The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 2 September 2017

Media

Recipe for success

A cookbook author’s latest project is less about fads and more about good old-fashioned comfort food.

Food is a source of endless fascination for many and for Aussie-born cookery writer Hetty McKinnon it was also a way of forging links with her Chinese heritage. After stints in London and Sydney, and a successful self-published cookbook that was latterly nabbed by a large publisher, McKinnon moved to New York in 2015 with an appetite for another food-focused print venture which launches this month: Peddler magazine. “When we think about the food that means the most to us, it’s not the poke bowl from that hip Japanese restaurant we think about,” says McKinnon. “It’s a home-style dish your mum or dad or grandpa or aunt made.” And it’s this fad-eschewing wisdom that bubbles through the debut issue. Expect recipes (vegetarian without being earnest or meagre), spare design, subtlety and the right amount of sentimentality. It’s a thoughtful and personal coda to the glut of culinary publishing about famous chefs and faddy restaurant openings.

Retail

Charity begins at… Selfridges?

While browsing the iconic store’s luxury brands, you might stumble upon an unexpected find: a thrift shop.

We’re sure Selfridges has hosted a “shop-in-shop” before. You know: luxury luggage, biodynamic confectionery, sleek technology. In fact, what is a department store, but 100 shops-in-shop? Yesterday the artist and filmmaker Miranda July opened the most pleasant and warmest-hearted of these ventures: a fully functioning and faithfully reproduced charity shop, next to the carefully controlled brand-name concessions on the third floor of the Oxford Street emporium. The items on sale have been donated by and will aid four interfaith charities and are a classic mix of trash and treasure: Etam dresses, holiday paperbacks and dust-gathering statuettes. July’s creation is both an installation work and a working shop; a place of good humour and suppressed smiles. “What is this?” ask the Emirati girls on shopping sprees and they don’t just mean the executive putting set. We bought the dated postcode-comedy novel Notting Hell by Rachel Johnson and a small print of a spider-plant. July’s charity shop is open until 22 October.

Culture

Design of the times

Three capital cities are celebrating their buoyant creative scenes.

This month, the European cities of Paris, London and Helsinki will all be transformed into design destinations across a number of industry and public events. First stop on the tour is Paris Design Week, beginning this coming Friday. It’s an event grown out of the city’s Maison & Objet furniture fair, meant to encourage the city’s design ateliers and architects to engage with a broader audience. Look out for “Now! Le Off”, an exhibition promoting emerging French creative talent. Running parallel is Helsinki Design Week, where a uniquely Finnish brand of Nordic design is exposed. Then there’s our top pick, London Design Festival, beginning on 16 September, which takes advantage of the city’s multiple design districts to celebrate a resilient creative scene. Expect to find surprising pop-up events in Shoreditch, such as Universal Design Studio’s On Repeat pavilion where people can drop in and engage in craft workshops or simply admire the fine timber structure.

Public art

Image: Alamy

Light show

Acclaimed Montreal artist will light up a Toronto landmark.

For three nights from this evening, the facades of a clutch of skyscrapers that make up the Toronto-Dominion Centre will light up with the words “Less Is More Or”. This art installation – created by the strategic opening and closing of blinds across the buildings’ top floors – is the brainchild of Montreal-based artist Aude Moreau, who conceived of it as a tribute to Mies van der Rohe, the architect behind the Toronto complex (pictured). Van der Rohe is famously known to have said “less is more”, an ideal that has defined and dominated modernist design. The cheeky “or” included in Moreau’s installation is her way of asking people to question that ideal and consider other viewpoints.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

Wim Wenders and virtual reality

Action!

Is virtual reality really cinema? The emerging medium has its detractors but legendary German film-maker Wim Wenders is not one of them. He explains why he has high hopes for a virtual cinematic future.

From Monocle Films

Sound of Prague

The Czech National Symphony Orchestra has struck an international chord, with its redoubtable musicianship attracting big-name pop and music-score clients from Ennio Morricone to Sting.

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