The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 14 January 2017

Image: Getty Images

Ominous forecast

Milano Moda Uomo’s schedule kicked into gear yesterday but while packed with presentations and shows, the line-up is diluted by the absence of many big players – and buyers are taking note. Jil Sander and Brioni won’t be presenting this season, while Gucci and Bottega Veneta have skipped their usual slots to show men’s and womenswear combined in February. And under Raf Simons’ stewardship, Calvin Klein will be headlining at New York fashion week instead. “Because several of the big brands have left the calendar we are staying a day shorter so we can get to Paris,” says Eric Jennings, menswear fashion director at department store Saks Fifth Avenue. “There was a time not too long ago when I was the only one going to Paris Men’s Fashion Week; now that’s where the bulk of our buyers’ time is spent.” The long-awaited debuts by Marni’s Francesco Risso and Salvatore Ferragamo’s Guillaume Meilland this weekend will act as compensation but it’s fair to say that Milan’s skies are looking cloudy this autumn/winter season.

Rejuvenating read

Sustainability is an overused word in architecture but as building techniques improve and waste is considered more carefully, it’s important to remember that we needn’t build everything from scratch. After all, not everyone feels at home in glass-fronted blocks or haughty new high-rises; some of us still hanker after a stone-built wall, timber beam or paint-flecked brick. The solution? Renovation. Enter a pretty new flick-through from New York imprint Abrams. The Old New House charts the fates of 18 once-rustic residences that masterfully muddle the charms of old and new. With case studies in the US, UK and Puerto Rico, author Marc Kristal’s gaze flits between castle, cabin and cottage in an artful run-through with just the right amount of wonkish adornment (think floor-plans and architect’s sketches between lush interior and exterior photographs). A book that deftly stresses the best-of-both-worlds approach that underlies a tasteful renovation.

Image: Alamy

New lease of life

Madrid’s fascist-era Edificio España will finally be put to good use after 11 years of abandonment. The neo-baroque office-and-apartment building was once the tallest in Spain (at 117 metres) and is an iconic if controversial symbol of the Spanish capital, having been built under the auspices of then dictator Francisco Franco in 1953. Native hotel firm Riu and conglomerate Grupo Baraka, who purchased the building from China’s Wanda Group last year, confirmed plans this week to transform the structure into a 700-room hotel, while preserving the historic façade. The purchase and future transformation echoes fashion brand Fendi’s move into the Mussolini-era Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and shows that cities have learned to embrace formerly shunned architectural landmarks of bygone eras.

Image: 2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy David Zwirner

Bright ideas

If January counts as the morning of the year then David Zwirner’s new show of bright, bold yellow paintings by abstract maestro Josef Albers is a zinging shot of freshly squeezed juice. It calls itself Sunny Side Up and that’s the ticket: both floors of Zwirner’s London gallery are given over to a lean, clean showcase of Albers’ geometric sunrises that call to mind squinted-at cathedral interiors, quadrilateral fry-ups and plan views of hectares of arable gold. The show’s been staged with the help of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the director of which is the arch-communicator and cerebral raconteur Nicholas Fox Weber. If you get to the gallery by 11.00 this morning he’ll show you around and tell you that Albers’ father was a house painter and carpenter who taught the young Josef to start in the middle of a canvas and work his way to the edge to paint out the drips and avoid cuff-scuff. “Glow”, one of the show’s standout works, was put on a US postage stamp. An artwork with a print run of 170 million would have made Albers very sunny indeed.

From Monocle 24

Film: Kathlene Fox-Davies

We round up the art scene in Washington with a trip to Hemphill Fine Arts, The National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

From Monocle Films

Sapporo: Into the swim of things

With its drip-filter coffee, myriad craft shops and quality fishing scene, Hokkaido’s capital reels you in with a laidback lifestyle and a strong stroke of creativity.

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