Wednesday 14 September 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 14/9/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Glimpse

Cat’s out of the bag

It may not have been raining cats and dogs yesterday in London – in fact, it was the hottest September day the UK capital has seen in 105 years – but certain commuters south of the river saw their fair share of felines. After a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised about £23,000 (€27,000), new London-based initiative Glimpse has replaced 68 advertisements in Clapham Common Station with photos of, you guessed it, cats. The project is called Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (Cats). The aim? To encourage people to think differently about the world and not always see things for their material worth. No, the volunteer-led collective isn’t selling pet food or promoting a new kitty litter. The point, as founder James Turner says, is that it “wants to use the power of creativity for good” – to create a moment of cat-related calm. Incidentally, many of the cats featured are strays from the UK’s largest feline-welfare charity Cats Protection and nearby Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. You can purr at their portraits in the station for the next two weeks.

Image: Hubolt Design Prize 2016

Watch this space

Yesterday designers from around the world converged at the Hublot headquarters in Nyon for the Hublot Design Prize 2016. Launched last year to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Swiss watch brand’s Big Bang model, the CHF 100,000 (€91,200) prize is awarded to the most creative and innovative designer selected by a five-man jury that included Ronan Bouroullec and Salone Satellite’s Marva Griffin Wilshire. Among this year’s eight finalists were Japanese designer Yota Kakuda and German Sebastian Herkner. After a day of presentations and factory tours – divulging how Hublot’s Magic Gold watches are made – the jury awarded the Hublot watchface-shaped trophy to Christophe Guberan: “The prize goes to somebody doing creative things and crazy research,” announced juror Pierre Keller in his speech. “I just want to propose something different,” said Guberan, whose creations present a window into the future of materials and technology.

Image: Guillaume Simoneau

Business rates

While we at Monocle know that Toronto is most certainly open for business, it seems that the rest of Canada is doing something right when it comes to helping business as well. The nation has been named the best G20 country when it comes to providing funding for digital companies. In terms of access to finance, which includes lending and connecting with angel investors in order to secure capital to scale, accountancy firm EY’s G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer found that Canada ranked the highest. Of course, there’s always room for improvement: the same survey placed Canada in fifth place when it comes to entrepreneurial culture.

Image: Helen Yang

To the moon

Tomorrow’s Mid-Autumn Festival is China’s Thanksgiving and a chance for businesses to show off some heart-warming etiquette across the region. In the high-time of giving, sending a passé gift-set to business partners can make or break a deal. That’s why more designers and brands have begun to apply their aesthetic touch to mooncake packaging: last year interior designer Joyce Wang launched a successful boxset for The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong prior to her facelift of the venue; and this year French patisserie Pierre Hermé and Japanese tea brand Nakamura Tokichi launched new packaging designs for the Chinese treat. Hong Kong-based graphic designer Ken Lo says, “Businesses are now more inclined to see an opportunity in creating a distinguished brand identity through festive products – and it works.”


We meet Snøhetta architect Jette Hopp and founding partner Kjetil Thorsen in the lobby of the Norwegian design giant’s monumental Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Oslo’s most important architectural project of the past decade.

Now you see it

From a simple concept – the roll-out and upkeep of municipal street furniture in exchange for control of the advertising – JCDecaux elevates the unnoticed essentials of urban life. Monocle Films discovers how it helps cities run in style.


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