The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 11 June 2016

Image: Turismo En Portugal

Learning Portuguese

Fado is Portugal’s popular melancholic musical genre about saudade (nostalgia), traditionally accompanied by a mellow mandolin or guitar. Once In Fado is an all-encompassing experience – a blend of theatre, music, wine and food, merging British immersive theatre with traditional Portuguese music and gastronomy – that opens at the Village Underground London on 13 June. The audience is invited to explore a vast set that reproduces the alleys of Alfama, the Lisbon neighbourhood where Fado originated, with a gastronomical casa do Fado (Fado restaurant) catered by Spitalfields’ Taberna do Mercado. “This is not just a musical or a theatre show but a real experience of Portugal,” says co-producer Sofia Noronha. After the UK shows this month, Once In Fado will tour France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Brazil.

Image: Takumi Ota

Eye for design

Israel’s Design Museum Holon opens the first large-scale retrospective of prolific Japanese design firm Nendo this week, curated by Maria Cristina Didero. Featuring new pieces alongside the old and memorable, Nendo: The Space In Between showcases 74 works by the firm’s founder Oki Sato. Trained as an architect in Tokyo, Toronto-born Sato quickly took to a wide range of fields, including graphic, interior and product design. His irreverent, quirky works weave their way through the interior and exterior of the museum, grouped within white cubicles. The 38-year-old designer – who debuted his first collection, Streeterior, in 2003 at Salone del Mobile – has remained constantly busy since. At Salone in 2015 he debuted a total of 100 products.

Word on the street

We’re all at least dimly aware that how a word looks can be as meaningful as what it says: the medium can be the message, to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan. Yet beyond corporate strictures and mandated email fonts, few of us have the skinny on the sometimes technical-sounding world of typography. But no more. Tony Seddon’s Let’s Talk Type: An Essential Lexicon of Type Terms from Thames & Hudson is a refreshingly easy-to-follow romp through everything from the anatomy of letters (including the spines, strokes, swashes and spurs that constitute them) to the history of symbols. No, Twitter didn’t invent the now ubiquitous hashtag. Instead, it’s technically called an octothorpe and was first conceived to denote weight in pounds (it’s a blurring of an equals sign and the letters “lb”). Forget font porn and flashy layouts, instead expect a tightly edited reference book worth finding and following to the letter. On sale 13 June.

Image: Jonathan Castellino

State of the art

The art scene in Toronto continues to thrive and this month is no exception. On until 26 June is the 10th edition of Luminato, a citywide arts festival that sees about 100 fresh artworks commissioned, along with 3,000 performances by more than 10,000 creatives. While events are taking place all over town, the nerve centre of the festivities is the Hearn Generating Station (pictured). In a matter of weeks, homegrown architecture mavericks Partisans and the UK’s CharcoalBlue have fitted out the disused power plant with a 1,200-seat theatre, a dance floor and an art gallery. In addition to being an engineering feat, the transformation is itself a work of (installation) art. All will be dismantled when the festival rounds up at the end of the month.

From Monocle Films

Venice Architecture Biennale – National Pavilions

Our second film report from the Venice Architecture Biennale focuses on the national pavilions’ responses to curator Alejandro Aravena’s quest for new points of view on the social, political and cultural issues facing the world of architecture today.

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