The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 17 January 2017

Image: Stevo Vasiljevic/Reuters

Iceland reception?

While reactions to reports that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are planning an imminent meeting have ranged from concerned to distressed, there is one country that is poised to benefit from such a summit – and we’re not talking about Russia. According to news reports, the upcoming get-together would most likely take place in Iceland’s capital city, where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the Reykjavík Summit in 1986; an event which effectively kick-started the end of the Cold War. That meeting took place at Hofdi House, which was formerly the French consulate and the British embassy before it played host. More than 30 years later, could the world’s eyes once again turn to Iceland during a pivotal meeting? While Trump’s people have formerly denied that plans are afoot, Iceland’s foreign minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson told local media that his country would view a meeting on their soil “positively”.

Image: Constantin Meyer

City showcase

The annual international furniture fair IMM launched in Köln yesterday. And just as international brands, buyers and industry insiders are congregating in the German city by the Rhine River, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (Makk) is opening the first comprehensive solo exhibition of one of Germany’s most important designers. Full House: Design by Stefan Diez, which begins today, features an in-depth overview of his Munich-based studio’s creations from the past 15 years in a city that has shaped his career. “Köln has played a big role in my life in many ways,” says Diez, who has collaborated with brands such as Thonet and Hay. “Life as a whole serves as an inspiration for me. Observations, travels; I’m always collecting experiential fragments that influence my products.” The Makk exhibition brings Diez’s world to life.

Image: Sean Marc Lee

Clear for takedown?

Does Taipei need two international airports? This is the question facing Taiwan's transportation ministry as it considers whether to shut Songshan Airport. Of the capital’s two airports, Songshan is the smaller but it's also the more convenient, mere minutes from the city centre. Taipei’s larger airport, Taoyuan, is nearly an hour's drive away but it handles more air traffic: almost three times the number of flights per hour. ​While​​ getting to downtown Taipei from Songshan is ​a breeze, its proximity also has some drawbacks. The 2015 crash of a passenger plane – which cartwheeled over a highway, clipped a taxi and dropped into the Keelung River, killing 43 of 58 passengers – fanned concerns about large aircraft flying so close to a dense city of 2.7 million residents. ​If ​Songshan​ is deemed redundant it would likely be closed around the scheduled completion of a third runway at Taoyuan in 2025.

Image: Courtesy of Jill Sander

Not walking the walk

There’s been no shortage of press coverage about the depleted show line-up at this edition of Milan Fashion Week Men’s; many brands chose to eschew an elaborate catwalk production this season for practical reasons. “It is a good thing to have a show because of the exposure: pieces from the runway sell much better due to all the attention,” says Herbert Hofmann, head buyer for Berlin’s menswear store Voo. “But it’s a big investment and the timing was bad this season,” he adds, noting that Paris starts one day earlier than usual and has eaten into Milan's schedule. But talking to brands off the record, it was also clear that Milan is still hurting from the wobbling Chinese market, the loss of sanctions-hit Russian shoppers and Europeans spooked by everything from Brexit to populist politics. Many houses are rethinking their businesses in fundamental ways and a costly show is perhaps too much of a burden for some. Though the rationale makes sense, it is a shame that outstanding collections such as Jil Sander’s autumn/winter 2017 line won't be seen on a runway.

From Monocle 24

Image: Jonathan Larsen/Alamy

Harry de Quetteville

Former editor of the obituary page at 'The Telegraph', Harry de Quetteville tells us how you go about writing an obituary. Some key concerns: planning ahead, choosing who deserves to grace the page and what you should write about.

From Monocle Films

Retail special: tasty tipples

Monocle Films visits makers of sherry, gin and whiskey to discover their recipes for success. The memorable flavours and sharp designs of their refined drinks are a perfect tonic for the year ahead

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