The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 10 June 2016

Image: Getty Images

Lion’s share

Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday wrapped up a three-day tour of Burma as his shrewd city-state deepened ties with the gradually democratising nation. Deals were announced to boost tourism and trade, including visa-free travel for Singaporeans from 1 December. This plays into the hands of Lion City entrepreneurs, who have been looking to Yangon for quite some time – their food and beverage and fashion brands are already peppered throughout Burma’s largest city. Burma’s first civilian-led government in 54 years can also learn a thing or two from Southeast Asia’s biggest overachiever: Singapore serves as the regional benchmark of a poor state making a swift economic turnaround by using strict but enterprising policies.

Image: Dan Sims

Boys are back

London has been blessed with (mostly) blue skies this week, which is timely because today marks the start of the capital’s menswear spring/summer 2017 season. Now in its ninth iteration, London Collections Men (LCM), the first key event of the industry calendar, has a reputation for showcasing innovative clothing and is a forward-looking counterpoint to the more traditional offerings on display in Milan and Paris. LCM prides itself on being a springboard for up-and-coming designers through its Newgen Men and MAN initiatives, which reward recipients with financial assistance, mentoring and an all-important catwalk show. MAN has previously introduced the world to designers such as Craig Green and JW Anderson. Our ones to watch this season? Chinese-born Feng Chen Wang and Swede Per Götesson will no doubt be blazing a trail through the industry in coming years.

No-fly zone

The grounding of Cyprus Airways in 2015 was a sad moment in aviation and the island’s route map has not recovered. Cobalt Air, a new Cypriot airline that is pointedly privately-owned, wants to be the republic’s new national carrier. Cobalt made its maiden voyage on 1 June, flying from Larnaca to Athens, but licensing delays for commercial flights mean that its two aircraft remain stuck on the tarmac. Nevertheless, there are plans to double the fleet this month; the airline sees Larnaca as a potential transit hub between the Middle East – particularly Lebanon and Jordan – and Europe. “There are 70 airlines operating in Cyprus over summer, many of which are charters, but in winter that number is halved,” says Andrew Pyne, Cobalt’s CEO. “Part of our thrust is to keep Cyprus connected out of season.”

Image: Alamy

Go west

For the past decade developers and planners have transformed east London into a thriving area of the capital. Now developers are looking to the west of the city – particularly the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). Plans for regenerating about 950 hectares of land south of Wembley are underway, with an aim to transform this area of London into a world-class transport hub. “We have a unique opportunity to create a thriving well-connected community,” said OPDC director of planning Michael Mulhern at the Academy of Urbanism Congress yesterday. He added that the project will see the creation of the largest rail station in Europe, the only spot where the rail projects HS2 and Crossrail will meet. The ambitious regeneration project is being funded by the Greater London Authority and comes at a crucial time for the growing city, as it aims to create more than 25,000 homes and 55,000 jobs.

From Monocle 24

Image: Antti T. Nissinen

Kenzo Tange: the metabolist school of architecture

What’s the connection between Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, and Hiroshima in Japan? They’re not twin cities but they both suffered disasters – one natural, the other nuclear – and the same man was responsible for raising them from the rubble: Kenzo Tange.

From Monocle Films

Skopje: starting again

A nation defining its identity – or architectural vandalism? Monocle Films heads to the capital of the Republic of Macedonia to investigate the controversial building project.

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