The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 18 March 2017

Media

Image: Getty Images

Editor in grief

The London Evening Standard appoints George Osborne as its new editor. But is he qualified?

The London Evening Standard has long felt like a newspaper that doesn’t understand its readers. It has consistently backed Conservative candidates for mayor in a city that is predominantly left and liberal, while it often seems more interested in posh west London celebrities than news that affects ordinary locals. All of which makes the appointment of former UK chancellor George Osborne as its new editor something of a missed opportunity. But Osborne’s defenders argue that, though controversial, his appointment makes sense. He was in favour of the UK remaining in the European Union and he is pro-immigration – two views that chime with the majority of his new readers. He is also likely to be a thorn in the side of Theresa May, who unceremoniously sacked him after she became prime minister. And given the parlous state of British newspapers, at least Osborne’s appointment provides his new employer with some much-needed publicity.

Infrastructure

Image: Reuters

Cinema constructs

Hong Kong’s government bids to boost box-office numbers by building more cinemas.

Commercial-property developers in Hong Kong are being required to allocate space for cinemas in new properties as the government looks to increase box-office numbers in what was once the world’s third-largest film industry. The number of cinemas in the city – one of the world’s most expensive property markets – has fallen by 60 per cent since 1993 when second-wave directors such as Wong Kar-wai were at their peak. Although it will take more than a few additional screens to revive a once powerful cultural export, there are encouraging signs that Hong Kong can still make a splash overseas: Wong’s contemporary, Stephen Chow, broke into Forbes’ list of the top 10 grossing Hollywood directors after his comic fantasy The Mermaid became China’s biggest box-office hit of all time last year.

Design

Image: Novo Typo

Technicolour dream font

Dutch graphic designer Mark van Wageningen launches a colourful riposte to monochrome typography.

Do type designers think in black and white? And if not, why are most fonts born in a monochrome uniformity? For graphic designer Mark van Wageningen, the time has come to bring colour to the type foundry. His Novo Typo Color Book is a vivid manifesto for liveliness in typography and against conformity in font choices. “Minimalism has become conservative,” he says. “All of these sans serif fonts – Helvetica, the neutral Swiss approach – it’s just not relevant anymore.” Just released by Dutch publisher De Buitenkant, the book features an introduction by eminent Dutch graphic designer Gerard Unger and is being printed in both offset and letterpress in a limited run of 750 copies. And for the sceptics out there worried about legibility or an awkward rainbow effect, Van Wageningen has this to say: “People just need to get used to it. Typographers should develop faster than readers – not the other way round.”

Art

Andorran artshow

Spanish art collector Carmen Cervera opens a world-class museum on a World Heritage site in Andorra.

Prominent art collections tend not to stray far from capital cities. That’s why news of Spanish collector Carmen Cervera, the Baroness Thyssen, opening a museum in the tiny principality of Andorra came as such a surprise. Museo Thyssen opened its doors in the hilly town of Escaldes-Engordany this week, breathing new life into the long-neglected former Hotel Valira. The World Heritage site was once a popular spa resort before falling into disuse in the 1980s; the museum is its first permanent new resident. Museo Thyssen will showcase world-class international art and promises to be a big tourist draw for Europe’s sixth-smallest nation, best known at present for its ski resorts. The first exhibition, titled Scenarios, will feature a small selection (relative to the town’s size) of paintings by the likes of Matisse, Monet and Gauguin. It’s also a chance for the Cervera family to reconnect with their Andorran roots.

From Monocle 24

A fright at the flicks with Tim Robey

The Arts Review

Ben Rylan is joined in the studio by ‘The Telegraph’ film critic Tim Robey to discuss two of this week’s releases, ‘Get Out’ and ‘Personal Shopper’.

From Monocle Films

Animal architecture

Finding a compromise between an animal’s wellbeing, a farm’s efficiency and local architecture traditions is a fine art and often has to be done with limited resources. For Monocle’s 10-year anniversary issue we pulled on our wellies and went in search of the animal architects who are taking the bull by the horns.

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