The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 13 January 2017

Image: Getty Images/Evrim Aydin

On the brink

It’s too often said that Turkey stands at a crossroads but this may well be a deciding day for its democracy. Ankara’s Grand National Assembly is debating the nuances of an executive presidency that provided it gets the votes required for a referendum, would deliver near-absolute powers to its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Today’s session will debate whether the president should have the power to bypass parliament and rule by decree in a new constitution. Observers are worried: there have been fistfights in parliament this week and whispers of dissent in the ruling party. Turkish democracy may not have always run smoothly in the past 70 years but to roll back now, at a moment when investors are recoiling, could prove a disaster.

Image: David Berkowitz

Potential blockade

Some might question the need for more cars in Southeast Asia, given that the roads of many of its bulging capitals are already traffic-clogged. But growing wealth in this optimistic corner of the world is feeding the automobile market, as seen at this week’s Singapore Motorshow. With premium compact SUVs such as the new Audi Q2 and Toyota’s C-HR on show until Sunday, there is plenty to absorb. Yet Singapore is missing a trick by simply replicating larger motor shows; if it put more emphasis on innovation the city-state could have a unique proposition. Not only are Singapore’s transport-infrastructure policies exemplary thanks to an extensive public-transport network and a high automobile tax to ease congestion, the city’s also a pioneer in the field of driverless vehicles: the first autonomous taxi fleet was launched here last year. It will also be rolling out an electric car-sharing scheme this year. It’s this progress that Singapore should be showcasing.

Image: Filippo Bamberghi

Downhill slope

One of the biggest highlights of the 91st edition of Pitti Uomo – which ends today – was the launch of the first Z Zegna collection by Alessandro Sartori. In an unprecedented move by the Italian brand, the recently appointed creative director has been charged with overseeing all Zegna brands. For his debut collection Sartori tapped into the world of Alpine skiing, which has been significant for the Zegna family for the past 60 years. “For all their lives the Zegnas invested in side projects not related to fashion, such as in the valleys of Piedmont where they created a ski resort called Bielmonte,” says Sartori. His designs – made of hi-tech fabrics such as Technomerino – are inspired by old-school Italian skiwear and can be worn in the city as well as on the slopes. To mark the occasion a slalom competition will be held in Bielmonte on 20 January but before waxing his skis, Sartori has another challenge to meet: his first Ermenegildo Zegna catwalk show in Milan today.

Image: Rex Features

Great American art

The 2017 LA Art Show opened this week with its most diverse global line-up to date. Upon the fair’s inception in 1995, producer Kim Martindale’s goal was to bring the international art world to Los Angeles. But as the city’s art scene evolved so did the nature of the show: homegrown talent has become a big draw. In an effort to project the city’s cultural clout, this year’s edition will debut on-site exhibitions and performances curated by eight southern Californian art institutions, including the Broad and the Getty. In addition, more than 90 galleries from 18 countries – from Paris-based K+Y Gallery to Tokyo’s Niche Gallery – will be present. One of today’s high points will be “A Conversation on Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA”, a panel exploring Latino and Latin American art in dialogue with Los Angeles.

From Monocle 24

Image: http://monocle.com/radio/shows/the-urbanist/274/rios-new-mayor/

Rio’s new mayor

Just hours after the annual fireworks spectacle on Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro swore in Marcelo Crivella as its new mayor. Monocle correspondent Sheena Rossiter brings us up to speed on what the future holds.

From Monocle Films

2016 Venice Biennale – Reporting from the Front

In the first of two film reports from the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale we talk to Chilean architect – and last year’s curator – Alejandro Aravena about his chosen theme ‘Reporting from the Front’ and his hopes for stimulating the debate on improving quality of life in the built environment.

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