The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 4 February 2017

Cabin in the city

To celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence, Helsinki-based designer Linda Bergroth has transformed the café of the Finnish Institute on Paris’s left bank into a pop-up guesthouse. Koti (Finnish for ‘home’) encompasses six spruce timber cabins, which give guests a flavour of Finish hospitality in the middle of the French capital. The huts, which can be rented through Airbnb, are furnished with Scandinavian-style furniture and accessories by Finnish brands that include Nikari, Mattila & Merz and Lapuan Kankurit. “My inspiration for the cottages was the Finnish Aitta, a traditional windowless wooden cottage often co-owned by many generations,” says Bergroth. Open until May, Koti is part of Mobile Home 2017, an international venture that explores the many meanings of home through architecture, art, science and society. As part of the project Koti will host a series of events, concerts and film screenings, including Tuesday’s Hospitality Beyond Home talk, in which the head of Airbnb France Emmanuel Marill, director of the Institut Finlandais Meena Kaunisto and conductor Jószef Hárs will discuss hospitality in its various forms.

Image: China Xinhua News

Superior cycling

Officials at the city of Xiamen in southeast China recently unveiled the world’s longest aerial cycleway. The 7.6km-long bright-green highway, which runs in greater part underneath the city’s transit bus line for cover and is illuminated by 30,000 lights, has beaten the likes of Copenhagen’s Cycle Snake and Eindhoven’s Hovenring in magnitude – an honour that China is sure to celebrate when the lane opens up in the coming months. To avoid Xiamen’s 3.5 million population descending on the cycleway en masse, the structure has been fitted with sensors that notify dedicated control centres if capacity exceeds 80 per cent, at which point further access can be blocked. And residents who don’t own a bike needn’t worry: the project offers about 355 rentals, much like London’s Santander Cycles.

Sustainability in Stockholm

Flocks of Canada Goose jackets will descend on Stockholm this week for the chilly Swedish capital’s annual furniture fair. You’ll already know that the Nordics do simplicity better than most but this year’s fair will tackle a complex issue: sustainability. About 40,000 visitors will visit the city (10,000, we’re told, will be from abroad) to take the temperature of business in the Nordics, measured through chairs, tables, pendant lights and handshakes. Stockholm-based Hem may have been snapped up by Swiss firm Vitra last year but it’s staking a claim as a place to be seen with a new showroom (pictured) and five-piece range, including Staffan Holm’s Udon chair and Karoline Fesser’s All Wood stool. Artek (also in the Vitra stable) will launch goodies from Norwegian Daniel Rybakken, while Örnsbergsauktionen will offer collectors a peek at – and chance to purchase – the works of 30 Swedish luminaries. Sustainability may be the stated aim but the design press – Monocle included – will be searching for products with life, longevity and the spark that keeps the design fires burning bright in frosty Stockholm.

Image: William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest

Artistic pleasures

London’s William Morris Gallery was founded by Morris’s apprentice and disciple Frank Brangwyn, whose work at the Walthamstow venue has naturally played second fiddle to that of the maestro. But no longer – and for good reason. A new show opening today will showcase Brangwyn’s love of Japan and Japanese artistic motifs. The printmaker Yoshijiro Urushibara was Brangwyn’s touchstone and became his friend: Sheer Pleasure – Frank Brangwyn and the Art of Japan celebrates much of his work. Woodblock prints, ceramics and paintings jostle for attention – each with a trademark strength of purpose and delicacy of execution that, in fact, informed much of the nature-inspired Arts and Crafts movement for which Morris and Brangwyn are known.

From Monocle 24

‘Toni Erdmann’ and ‘Gaslight’

New Republic magazine’s Tim Grierson discusses the politically charged finale of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Plus: how clever marketing made some people think The Blair Witch Project was real, the new German comedy Toni Erdmann and a look at the 1944 film that coined the term “gaslighting”.

From Monocle Films

Art is therapy

Art is about more than just nice paintings – it can be a tool for understanding the many brushstrokes of life. So says philosopher Alain de Botton, who’s co-curating a new exhibition in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam called Art is Therapy. Monocle Culture editor Robert Bound met De Botton in the Rijksmuseum to learn more about his artistic treatment.

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