The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 7 September 2016

Image: Ed Reeve

Visions of the future

“Ambitious, creative and inclusive” is how London Design Biennale director Christopher Turner hopes his event will depict a British capital still reeling from the Brexit vote. Opening to the public today, the event takes to the task with gusto, presenting 37 international pavilions sprawled across the lovely halls of Somerset House. From China to Chile, the theme of “Utopia by Design” is creatively explored by each nation via a series of installations. Some offer more optimistic takes on the theme – a sustainable Shenzhen is proposed in model form by the megacity’s firm Urbanus – while other designers send more cautious messages, delving into today’s politically sensitive issues. Belgium, for example, has mapped a new “EUtopia” based on Thomas More’s book Utopia – whose 500th anniversary is marked by the Biennale – in a design that considers Europe’s uncertain future.

Image: Christopher Katsarov/PA Images

In Trudeau we trust?

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau made the watching world weak at the knees when he was elected last October and he’s had a tangible effect back home too, as shown in a recent survey on how Canadians perceive local governance. What exactly the “Trudeau effect” is remains an enigma according to Maryantonett Flumian, president of the Institute on Governance, which conducted the studies in collaboration with the Environics Institute. However, most of those surveyed said that they place greater trust in their government under Trudeau, findings that are in line with national opinion polls: these show that the prime minister’s approval ratings have steadily climbed since he took office, something of a rarity for a sitting head of government. Still, concerns over wasteful spending, poor decision-making and an unresponsiveness to citizens’ concerns mean that about three-quarters of those surveyed feel Canada’s political honeymoon has yet to yield many tangible fixes to the issues facing the country today.

Image: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Leaders of the pack

Just as international summit fatigue kicks in elsewhere, leaders from Tonga to Tuvalu will begin to gather in Pohnpei today for the start of the 47th Pacific Islands Forum. The Federated States of Micronesia take over hosting and chairing duties from Papua New Guinea and have selected economic growth as the regional focus for the next 12 months. While Palau president Tommy Remengesau is staying home with elections looming, Fiji is sending its foreign minister once again as it continues to protest about the influence of fellow members Australia and New Zealand. Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull touches down at the tail-end of his trip to the G20 and East Asia summits and is expected to unveil a number of development initiatives for the aid-dependent islands. After being a side act in Hangzhou, Canberra is now the biggest show in town.

Boats that rock

This year’s edition of the Cannes Yachting Festival started on a shaky note, with some journalists and visitors held for more than an hour at the gates due to an alleged bomb scare. Once things got underway, however, it was all smooth sailing. The big Italian groups, from Ferretti to Azimut, are out in full force as expected while smaller and younger shipyards are taking the opportunity to introduce the passing crowds to their brands. To mark its 10th anniversary ambitious Turkey-based Sirena Marine, which has thus far specialised in sailing yachts, announced the launch of a new motor-yacht line called Sirena Yachts. The 56 and 64 models, both conceived by star designer Germán Frers, will be launched in 2017.

From Monocle 24

Image: Thomas Humery

Machimbre at Maison & Objet

Machimbre is a Buenos Aires-based interdisciplinary studio that teams up with Argentinian artisans to make its nautical-cord chairs entirely by hand. Yet for its handsome M5 model, art director Julieta Barrionuevo and architects Zelmira Frers and Michelle Parisiers are looking to shift the production’s relaxed Latin American pace up a gear. Here they talk to Monocle’s Chiara Rimella about the brand’s ambitions.

From Monocle Films

On the paper trail

Who needs paper in a world dominated by technology? Monocle Films finds out as we visit Kakimori, a small stationery shop nestled in Tokyo’s Kuramae neighbourhood.

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