The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 8 December 2017

Architecture

Grounding presence

A new building signals the international arrival of Miami’s design neighbourhood.

The inauguration of the ICA Miami is a welcome curatorial anchor during Basel week – a time decorated by myriad openings, parties and talks, of course. Designed by Madrid-based architects Aranguren & Gallegos, the three-storey institute is a glass-and-steel monolith, naturally, but also a necessary non-commercial hit in a busily acquisitive week. There is a permanent collection but it’s shown sparingly so that commissioned, site-specific work can sing. Miami’s design district came of age a while ago, now it has it’s first international-level institution.

Urbanism

Image: Getty Images

On the rails

Toronto’s newest park inches its way towards reality as the city makes a last-ditch effort to protect its green space.

Work is set to begin on proposals for Toronto’s newest public playground, the Rail Deck Park. If finally approved the park will cover 8.5 hectares of the city’s increasingly dense downtown core, including a stretch of its busy commuter-train lines. Following a near-unanimous vote by Toronto’s city council earlier this week to move the process forward, many believe the transformation of the area is the last opportunity to enshrine green, public space in central Toronto. The cost is estimated to run into the billions, which some council members suggest could be recouped by taxing property development in return for higher density.

Retail

Let’s get physical

Despite the rising numbers of people shopping online, a US web-only clothing retailer has opted to open a store in New York.

“Retail is dead” has long been the cry as the likes of Amazon kill off brick-and-mortar businesses. If that’s the case, it doesn’t seem like US clothing retailer Everlane has been paying much attention. Founded in San Francisco by Michael Preysman in 2011, the brand has long been an online-only maker of chic basics with a focus on transparency; it shares details of the factories where garments are made and the price breakdown, from labour and transportation to profit margin. But as of last weekend, Everlane has opened its first physical shop – all wood, granite and high ceilings – in New York’s Soho neighbourhood and is set to add another in San Francisco in February. Preysman has said it wasn’t an easy decision but in the end fostering community and allowing customers to sample products won out. We’ll be watching closely.

Society

Image: Getty Images

Billy, don't be a hero

There’s a Swedish city where as soon as they put up their festive goat sculpture, it gets burnt down. But do they bleat about it? Certainly not.

Goat-watch season has officially begun in Gävle. The Swedish city has once again erected a giant Yuletide goat sculpture made of straw – a Christmas tradition that goes back more than 50 years – as well as a live webcam to monitor it. Why the webcam? Because nearly every year that the statue, known as Gävlebocken, has been set up, pranksters have managed to burn it down or otherwise destroy it. It’s become an odd holiday tradition in the city, though by no means sanctioned by authorities: in 2001 a US tourist was fined for setting the thing on fire, thinking it was legal. This year a security fence has been put in place to try to protect the poor thing. Will it work? You've got to be kidding.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Venice and water

The Urbanist

Water is the lifeblood of Venice but recent events suggest the city’s relationship with its long-term protector may need to be reimagined.

From Monocle Films

Monocle Christmas Market 2017

Tyler Brûlé and his merry team got into the Christmas spirit last weekend with the annual Monocle Christmas Market at Midori House. Some fantastic festive retailers shared a mulled wine with stallholders representing our favourite nations – and met Santa Claus, and a few friendly reindeer too.

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