The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 13 November 2017

Urbanism

Image: Getty Images

An ongoing battle

On this day in 2015, Paris came under attack by terrorists. How have cities and their residents adapted in the intervening years?

Two years on from the attacks that killed 130 people across Paris, some issues still feel unresolved. For one, the investigation into the events of that tragic Friday is still ongoing, with 15 suspects indicted or subject to arrest warrants. And in hindsight, the events of 13 November 2015 represent a watershed moment in the way that European cities have experienced and dealt with terrorism in the past few years. Several unsophisticated attacks have since followed, from Nice to Berlin to London, and security forces are still working out how to get to grips with this new breed of terrorism. As the bollards, barriers and bulletproof sheets of glass illustrate, our cities – and they way we live in them – have changed. When and even whether they go back to how they were remains to be seen.

Business

Image: Alamy

On the crest of a wave

What do you do with a navy yard when the influx of boats has dried up? Do as Brooklyn has and set sail on a new adventure (involving breweries, no less).

The Brooklyn Navy Yard development has its most impressive building yet. The former military installation along Brooklyn’s waterfront is now a non-profit industrial park and it launched its hulking Building 77 last week. The huge concrete structure has undergone a renovation and is poised to create 3,000 new jobs; it’s part of a wider plan to end up with 17,000 posts in the yard by 2020. It will also offer a small retail component, which means the previously closed-off area will be open to the public for the first time, reinvigorating the surrounding neighbourhood (the building’s tenants already include bakeries, breweries and metal workshops). Other cities can learn from Brooklyn’s example of how to not only protect industrial spaces but also reinvent them for the 21st century. Watch our report on the Navy Yard’s regeneration here.

Culture

Image: Lit Ma

Painting a positive picture

Hong Kong Art week may be rife with comings and goings but everything is heading in the right direction.

Hong Kong Art Week begins on Wednesday with more than 50 galleries taking part in the 12-day festival. The fifth edition will be the final chance for art lovers to visit Spring Workshop, which is hosting its last exhibition before the five-year project draws to a close. Set up by Californian émigré Mimi Brown to provide space for the city’s cramped artists, the influential gallery and residency programme has transformed the southern district of Wong Chuk Hang into a vibrant arts cluster. But as one cultural door closes, others are opening. Next year will see the launch of H Queens, a purpose-built 24-storey high-rise for art galleries that will include Hauser & Wirth’s first Asian outpost. With two major public galleries also set to open, Hong Kong’s stature in the art world continues to grow.

Design

Workstation workout

Japanese office workers spend too much time sitting down and not enough time exercising. The solution? It’s unexpected, to say the least.

For months Japan’s media outlets have been sounding the alarm about the health risks of too much sitting; all well and good but it’s an unavoidable reality for the country’s army of office workers. So this month Japanese company Kokuyo has unveiled a solution: a ¥90,000 (€680) desk chair called Ing that mimics the hip-strengthening action of sitting on a balance ball. Unconvinced that walking meetings and standing desks can ever work for Japan’s sedentary masses, Kokuyo spent three years perfecting its gliding seat mechanism that is designed to work the hips and back, as well as improving posture, alleviating stiff shoulders and even stimulating the brain. The company’s in-house research team found that “riding” the new chair was the equivalent of doing one-and-a-half hours of walking.

From Monocle 24

Redefining luxury

Luxury is no longer simply defined by a price tag or recognisable label. It is not, in fact, confined to products: it includes experiences too, with the social interaction around luxury items more important than ever. As part of our Monocle and Conrad panel discussion in London, we delve into the shifting meaning of luxury and consider how brands can retain their competitive edge.

From Monocle Films

Italian industry special: the fabric mill

From cotton fields in Egypt to state-of-the-art laboratories in Bergamo, our search for quality “Made in Italy” textiles focuses on the fifth-generation Albini Group.

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