The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 17 February 2017

Image: Getty Images

Conventional approach

Cyber security is on everyone’s lips right now, not just politicians wary of upcoming elections being compromised. This week Microsoft president Brad Smith (pictured) called for a digital Geneva Convention, a framework to safeguard civilians – and by extension companies – from state-sponsored cyber attacks. According to his plan the convention would be enforced by an independent organisation of experts from around the world. This proposal comes on the heels of Russia’s alleged hacking in relation to the US presidential elections and just as other democratic nations are questioning the security of their own elections, including the Dutch, who are planning to count ballots in the March parliamentary elections the old-fashioned way: by hand. Let’s just hope that any digital Geneva Convention, as welcome as it is, isn’t as difficult to enforce as the real one.

Image: Getty Images

Until dawn

Melbourne’s streets will light up tomorrow as the fifth edition of White Night kicks off. Over the past five years this multimedia spectacular – which sees projection art showcased on the city’s landmarks and live music and performance offered to visitors – has grown to epic proportions, with at least half a million people expected to turn up on Saturday. It’s one of the more successful iterations of the French Nuit Blanche concept; bringing life to the city until the crack of dawn. It’s perfectly suited to Melbourne, which remains a hub for creative talent in Australia and the festival’s first-time artistic director David Atkins has made an effort to showcase new artists at this year’s event. While nightlife is cut short in rival city Sydney by its archaic lock-out laws, Melbourne is keeping the lights on till dawn.

Image: Flickr

Mother superior

Brazilian comedy Minha Mãe é uma Peça 2 (My Mom is a Character 2) broke records this week to become the nation’s most profitable movie, having garnered R$118m (€36m) thus far. The film sees popular comedian Paulo Gustavo don a wig and curlers to play Dona Hermínia, a kind-hearted but down-on-her-luck TV presenter and mother who has to deal with her children growing up and moving out of the family home. Comedies are a sure-fire hit in Brazil, making up about half of the country’s top 10 films. And even though the South American country is known for exporting its gritty dramas to film festivals around the world, in times of economic gloom laughs are in high demand at the box office.

Paulin in a crowd

Australian skincare brand Aesop has just opened a new oasis in bustling Paris in collaboration with design studio Paulin, Paulin, Paulin. Benjamin Paulin, son of the late French designer Pierre, advised Aesop’s internal architect Jean Philippe Bonnefoi in his selection of decor. “We anticipated a space for Aesop that makes you forget the passing of time and, as such, it required timeless furniture,” says Benjamin. The new Aesop destination accommodates three beauty-treatment rooms and showcases a series of design classics, including Paulin Elysée floor lamps and tables as well as an Osaka sofa by La Cividina. Every detail has been taken care of – and we wouldn’t expect any less of the brand.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Building in the DPRK

The Visiting School’s programme of the Architecture Association has been conducting an annual architecture workshop in Pyongyang for the past few years. We speak to Calvin Chua, the course director, who works alongside local architects, academics and policymakers.

From Monocle Films

Cosy Homes: Die Es

South African architects Gawie and Gwen Fagan designed and built their family home on a dramatic spot between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. Die Es is an ode to vernacular architecture with a difference. To celebrate the publication of The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes, Monocle Films explores the sculpted forms, palpable materiality and harmony with nature that make this eclectic residence stand out.

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