The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 21 April 2018

Film

Image: ALAMY

A star is born

Once synonymous with Hollywood’s golden age, Culver Studios has been taken over by a new – and mighty – kid on the block.

Culver Studios may still be home to the totems of Hollywood’s golden age (the white stucco bungalow from Citizen Kane, the cottages from Gone With the Wind) but the complex has become the latest symbol of things to come in how movies are made – and who makes them. This week Amazon Studios, which has signed a 15-year lease on the compound, unveiled its $12m (€9.7m) renovation of four studio buildings on the site – some of which were used to film classics such as Raging Bull and ET the Extra-Terrestrial. The ascendancy of streaming services has rejuvenated some of Hollywood’s more storied production facilities and Culver City in particular appears to be reaping the rewards: Apple recently leased a building near Culver Studios for its own content-production operation. (Is it any surprise why Monocle chose thriving Culver City as the site of its Los Angeles bureau, shop and café opening this summer?)

Politics

Image: Heart Beat Saigon

Clubbing together

Why Berlin’s party people have united in response to the AfD’s efforts to kill their buzz.

A politician aligned with Germany’s far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) this week proposed calling time on another party: the one that takes place nightly at Berlin’s famous Berghain nightclub. A letter signed by Sibylle Schmidt – a member of the AfD’s group in the district council of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, where Berghain is located – outlined a proposal to push for the club’s licence to be revoked. Why? According to Schmidt’s letter, Berghain enables drug use in the capital. (She also expressed disapproval of dark rooms where “sexual acts” can take place.) Unsurprisingly the letter’s release sparked a backlash, prompting AfD to try to distance itself from the whole charade. It looks like Schmidt underestimated Berliners’ willingness to fight for their right to party.

Design

Comforting thought

Designers at Salone del Mobile are harnessing soft power to soothe shoppers’ woes.

The best furniture is often the sort that helps you feel at home and this year at Salone del Mobile there has been a concerted step towards designs that have a welcoming effect. Many exhibitors put this shift in aesthetic down to a rising feeling of anxiety. It would appear that end customers are finding materials such as marble and steel a bit emotionless in an increasingly unforgiving world and are opting for softer materials that are cosier, fluffier and more playful. Will the rise of soft-core furniture alleviate our fears? A number of designers think so. Molteni & Co is cladding ever more of its classics in soft velvet and Zanotta is releasing a bouncy sofa named Hiro, a Japanese word meaning generosity. It might not change the world overnight but comfier interiors could quell global unease just a smidge.

Fashion

Best foot forward

The Swedish trainer titan who’s hit the ground running with his creative pop-up concept.

Over the past five years Adam Lewenhaupt has built up a sizeable following with CQP, his Stockholm-based line of minimalist trainers with comfortable cushioned soles. The former banker has now opened a pop-up shop in the Swedish capital but he’s put a clever spin on the much-hyped pop-up concept: he’s invited a series of independent, international clothing brands to show their products alongside his trainers in two-week instalments. First up is UK label The Workers’ Club, followed by tailor Thom Sweeney, Copenhagen’s Norse Projects and Manchester’s Private White VC. “Most of these brands have a fairly limited presence in Sweden,” says Lewenhaupt. “So we see it as an opportunity to bring something different and high quality to our home market, while keeping the store interesting to visit more than once.”

From Monocle 24

Top wine from China

The Menu

Chris Ruffle had had enough of poor-quality Chinese wine and decided to launch his own wine business, Treaty Port Vineyards. Having just started exporting to the UK, he tells us about his winery in Shandong province and outlines the biggest hurdles he’s had to overcome.

From Monocle Films

Entrepreneurs: Nunhead Gardener

Monocle Films heads to the leafy suburbs of southeast London, where entrepreneurs Peter Milne and Alex Beltran have given up their corporate jobs to set up a charming garden centre.

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