The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 28 April 2018

Culture

Out and about

A Spanish architecture-and-design festival is showcasing more than just its exhibits.

This weekend design lovers are gathering in the northern Spanish city of Logroño for Concéntrico, an architecture-and-design festival. Now in its fourth year, Concéntrico invites designers from home and abroad to create works that are displayed across the city. This year Barcelona’s David Bestué has erected a giant LED clock in the town hall and a Madrid design trio have created a mushroom-like pavilion in a plaza; elsewhere, a silver sculpture has been woven around the cloisters of a centuries-old church. The gala is a celebration of Spanish talent but it’s also a clever way to encourage people to explore the city. Just as Salone opens up Milan to the public (although on a much bigger scale), Concéntrico shines a spotlight on Logroño’s urban gems. Concéntrico runs until 1 May.

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

You’re welcome but...

Venice has adopted a peacekeeping plan to prevent tourists and residents from mixing it up this May Day.

Residents usually have mixed feelings when tourists turn up in droves. Having your home turf taken over by selfie-snapping out-of-towners might seem annoying but it can be good for business. The mayor’s office in Venice appears to have come up with a solution to keep the peace this May Day weekend, when a heaving mass of tourists is expected to take to the labyrinthine city. To prevent visitors from rubbing locals up the wrong way, Venice will redirect the flow of people, making certain areas accessible only to locals and regular visitors who wield a Venezia Unica card. The flow of tourists to Piazzale Roma and the Strada Nuova will be restricted and visitors travelling by water will be prevented from disembarking at the usual landings of Riva degli Schiavoni. It’s a huge undertaking and will need to be employed with tact so that visitors aren’t made to feel unwelcome.

Retail

Image: Getty Images

Boot sale

Amazon couriers are now able to deliver packages to parked cars but is the extra convenience worth it?

This week Amazon announced that it has started shipping packages directly to the cars of Prime customers in 37 cities across the US. For an American market still keen on driving, delivering to cars is a clever move. A courier simply unlocks the car boot – which has to be a Volvo or GM model manufactured after 2015 – pops in the package, locks up and leaves the item safely stashed until its owner turns up. The only thing that could be more convenient would be Amazon drone-dropping products through customers’ sunroofs as they crawl through LA traffic. But for all this convenience, there is a catch. To use the service, one needs a connected car, which means relinquishing yet more information – where you are, what you’ve bought and when – to Amazon, one of the world’s biggest technology companies. It seems that when it comes to shopping, convenience will always trump a desire for privacy.

Security

Image: Getty Images

Car chase

The North Korean leader should take some tips on hiring bodyguards from his French counterpart to ensure they’re more suave than sweaty.

Bodyguards are always a source of fascination. This week Kim Jong-un’s hired goons lit up the web when a video emerged showing 12 of them running beside his Mercedes at the Inter-Korean summit. While the image of a dozen perspiring men escorting a portly despot to lunch is absurd enough, the vision gets even more bonkers when you consider that the car itself is bulletproof. “Kim Jong-un’s car will be so reinforced that it is no longer categorised as a car but an armoured vehicle,” says Ben Soames, director of specialist risk managers Fox Delta. It would seem that personal security is often about image. “Lots of VIPs will cast bodyguards based simply on how they look,” says Soames. If this is the case, Kim should ditch his poorly attired joggers and opt for a more debonair calibre of bodyguard, perhaps in the fashion of the Macrons and their dangerously handsome cortège.

From Monocle 24

Of a Kind

Eureka

Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo are the women behind New York-based Of a Kind, an online marketplace with a focus on emerging designers in fashion, homeware and jewellery. They met in university, bonding over their keen eye for fashion. Both moved to the Big Apple, Mazur working in art and Cerulo in the magazine industry. A good idea and a long email chain in 2010 led to the pair creating Of a Kind, a business that remains true to its original concept today.

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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