The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 23 July 2016

Image: Hoxton Mini Press

Happy snappers

Those playful scamps at Hoxton Mini Press are at it again with a new trio of bright-hued photography books. The small-format books in the Mini Mini series (pink, peppermint and buttercup in colour) are a joyous jaunt through the works of four contemporary shutterbugs with decidedly odd interests. Bubblegum, the first book in the series, is Emily Stein’s tribute to childhood innocence – and chewy confectionery, of course. Ronni Campana’s Badly Repaired Cars turns the lens onto acts of carelessness with regards to vehicles, while Oli Kellett and Alex Holder’s provocatively titled Hand Jobs: Life as a Hand Model turns the camera towards the faces behind the handsome hands of this world. Frivolous and flippant? Perhaps a little. But in these straightened times for print publishing it’s heartening to see imprints investing in sumptuous paper stock and contemporary snappers, and even more so when it’s done with swagger and a wry smile.

Image: Ian Dagnall/Alamy

Architectural understudy

A majestic example of beaux arts architecture, the former central train terminal along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa is being renovated to house the Canadian senate for up to a decade while the current legislative building undergoes its own refurbishment. Architecture firms Diamond Schmitt and KWC are joining forces to work on the CA$269bn (€186bn) project. Together they will restore lost design details on the façade – such as the arches, windows and Doric columns – and update the overall structure for modern use. When the building reopens in two years time, the public will be able to take a peek inside on public tours conducted by the Library of Parliament.

Image: Olaf Krüger/Alamy

Woolly thinking

The rugged, serene and scarcely populated Faroe Islands, set between Iceland and Norway, are itching to make their presence known on the internet. The 18 islands are revered as a travel destination but researching them isn’t easy: Google Maps’ 360-degree virtual tours are hard to come by and the company has yet to send a fleet to document the island. So to answer pleas from residents to record the landscape, the tourism board has come up with its own solution: sheep. The free-roaming animals outnumber the human population by nearly two to one and now a handful have been fitted with solar-powered 360-degree cameras in a project known as Sheep View 360. The tourism board hopes that the quirky solution and its 80,000 woolly ambassadors will encourage Google Maps – and in turn more visitors – to flock to the islands.

Image: Tan Hai Han

Enticing dishes

In a country where “have you eaten?” tends to be the typical greeting, Singaporeans’ passion for food is becoming a defining characteristic of the young nation. This year’s Singapore Food Festival, which is on until next weekend, aims to champion the city-state’s homegrown cuisine. Food being showcased across the two-week event typically originates from steamy community hawker centres where dishes derived from Chinese, Malay and Indian origin (Singapore’s three main ethnicities) are served. Festival highlights include top restaurants making playful twists on traditional Singaporean favourites and a food truck delivering the national dish of Hainanese chicken rice to various destinations across the city. Carving out uniquely Singaporean experiences is a fine way to encourage discerning holidaymakers.

From Monocle 24

Image: Matt Brown

Hitchcock’s London

Darting through the hallways of the British Museum and over the rooftop of Scotland Yard, we present a tour of Alfred Hitchcock’s London. Plus: jazz composer David Braid’s soundtrack to the Chet Baker biopic Born to be Blue, how to programme repertory cinema in London and regional Australia, and remembering Happy Days creator Garry Marshall.

From Monocle Films

On the home front

It was designed by a suspect bohemian, houses a coup plotter and is today favoured by young, liberal creatives. Madrid’s Edificio Princesa, once both bunker and luxury home for Franco’s loyal cadre, is a concrete testament to the contradictions and bold optimism of Spain’s transition to democracy.

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