The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 16 September 2017

Art

Image: Shutterstock

A sell-out city?

As a private investor buys one of Berlin’s biggest art compounds, is the city in danger of losing its value?

Berlin has long had a reputation as a haven for nurturing emerging artists. But this year’s Berlin Art Week, which wraps up on Sunday, has been dampened by a recent announcement that one of the city’s largest artist studio complexes, Uferhallen, has been sold to a private investor. Enraging the artistic community, the sale has reopened the debate about the march of gentrification in the German capital. There is a silver lining however: as part of Art Week, 20 different outstanding artistic project spaces will be given a €30,000 grant by the Berlin Senate in a bid to prevent further closures. Whether this is more than simply a drop in the ocean in the face of widespread gentrification remains up for discussion.

Urbanism

Image: Alamy

Great Danes

Heavy investment has helped a city blossom – although not everyone is happy with its formal approach.

The Danish city of Aarhus has become the poster child for urbanists, planners and architects who are passionate about making liveable cities. It’s because this city – which also happens to be European Capital of Culture – has invested heavily in removing roads and replacing them with bike lanes, retrofitting failing public housing and pushing for more parks and boardwalks. It’s been an impressive transformation. The city architect is a Brit, Stephen Willacy, and this weekend he is playing host to visitors from the UK-based Academy of Urbanism (a group uniting planners, architects and academics). At a welcome talk he lifted the lid on how the city had altered its approach to city-making. “I ask developers, ‘what life do you imagine happening around this building?’ and ‘what will your project do for the city?’” But while Aarhus may seem to have the future sorted, some are pushing for more informal, unplanned areas and less of a city-hall vision. At a visit to the Institut for (X), a space where liked-minded people took over some land and started building a start-up hub (think yurts to wooden huts), the aim was to find more grassroots solutions – or, as one person said, modernism could go F-off.

Design

New tricks

Two furniture designers have found another outlet for their creative talent – fashion.

The distinction between fashion and furniture design blurred a little this week with the launch of a new collection of clothes by furniture designers Jasper Morrison and Jamie Hayon. Former Phaidon publisher Richard Schlagman’s brand Jijibaba challenged the two designers to create 38 items of clothing that debuted at London’s Dover Street Market yesterday (and will be displayed in Somerset House next week at London Design Festival). The result is a spirited and comely collection, including dapper blazers, colourful jumpers and patterned shawls. “There are differences [between industrial design and fashion] for sure, but it’s not completely new territory,” says Morrison, who has designed shoes, glasses and bags in the past. “People have relaxed and bit,” he says when asked about designers moving between trousers and tables or shirts and shelving. Broadly he seems to think that good design speaks for itself – and we’re inclined to agree.

Architecture

Image: Alamy

Different kind of beast

London Zoo’s listed aviary is set to get a revamp – and some new residents.

Plans by British architect Norman Foster to revamp London Zoo’s iconic listed Snowdon Aviary for £7.1m (€8m) have been given the green light. Opened to the public more than 50 years ago it was the second-largest aviary in the world and now it’s about to become home to another species: the colobus monkey. The characteristic stainless steel netting will remain but the plans include three new timber structures for the monkey house and two elevated lattice monkey highways made out of laminated bamboo so we can get close to the furry primates. Renovating historical structures that often have sentimental value for their communities can be a tricky business in the UK, where two per cent of building stock is listed. But we think Foster’s designs add his signature while preserving the legacy of the old structure, designed by Cedric Price.

From Monocle 24

Image: Rodrigo Cardoso

The best of Lisbon

The Menu

We’re in the Portuguese capital to meet some of the makers who have given the country’s culinary reputation a global boost.

From Monocle Films

Lisbon: The Monocle Travel Guide

Lisbon may be one of Europe’s oldest cities but it’s far from staid, with massive murals, azulejo-covered townhouses and cutting-edge museums. Allow us to guide you through this eminently liveable (did we mention there are sandy beaches?) and fast-changing city. Published by Gestalten, The Monocle Travel Guide to Lisbon is available now at The Monocle Shop.

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