The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 15 February 2018

Defence

Muscles from Brussels

As Europe’s security landscape shifts, Nato has decided to boost its presence with new headquarters in Germany and the US.

Nato’s new Brussels headquarters is nearly ready – staff are expected to move in later this year – but that’s not the only new building the organisation has in the works. Two more major centres are being planned, one in Germany dedicated to troop movements and one in the US focusing on maritime security, marking Nato’s first upgrade of its command structure since the Cold War. After years of Nato scaling back its operations there are some who may baulk at the cost of stepping up its presence but the plans come in the face of Russia flexing its muscles. “It’s an important step,” says Elisabeth Braw, a senior consultant at the global risk consulting firm Control Risks. “It’s a response to the changing security environment in Europe.” For Monocle’s tour of Nato’s current Brussels HQ, click here.

Urbanism

Image: Mitsui Fudosan

Standing tall

The Tokyo skyline welcomes a new highlight more than a decade after its predecessor was torn down.

Apart from a few notable exceptions, the demolition of Tokyo’s old buildings rarely causes much fuss. The Sanshin Building, however, was one such exception. The Architectural Institute of Japan was among those who petitioned for the 1930s gem next to Hibiya Park to be saved – but to no avail. Now, more than a decade since the building was torn down, property giant Mitsui Fudosan is finally set to unveil its replacement: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya (pictured). Standing at more than 190 metres tall, the 35-storey tower includes offices, an 11-screen Toho cinema multiplex and 60 shops and restaurants. As a nod to its heritage, the basement of the newly completed skyscraper replicates the atmospheric arcade of the Sanshin Building. Mitsui’s first Tokyo Midtown opened in 2007 in Roppongi. This, its second, will open on 29 March.

Fashion

Image: PA Images

London eye

Key figures in the fashion industry will flock to the UK capital this week to witness Burberry’s all-important show.

The fashion crowd is jetting across the Atlantic. They are leaving behind New York – where the first women’s fashion week of the spring/summer 2018 season saw stellar shows from Bottega Veneta and Calvin Klein – and descending on London. The UK capital’s fashion week runs for the next four days, with a schedule featuring up-and-coming brand palmer // harding, Molly Goddard and JW Anderson, which will hold its first co-ed runway show. But all eyes will be on Saturday evening’s Burberry show. Burberry is a crucial fixture on the calendar each season because, as the UK’s biggest luxury brand, it ensures international editors and buyers make the trip to London. Yet this season is more important than ever. The brand is in a state of flux: it is chief creative officer Christopher Bailey’s final show (after 17 years at the label), there have been substantial changes to the board and new CEO Marco Gobbetti is attempting to counter slumping results and position the house as a "super luxury" brand à la Hermès and Céline.

Technology

Image: Alamy

Joining forces

Tech talk escapes the West Coast as urban upstarts convene in Pittsburgh to carve out their own niche.

North America is awash with talk of tech and its promised pot of gold. But while San Francisco and Seattle may monopolise most of the chat, what of the second-tier urban upstarts? This week language-learning tech company Duolingo teamed up with Pacific Northwest-based online tech news platform GeekWire to host an evening of drinks, junk food and discussion at the former’s Steel City headquarters. A key part of the round-table talk was the dangers of gentrification in the city – doubly prescient given that Amazon is thinking of setting up shop here with a new HQ. Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn did not mince his words, saying that cities couldn’t “have it both ways” – they can either keep house prices at current levels or nurture a talented cosmopolitan workforce.

From Monocle 24

Amelia Harvey, The Collective

The Entrepreneurs

Amelia Harvey is the woman behind The Collective, an innovative yoghurt brand that has shaken up the dairy aisles of supermarkets across the UK and Europe with its playful packaging and fruity flavours. Founded in 2011 as a joint venture with the original New Zealand-based company, it has now grown into a thriving business with annual sales of more than €33m and a vast range of dairy products. In this episode Harvey reveals the secret to getting your foot in the supermarket door (literally) and explains how the food sector is evolving.

From Monocle Films

Healthy income

As the fitness business pulls in new and inventive players, how can cities encourage their citizens to live healthier lives?

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