Wednesday 6 December 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 6/12/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Labour pains

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s ambition of formally launching free-trade talks with China have hit a hurdle during an official visit to Beijing. The expectation from this latest visit – the second since Trudeau took office in 2015 – was that, after years of exploratory talks between the two economies, an official negotiation process would begin. But Beijing has cooled those hopes, apparently dissuaded by a Canadian assertion that gender equality and employees’ rights be enshrined in any such deal. President Xi Jinping’s talk of opening up China’s economy clearly doesn’t extend to its labour laws. Let’s hope Ottawa stands firm.

Image: Art Basel


Different strokes

Art Basel Miami Beach unveils its 16th instalment of contemporary and modern wonders to the great, good and guestlist-savvy of the art world today – and its sweet 16 promises to be another spectacle. Each year the emergence of younger galleries keeps the whole show on its toes as they compete for the attention of collectors with the old guard, such as Gagosian, Marian Goodman and David Zwirner. Arguably the gargantuan Miami Beach Convention Center would be more at home selling light aircraft than abstract expressionism. But year after year, Miami Basel has proved that this is where an ever-expanding band of gallerists, curators and collectors come to meet, talk and plan further shows of new and exciting work. Sixteen editions already? Time flies when you’re having deeply curatorial fun in the sun.


Street smarts

The west London neighbourhood of Mayfair is getting a new street. UK property developers British Land has unveiled Ashburton Place, the first major street to open in the neighbourhood in more than 15 years. The new street will be home to Clarges Mayfair, a residential development of 34 high-end apartments sprawling across 104,000 sq ft directly overlooking Green Park. The development will also house a mix of office and retail space. James Taylor, head of residential at British Land, says that retail spaces on the ground floor will be opening early next year and the aim is to ensure a luxury mix that benefits both residents of Clarges and Mayfair. “Our number-one target will be car showrooms and art galleries,” he says, “but we’re also open to a wider variety of uses”, such as wine shops and high-end florists. “This part of London was very special in the 19th century,” says Taylor. “We feel now that this little pocket is being restored.”

Image: Shutterstock


Guiding principles

Bangkok finally gets its own edition of the Michelin Guide today. The arrival of the French food publication has been touted by Thailand’s national tourism board as recognition of the capital city’s vibrant food scene. Unfortunately for them the excitement about Michelin’s newest handbook – its 33rd overall – is being overshadowed by questions about the objectivity of reviews, which first arose after the release of the latest Hong Kong-Macau edition last week. The Thai tourism authority’s five-year $4.1m contract with Michelin estimates that the guide will return a 10 per cent increase in tourist food spending. A cheaper solution for all concerned would be to bring back the street-food stalls that serve some of the tastiest food in Bangkok and provide plenty of its unique character. How many hawkers make it into the guide will be keenly counted.

Virtual reality

Bec Brittain opened her eponymous lighting and product-design studio in Brooklyn six years ago. For her designs – such as the Shy Light – she relies on 3D programmes that translate paper models and sketches into reality.

The future of retail

Be it online or on the high street, the retail industry is changing fast. From mall developers to pop-up shop suppliers, we know that bricks-and-mortar help to keep your business vital.


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