it comes to digital intervention in the kitchen but the designs on show will appease any appetite. We will be on hand throughout the week to ensure you don’t miss a thing, with live check-ins on Monocle 24, a special Salone-themed episode of Section D, slideshows and films on monocle.com and a daily digest of unmissable events courtesy of your faithful reporters for the Monocle Minute.

Image: Asahi Shinbun/Getty Images

Trained artists

Luxurious sleeper cars, dining cars serving fancy meals and trains with hot springs. In Japan it’s not enough for a train to get you from A to B: railway operators now want to sell the experience of the train ride itself. On 29 April, East Japan Railway will launch the Genbi Shinkansen, the world’s first high-speed train that doubles as a contemporary-art gallery. The train – an older model with a revamp that cost ¥500m (€4m) – will make the 50-minute trip between Niigata and Echigo Yuzawa stations in Niigata prefecture, northern Japan, 24 times from late April until June; the schedule after that has yet to be determined. Inside the train is the work of six artists – all but one Japanese – and the interior, designed by Tokyo-based Transit General Office, looks nothing like the standard Shinkansen. It features wainscoting, armchairs and a wood-panelled café serving dessert and coffee from producers in Niigata.

Image: Singapore Art Book Fair

Prints charming

Print aficionados will flock to Singapore Art Book Fair this week as the event, which runs from 14 to 17 April, showcases a surging Southeast Asian independent-publishing scene. Event co-organiser Kenny Leck – who also owns cult Singaporean shop BooksActually – says the public event is poised for its biggest turnout yet. Thai lifestyle publisher A Book and Indonesia’s Studio Geometry join an international ensemble of exhibitors, all vying to fill tote bags with new art books, magazines and journals. Independent publishing is also enjoying a boom in popularity in Singapore. Leck, who will be displaying titles from his own Math Paper Press, has assembled a tight selection from an enterprising group of young Singaporean publishers. Because publishers are increasingly more open to printing irregularly scheduled magazines and journals rather than monthlies, Leck says that “now more than ever there is a willingness here to make that leap into publishing”.

Image: Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images

The Monocle Quality of Life Conference

What’s the future of communication in a world overwhelmed by digital content? Who are the media players that still engage us in print and beyond? How can technology become less demanding and more friendly? These are the pressing questions for anyone interested in media, publishing and good old-fashioned face-to-face contact – and Monocle’s Quality of Life Conference, on from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 April in Vienna. Joining the discussion, which will be hosted by Monocle’s editor in chief Tyler Brûlé and editor Andrew Tuck, will be three special guests: journalist and author David Sax, Punkt founder Petter Neby and Frankfurt Book Fair director Juergen Boos. Interested in taking part? Final tickets are available here.

From Monocle 24

Tall Stories: the Casson Pavilion

In the debut episode of Tall Stories, Monocle editor Andrew Tuck takes us on an urban journey through a house that was never intended for people to live in: London’s Casson Pavilion. Tall Stories is a new weekly feature brought to you by the team behind The Urbanist.

From Monocle Films

Club scene

We visit the members’ clubs where foreign journalists find a home away from home – as well as a good supper – in Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

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