Friday 24 June 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 24/6/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Ik Aldama/PA Image

UK votes to leave

Britain has voted to leave the European Union – and they may not be the last nation to do so. Within minutes of the result being confirmed earlier this morning, Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders had called for similar polls in France and the Netherlands. Nor is the EU the only union that faces an uncertain future. Can the United Kingdom survive in its present form? Every region in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, something that could lead to a second referendum on Scottish independence. Northern Ireland also voted to remain. No-one really knows what happens next.

The referendum became a vote on immigration, and yet the young – those whose jobs are supposedly at risk from immigration – voted overwhelmingly to remain; London – a city with more immigrants than any other – voted overwhelmingly to remain.

There are many unanswered questions, but this one in particular is worth dwelling on: we’ve been told that the UK is at “breaking point” and the EU is the cause, but what happens if it turns out the EU wasn’t the problem after all? British politics is in a dark place; it could get darker.

All about the art

Often overlooked within the region amid more high-profile events such as Hong Kong’s Art Basel, Thailand’s arts scene is small but feisty. To shine a light on the country’s artists, the interactive exhibition Hotel Art Fair by design-consultancy firm Farmgroup is hoping to reach serious collectors. This weekend the company is placing works from more than 20 galleries in Bangkok and Chiang Mai within the tranquil backdrop of boutique hotel Ad Lib’s guest rooms. The aim is to remove the distance between viewers and art: patrons are given the opportunity to pick up pieces – some of which are even strewn over beds – to take a closer look, thus overturning a common perception that fine art is intimidating. It’s an enterprising and encouraging pop-up event. Yet we’d also like to see commercial galleries such as Serindia embracing fresh artists in the Thai capital.

Image: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

Dancing till dawn

For nearly 70 years Japan treated dancing after midnight as a threat to morality. But as of this week – when a legal revision went into effect – nightclubs are now considered separate from other forms of adult entertainment, including strip clubs, hostess bars and brothels, which means they can stay open all night. Passed a year ago as part of a government push to encourage tourism and stimulate growth, the relaxed rules on nighttime dancing come with conditions. Though nightclubs can stay open until 05.00, they must refuse entry to anyone younger than 18 after 22.00. They must also meet minimum space requirements, keep the noise down and maintain a level of lighting that’s similar to a cinema before the start of a film.

Image: Pesaro Publishing/WOHA

Green guide

Arguably there’s no better place to look for advice on building a garden metropolis than Singapore. Following the opening of an exhibition on the topic at New York’s Skyscraper Museum in March, Singaporean architecture firm Woha has just unveiled a new book, Garden City Mega City. With cities (particularly those in Southeast Asia) ballooning, Woha’s bright, inviting book covers potential challenges and solutions through colourful photographs, diagrams and graphics, making its case for re-evaluating the planning of our urban environments. As a veteran of integrating greenery and sustainability into its designs, Woha’s latest book also includes a set of benchmarks to rate the social and ecological value of developments.

Image: Samuel Colombo

Habibi & Hawara: refugees only

We visit the team behind a restaurant in Austria that makes a point of only employing refugees.

The Monocle Travel Guide Series: Sydney

Sydney is a coastal crowd-pleaser that has long lured travellers to its shores and our 148-page hardback guide contains plenty of reasons to unpack your bags, settle in and linger a while. Published by Gestalten, it is available now at The Monocle Shop.


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