Hamburg has a new landmark: the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which opened by the Elbe River in January. Designed by Herzog & De Meuron, the architectural masterpiece took more than a decade to build and cost €789m, drawing its fair share of criticism. Yet the architecture firm’s creation has subdued the critics and now an exhibition dedicated to the cultural destination entitled Elbphilharmonie Revisited has opened in the city’s Deichtorhallen. Until 1 May the contemporary-art gallery will showcase the work of 12 artists inspired by the port city’s new building, including an installation by Peter Buggenhout that references the Tower of Babel and a photography series by Candida Höfer. New York-based artist Liam Gillick let a grand piano play Igor Stravinsky’s "Petrushka" as flakes fall to the ground like ashes in Factories In The Snow (anywhere, anywhere out of the world). His installation alludes to the fact that the Elbphilharmonie, as stunning as it may be, is ultimately a hollow shell – but fill it with music and it will transport you to another world.
Stockholm is rightly lauded for its good looks and design clout but as its restaurant scene scales new heights, hotel options remain staid – with a few exceptions, such as the peerless Ett Hem. But there’s a new land-grab in progress in the Swedish capital. The Nobis group’s eponymous hotel on Norrmalmstorg and its downtown sister premises Miss Clara are excellent options and the group has also upped its game with the handsome Haymarket hotel on Hötorget square. The latter has made itself at home in a former department store and includes two highly recommended restaurants: Paul (named for the man who founded the department store in 1882) and Greta's (after Greta Garbo, who once worked as a hat model in the shop). The opening of the spanking new At Six and Hobo hotels on once glum Brunkebergstorg will only spur competition in the fast-improving Stockholm hospitality scene.
Moscow’s city council is breathing new life into its Soviet-era cinemas. Plans are underway to reconstruct two historic venues from the 1960s: Truth and Tajikistan. Both closed their doors in the 1990s and were unique examples of post-constructivist architecture. While Truth suffered from a fire that thankfully left its exterior intact, Tajikistan was torn down in 2015 and will need to be reconstructed from old photographs. The aim is to turn the theatres into cultural destinations, complete with libraries, green spaces and shopping arcades. Although an opening date has yet to be set, the news has been met with enthusiasm. “It was like going to the theatre,” says Stanislav Simonov, who paid the cinemas many a visit in their heyday. “There was a restaurant, bar and orchestra.” It’s about time these two landmarks were returned to their former grandeur.
If you’re in Thailand this weekend and up for a strong dose of ‘hippiness’ you might want to stop by Wonderfruit festival. Now in its third installation, the event takes place in Thailand’s backpackers’ capital, Pattaya, a mere two hours from Bangkok. Across four days the tropical festival plays host to musical performances – including acts such as electro duo Simian Mobile Disco – arts, culinary feasts, health and wellness experiences, talks and workshops. This year you’ll find everything from a seven-year-old DJ rocking Rainforest Pavilion to a Cocoon Playground and a Sharing Neighbourhood made of bamboo. The ecologically-conscious among you can rest assured: the festival is carbon neutral. Look out for our insider’s take on this fantastic festival in our April issue.
In a competitive world driven by technological advances some artisan producers are staying resilient and challenging the mass-production industry. Monocle Films visits entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Cape Town and Mallorca who champion the art of craft.