Monday 12 September 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 12/9/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Enrico Caccia

Playing the long grain

Zürich’s Sihlquai riverbank has been the site of a mill since 1843; today it’s home to the world’s tallest granary tower. This month will finally see Swissmill’s 118-metre Kornhaus repository go into operation, after having been under construction for the past three years. The tower can hold up to 35,000 tonnes of grain and offers stunning panoramic views of the city from its top floor. Back in the 19th century having a tower in the centre of town was a necessity; these days it’s a quaint reminder of Zürich’s traditional industries. Yet due to the city’s unbeatable logistics – the company is located between the train station and Limmat River – Swissmill never seriously considered moving to the countryside. Even though the windowless, shadow-throwing concrete colossus has been called out for its unseemly architecture, the smell and movement of fresh-milled grain does add a bit of life to the city streets.

Image: Getty Images

Casting a long shadow

Today marks the opening of the inaugural Argentina Business and Investment Forum. Since president Mauricio Macri came to power in December, his administration has been keen to reverse some of the populist policies of his predecessor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and present the country as a business-friendly emerging economy. Thus the list of speakers for the Buenos Aires-based forum includes representatives of both the European Investment Bank and the Dubai Investment Development Agency. But the winter in Argentina has been tough: the country’s economy has slowed, while inflation and unemployment are on the rise. Macri will be hoping that the forum will boost foreign direct investment and lift business confidence at home. He might have chosen a different venue, though: the three-day event is being held at the Néstor Kirchner Cultural Centre, named after the country’s former president. Perhaps not the best stage on which to launch a new era.

Image: Getty Images

Slippery slope?

The effects of the drop in oil prices have been keenly felt across Canada, particularly in Alberta. A new report reveals that the situation is worse than previously thought: in a revised fourth-quarter forecast the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors has predicted that 2016 will be the worst 12 months for the oil-drilling industry in 40 years. With fewer than 3,600 wells drilled this year, a decrease of 25 per cent from its original forecast, the past two years have seen about 34,600 jobs in the industry lost. But it’s not all doom and gloom in the Great White North: despite the flagging oil industry Canada managed to add 26,000 new full-time jobs in August, suggesting that the country is now beginning to cope with this new reality.

Image: East Japan Railway Company

Station to station

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has big plans to build a station where there is now a rail yard along the capital’s south side. Last week the Tokyo-based train operator unveiled its blueprint for a new ¥500bn (€4.3bn) station slated for completion before the 2020 Olympics kick off. Designed by Kengo Kuma and tentatively called Shinagawa Shin-Eki (Shinagawa New Station), the glass-and-wood structure features a long irregular geometric-shaped roof that’s meant to evoke the folds of origami. JR East isn’t just building a local railroad terminus; it will develop the surrounding area into shops alongside office and residential towers.

Miso Tasty

A masterclass in cooking with miso paste by Bonnie Chung, founder of Miso Tasty.

Nordic embassies, Berlin

The Nordic nations’ Berlin embassies share one of the world’s most architecturally unique buildings. Monocle Films finds out how careful thinking, architecture and design are helping these nations punch above their weight in the German capital.


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