Wednesday 12 July 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 12/7/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Alamy


Winning mindset

Tuning in to the Universiade, the students-only version of the Olympics, may not be on everyone’s summer to-do list – but try telling that to host city Taipei. Taiwan’s political situation precludes it from hosting most international events so the island’s capital is getting understandably pumped up for these games. With the event due to get underway in little over a month, the city has decked out its subway carriages with sporting themes, from swimming-pool lanes to an athletics track and a football pitch. China, however, doesn’t share the same sporting spirit: It is expected to boycott the team events due to a planned speech at the opening ceremony by the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. Individual Chinese athletes are reportedly being allowed to compete but as next week’s deadline for registration looms it will be a brave competitor who puts his or her hand up.

Image: Alamy


Gardens grow

Toronto's public-park network continues to grow. Grange Park, nestled in an historic corner of the city’s downtown, reopened this week after a year-long regeneration project. The rejuvenation of the space is novel in that park authorities collaborated with the nearby Art Gallery of Ontario, one of the city’s most prominent art institutions, to transform the space into an outdoor sculpture gallery; it is also being hailed as a model for community involvement when it comes to park development. Toronto has some 1,500 green spaces as part of its park network and has put emphasis on renovating public space over the past decade. Opening new parks is also proving to be a smart counterweight to the construction boom currently underway across the city.

Image: Getty Images


American army knife

Swiss company Victorinox has been tooling-up the country’s armed forces with its iconic pocket knives since the end of the 19th century. But for the first time in the company’s 133-year history, the Swiss army knife is to become part of the issuable kit for the US army’s soldiers. It’s a rare deal for a non-US manufacturer and financially hefty; breaking into the US defence market has also been a boon for the Swiss town of Ibach, where the Victorinox factory resides. While the commissioned version does not differ much from that used by the Swiss, German or Singaporean armies, it does feature a bold “US” imprint and a browner shade to match the palette of the forces.

Image: Getty Images


Job offer withdrawn

While his counterpart in France looks to oil the wheels of business by providing easier access for entrepreneurs, president Donald Trump is hitting the brakes; he’s halted a new visa designed to give foreign start-ups the chance to launch in the US. This piece of legacy policy from the Obama administration, similar to those being implemented in many western nations in order to lure the ambitious, was due to officially come into practice next week. But it has been delayed until March 2018, with many expecting the president to kill it outright. While the stalled programme is a setback for the US it could be a boon for its northern neighbour: Canada has its own start-up visa stamp for entrepreneurs.

Home truths

Never mind the tight squeeze, London’s Isokon building offers a lesson in clever housing that today’s architects and developers should heed; we preview a new exhibition celebrating its most famous resident, Walter Gropius. Plus: how Denmark’s Ole Lynggaard brings a shine to jewellery design and a view from Ljubljana’s Biennial of Design.


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