The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 9 March 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Bon voyage

Continuing his preference for face-to-face diplomacy, the French president lands in India to shore up ties with Narendra Modi.

France’s president Emmanuel Macron touches down in India today in a bid to tighten diplomatic ties with the nation. While in the country, Macron will meet with prime minister Narendra Modi for a series of private talks and will co-chair the first meeting of the International Solar Alliance, which Modi announced at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015. Macron’s also expected to step up defence co-operation with an offer to allow Indian vessels use of France’s Indian Ocean military bases. The visit is in step with Macron’s approach to bilateral relations – during the first nine months of his presidency he’s travelled widely and often to meet state leaders face to face, courting good relations with everyone from the UK to China and Tunisia.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Top flight

Toronto’s airport scores high and acts as a symbol of Canada’s soaring ambitions.

Toronto’s Pearson International airport has been named the best large transport hub in North America by Airports Council International, a well-regarded organisation that represents many of the world’s major airports. The annual report is based on the feedback of 600,000 passengers and the ranking marks something of a vote of confidence for Pearson as it undergoes major renovations to its third terminal. Though the ongoing revamp of Terminal 1 has relied too heavily on iPads in dining areas and misjudged the overlap of waiting spaces and boarding spaces in some corners, the makeover shows that the state of a nation’s largest hub can say much about the country’s ambitions, economic and otherwise.

Design

Image: Hugard and Vanoverschelde

Collector’s items

A new fair is drawing design devotees to the Belgian capital, as design becomes increasingly covetable.

Belgium and the Netherlands may be close in terms proximity but the design dialogue emerging from these two Benelux brothers could not be further apart. While the Dutch specialise in conceptual design that makes use of new materials and champions sustainability, the Belgians are making a name for themselves at the high end of the market with some of the best galleries in the world. With this in mind, aficionados will be flocking to Brussels this weekend for its Collectible exhibition, which runs until Sunday at the Vanderborght building (pictured). The inaugural event focuses on 21st-century design and brings together some of the world’s most important collectors and gallerists. With the arrival of another fair such as this, it seems that design is gaining recognition as a collectable commodity alongside the art market.

Business

Image: N Kubota

Real-time retail

As big brands shutter shops in the US, fearless start-ups are showing faith in bricks-and-mortar.

Media figures like to mourn the death of retail in the US – and they have a point. Last year saw big-box brands such as JCPenney and Macy’s begin shuttering shops; Ralph Lauren also announced that it would be closing its Fifth Avenue flagship. But there’s also a counter-movement swelling as some retailers defy the trend and prove that there’s still life in the bricks-and-mortar concept. Many of them are start-ups that have proven their worth online, such as fashion labels Corridor and Everlane (the latter has opened a new shop in San Francisco’s Mission district). And now online mattress-industry “disruptor” Casper has set up shop in New York. The reason? There’s simply no replacement for seeing how the public reacts in real time.

From Monocle 24

Image: Getty Images

From grey to green

The Urbanist

Cities are some of the world’s biggest polluters so how should we reimagine urban living to tackle climate change? We bring you a special report from the CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, where we met scientists, global leaders and policymakers who are trying to make city living greener.

From Monocle Films

Speciality retail: Amsterdam

The colourful collection of jars with pickles and fermented food pulls customers through the front door of shop-cum-bistro Thull’s.

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