The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 25 April 2016

Image: Leon Yaakov

City secrets

Saint Basil’s, the Kremlin, Lenin’s corpse; Moscow has plenty of well-snapped sights. But there are some lesser-known treasures lurking in the back streets, not to mention a rich history expressed in iconic infrastructure. The Strelka Institute, a private research and exhibition centre focused on media and design, has started a new programme to teach Moscow’s tour guides about these marvels. It really gets to the nuts and bolts of the city, from how the metro took shape to how Stalin’s high-rises were erected. The programme has the input from the non-profit Moscow Through the Eyes of an Engineer, an excellent archive of the built environment that has tracked down derelict constructivist prisons and a penthouse from the Soviet avant-garde.

Image: Alamy

High flyers

The definition of a first-world problem surely involves struggling to find a landing spot for a private jet but in Hong Kong it’s serious business. A dearth of landing and take-off space at the near-capacity airport is prompting fears that business leaders are bypassing the city altogether, depriving the economy of much-needed investment. Concerns about limited availability resurfaced last month after glitches arose with a new automated booking system. However a solution could be on the way. Zhuhai in China is seeking permission for its underused airport, majority-owned by Hong Kong’s Airport Authority, to handle some of its neighbour’s gilded air traffic. A massive road bridge is set to connect the two cities by the end of the decade although high-flying CEOs may still prefer the zippy 20-minute helicopter ride into Hong Kong.

Image: Hiroshi Sambuichi – Moving Materials

Moving matter

Hiroshi Sambuichi once said of his buildings that he wants them to breathe like indigenous plants. It’s hard to grasp how the Hiroshima-based architect integrates geothermal and solar energy into – and channels natural air currents through – his innovative buildings until you have seen one up close. From now until 11 June, Hiroshi Sambuichi – Moving Materials is on display at the Toto Ma Gallery in Tokyo. There are videos, diagrams, drawings and data from the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum and the Mount Rokko observatory, among others, that reveal the extensive data-collecting and fieldwork that Sambuichi uses to create buildings whose materials and functions depend on their natural surroundings.

Image: Getty Images

Swiss sensation

Non-profit media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has released its 2016 World Press Freedom Index and Switzerland has reason to celebrate: the country has made an impressive leap up the list. The nation moved up 13 spots this year, climbing from number 20 to number seven out of 180 countries; the jump was enough to push it from what Reporters Without Borders labels a “fairly good situation” to a “good situation”. The group appreciatively notes that media freedom is high in Switzerland yet it also highlights the country’s laws against publishing leaks regarding “confidential official discussions”, particularly when it comes to banking.

From Monocle 24

Image: Star5112

The perfect storm

Author and journalist Dan Charnas reveals how top chefs are able to control the chaos in their kitchens and tells us what we can learn from them.

From Monocle Films

Fuorisalone 2016: Design on display

Running parallel to Milan’s furniture fair, Fuorisalone is a series of citywide events dedicated to design. Monocle Films spotlights the latest products and ideas on show.

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