Piracy and terrorism have been escalating in Southeast Asia for a decade but now Indonesia is investing heavily to safeguard the 261 million inhabitants spread across its 17,508 islands. The spending spree is considerable. In 2018, Indonesia will pour US$6.4bn (€5bn) into its homeland security, a figure that is estimated to increase one third by 2022. The move is in line with president Joko Widodo’s pledge to triple defence spending to 1.5 per cent of GDP during his term (see the April issue of Monocle). Beyond this, the country’s first conference on homeland security is due to take place in September to tackle piracy and terrorism as well as illegal fishing. Around 10,000 trade visitors are expected to attend the conference, which will showcase more than 100 Indonesian and international exhibitors. Sophisticated technologies such as land and maritime surveillance are set to take centre stage.
As many retailers retreat to online selling, Nordstrom is betting big on bricks and mortar. One of the last remaining retail dynasties, the multibrand monolith opens its first New York shop tomorrow. The secret to its success? Confidence, perhaps. “We are going to have a lot of unique things that you won’t be able to find in other Nordstrom stores or, frankly, any other store in the city,” says Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores. “We will have what I believe will be the best men’s shoe shop in the city.” The new flagship will roll out with a dedicated menswear offering; a first for the company, it will also feature an in-house tailor and bar. By 2019 the retailer plans to have launched the remaining shop: a multilevel, multibrand statement to its belief in the future of bricks-and-mortar retail. The whole project is a gutsy move by Nordstrom and shows a spirited belief that physical stores, done well, will still put feet on high streets.
This year’s Summit of the Americas, the triennial gathering of heads of state and government from across the region, gets underway in Lima on Friday. The presence of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, who attends despite the organisers’ assertions that he would not be welcome in Peru, is certain to make headlines. Aside from these squabbles within the corridors of power, there is a more subtle story at play: the evolving relationship the US has with its neighbours. The unpredictability of the Trump administration has seen other alliances take shape and tightened existing diplomatic relationships, like the partnership between Canada and Mexico, during the Nafta renegotiation process. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru itself may take the opportunity to pitch themselves as the new diplomatic forces in the region.
April means more than showers to those in the design game but there will of course be a fair few finely honed faucets at Salone del Mobile, which kicks off in Milan next Tuesday. It’s the jamboree to end all (furniture-themed, northern Italian) jamborees, where 300,000-odd souls descend on halls decked with furniture from the sublime to the senseless. There’s always fussing over finishes and tweaked forms (plus some faintly amusing over-examination of chairs) but this year there’s also a sense of purpose around the challenges facing the industry. Salone’s inaugural manifesto (in this, its 57th year) speaks of “upping its game”, being a positive influence on the city, supporting young designers and sustainability. Sadly, as the firms try ever harder to turn heads, the production of novel but ultimately bin-bound products (like the Salone-themed board game above) abounds. Salone’s aim is noble enough but it’s time the participants made their move.
Sicily is a stunning Mediterranean destination – and not least for its food. Monocle Films goes on a culinary tour of the island and drops in on a cooking school that promotes traditional food producers and seasonal recipes.
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