The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 21 October 2017

Fashion

Image: Nicolas Mathéus

Always in style

It’s not known for its fashion scene yet but one designer’s love of Marrakech has left a legacy that will delight residents and tourists alike.

Marrakech may not be fêted as an international capital of fashion but that hasn’t stopped the Moroccan city from building a new museum dedicated to French designer Yves Saint Laurent, which opened this week. The late designer fell in love with the city when he first visited in 1966 and ended up buying a house there. We’re fans of the 4,000 sq m brick-and-concrete construction designed by French architecture firm Studio KO, which features a permanent collection alongside a library and restaurant. One more reason to go to Morocco, if you needed one; failing that, you can always head to the Paris YSL sister museum that opened a few weeks ago.

Conservation

Image: Stegano Perego

International rescue

The World Monuments Fund has identified a brutalist masterpiece in Japan and a Chilean train line as among its most at-risk sites.

Since 1965 the World Monuments Fund has been coming to the rescue of endangered heritage sites around the world, from the cathedral of Toledo in Spain after the death of General Franco to a score of historic structures threatened by floods in Venice. This week the fund published its 2018 list of the planet’s 25 most at-risk structures, the preservation of which it plans to push through by encouraging investment from private and public entities. On the list are the Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium in Takamatsu, Japan – a brutalist masterpiece built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics – and the fin-de-siècle Ramal Talca-Constitución railway line in Chile, renowned following its appearance in Paul Theroux’s travel ballad The Old Patagonian Express.

Politics

Image: Alamy

Silver-screen Silvio

Signor Berlusconi is coming to a cinema near you soon – and he’s making the most of it.

That Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino is planning a movie on Silvio Berlusconi isn’t news to Italy’s former PM. The film, called Loro (Them) has been in the works for months; Berlusconi himself has offered some of his own residences to the production team to shoot in. But as the campaign heats up before next year's general elections, Berlusconi has picked this as the time to voice concerns over the film’s potentially negative effects on the race. Self-victimisation has always been one of the most potent weapons in his arsenal and, over the course of his many trials and controversies, it has kept him afloat in the opinion of many Italians. Twelve films have already been made about him – and most are downright critical.

Hospitality

Image: Kenneth Tsang

Small victory

Boutique hotels in Hong Kong? It’s true, though it doesn’t mean that the prevailing trend for grander giants has checked out.

Hong Kong likes luxury hotels on a grand scale but there is some big news at the smaller end of the hospitality scale. The Fleming in Wan Chai officially reopens tomorrow after a 16-month renovation that has seen every detail of the 66-room hotel meticulously designed by A Work of Substance. It’s the latest opening in a series of small design-led hotels with fewer than 100 beds, following Little Tai Hang early this year and Tuve in 2015. Fans of boutique hotels will be hoping this trickle turns into a trend but as tourism numbers bounce back, the city’s major hoteliers are back to doing what they do best. The 546-room Kerry Hotel, designed by Andre Fu, opened earlier this year, while The Murray is nearing completion. Foster + Partners are overseeing this hotly anticipated conversion of a 1960s modernist office tower in the centre of town, which will open early next year as a 336-room Niccolo hotel.

From Monocle 24

*The Palestinian Table*

The Menu

Author Reem Kassis on the dishes that have passed from generation to generation in her family.

From Monocle Films

Vital signs

From traditional calligraphy to rare gold-leaf techniques, hand-worked lettering is back in demand. Monocle Films meets three sign painters whose eye-catching signs lend character to cities – and help businesses stand out.

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