The Monocle Minute

In association with One Night x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 8 April 2017

Design

Image: Luigi Fiano

Back to the future

Design classics at Salone del Mobile are proving that to go forward sometimes we must look back.

Salone del Mobile may be where the latest designs make their debuts but work by long-deceased designers can still make the headlines. Italian furniture-makers Molteni & C and Cassina have both been entrusted with Gio Ponti’s back catalogue – and with the task of keeping it relevant. In a week where bright colours and tactile velvet have appeared across many of the big players’ stands, Gio Ponti’s curvaceous and lively designs feel very current and serve as a reminder of where the inspiration for many of the newcomers’ experiments comes from. At Molteni & C, the D.156.3 armchair is this year’s headline act, especially in its eye-catching orange-and-black lacquered version. Meanwhile, Cassina is bringing back the elegant lightweight Leggera chair in a wealth of vivacious hues, proving that sometimes being daring can mean dipping back into the past.

Publishing

Image: Rich Stapleton

Flattering portrait

A new book from the team behind Cereal magazine paints the British Isles in a tender light.

Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton, the talented souls behind Bath-based travel magazine Cereal, have honed their sights on the UK for their latest publishing project. These Islands: A Portrait of the British Isles is a characteristically beautiful product from the stable, which has turned out a handsome biannual magazine since 2012. Think minimalist layouts and thoughtful writing (and yes, an inevitable essay on the UK’s obsession with its inclement weather). The book also offers portraits of 13 destinations, from Snowdonia to Glen Coe, the Lake District to London, and features works by artist Spencer Fung, as well as just-so snaps by shutterbugs Finn Beales, Jonathan Gregson, Kate Holstein and Stapleton himself. At a time when the term “Britishness” has been hijacked by populism to imply thoughtless jingoism, it’s heartening to see a Seoul-born editor – who came to the UK via Vancouver, Boston and New York – capture the nation’s charms so astutely. The book isn’t an argument about Britishness, it’s a testament to it.

Art

Image: Getty Images

Food for thought

Kathmandu shows that its first triennial is no country cookie-cutter art show.

It’s not too late to experience Kathmandu’s first triennial but it is too late to take a bite of Song Dong’s​ edible installation “Mandala City for Eating”. The Chinese artist’s cityscape was constructed from biscuits and depicted Kathmandu. But as visitors helped themselves to the artistic buffet it began to resemble Durbar Square following Nepal’s 2015 earthquakes. By the end nothing was left. This was a chilling installation designed to remind visitors of the disaster and its victims, to whom this triennial is dedicated. For the event curator Philippe Van Cauteren of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent selected 70 artists from 25 nations – including Mexico-based Francis Alÿs and local artist Karan Shrestha – to create and showcase works of art throughout the city. Van Cauteren asked artists to bring only what would fit in their pockets, sensitive to the country’s fragile economy and infrastructure.

Culture

Radio times

Emporio Armani begins broadcasting on all frequencies – including Salone del Mobile’s.

It wasn’t just furniture that was launched at this year’s Salone del Mobile – Italian fashion house Emporio Armani took the opportunity to introduce the world to its new radio station: Automat Radio. The online station will be broadcast from inside a truck, which is set to travel around Italy and Europe throughout the summer to meet artists, singers and designers. After an entertaining start in the streets of Milan last Wednesday the truck will be attending the summer’s best Italian events before travelling to European spots that include Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Ibiza. The truck will finally roll to a stop in September at London Fashion Week.

From Monocle 24

‘I Am Not Your Negro’

The Cinema Show

Director Raoul Peck draws upon the original text of James Baldwin to create the sensational Oscar-nominated documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’. In this special extended interview, Ben Rylan discusses the film with Peck while examining Baldwin’s extraordinary words.

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