The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 14 October 2017

Art

Passport to paintings

Why not reach a higher cultural plain before you board your plane? Check in at Oslo Airport to check out its new artwork.

Can airports double as cultural – as well as transport – hubs? This week Oslo Airport announced that it will be showcasing works by Norway’s best-known artist, Edvard Munch, in its new international terminal designed by the Nordic Office of Architecture. “Head to Head” will be the first painting to be displayed in the airport's extension as part of a 10-year deal with the Munch Museum, and will be in place just in time for the busy Christmas season. But this is not the first time that an airport has brought art to the mobile masses: Charles de Gaulle in Paris opened a gallery in 2013, while the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has an annex at Schiphol Airport. And why not? With duty-free shopping often a boring identikit affair, artwork with a sense of place should be welcomed.

Pottery

Gaze upon glaze

Ceramics on a small scale is a big hit – and a new book reveals a raft of city-based clay specialists shaping their craft.

First industrialised in the West Midlands by Josiah Wedgwood, the craft of ceramics has found a foothold in the modern city of late. Forget vast kilns and homeware by the pallet-load: today smaller-scale potters are creating careers under railway arches and in overlooked industrial parks. Published by Ludion, Urban Potters: Makers in the City is a new title from design journalist Katie Treggiden that feeds a fetish for the hand-thrown, peeking into the studios of 28 such makers in London, São Paulo, New York, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Sydney. The book is a beautifully illustrated anthology of a fast-growing trend – but it’s also a thoughtful read revealing how the history of ceramics around the world is as varied, imperfect and impactful as many of the pieces produced by these skilled craftspeople.

Architecture

Image: Alamy

Beacon of hope

Why Sardinia’s decision to make its disused lighthouses shine once more with the help of hospitality makeovers is a smart move.

Isolated on rocky outposts across the Italian island of Sardinia, many disused lighthouses have sat empty and abandoned for decades. Now 10 of them – from La Maddalena in the island’s north all the way to Sant’Antioco in the south – are being offered to entrepreneurs capable of regenerating and transforming them into hospitality ventures in standout structures. The hotel Faro Capo Spartivento, in the province of Cagliari, has already managed the transition and proves that visitors take a shine to such unique locations. While the state has sometimes struggled to preserve its architectural heritage, this is an intelligent policy. Add in the State Property Agency’s decision earlier this year to give up 103 publicly owned buildings and you’ve got a praiseworthy way to make sure this inheritance doesn’t go to waste.

Society

Image: Getty Images

Doing their duty

Be prepared, Mr President: the Boy Scouts of America will include female members from next year. Is there a badge for diversity?

Finally: a piece of good news from the US. Yes, there are wildfires burning in northern California and Donald Trump is threatening the existence of the third estate but the Boy Scouts of America has announced that it will allow girls to join for the first time from next year. The Texas-based organisation, founded in 1910, has been making moves towards more diversity since 2013. Back then it announced that it would admit openly gay young people – and previously banned gay scout leaders two years after that. This week’s move is also aimed at bringing in more Asian and Latino members who, the scouts say, prefer to do family activities. With the country’s president banning transgender military recruits in August, maybe this could be a lesson in tolerance.

From Monocle 24

Image: TERENCE CHIN

Donna Hay

The Menu

The Australian cookery favourite on her new book release and why basic skills really do matter.

From Monocle Films

Speciality retail: Verona

This Italian city has a long tradition of typography – and the business still has a story to tell. Letterpress workshop-cum-store Lino’s & Co updates old machines with 3D-printed movable type.

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