The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 16 August 2018

Politics

Image: Reuters

Serving time

With Brazil’s former president in prison, his party’s potential replacement candidate may have little time to campaign.

An unpredictable presidential race kicks off in Brazil today, following yesterday’s deadline for political parties to register their candidates in the electoral court. The leader in the polls, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula), is currently in prison but his party registered his candidacy nonetheless, an act that was cheered by protesters who demanded his release in front of the court building. The judges have to rule on Lula’s legitimacy by 17 September, only three weeks before the ballot. If the decision goes against him (likely), former São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad will become the Workers party’s candidate in his place. Haddad is less well known and less popular than Lula so he’ll need to campaign hard to raise awareness – but a late judgement by the court will reduce the time he has to do so.

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

Follow the money

The Thai tourist board is offering monetary incentives to encourage visitors to take to the country’s lesser-known areas.

In Thailand, travellers seem to stay on the beaten path. In the past year the government has taken steps to lure its 35 million foreign visitors per year to new destinations – like Lamphun, near Chiang Mai in the north, or Phang Nga, near Phuket in the south – to share the wealth. The current scheme awards tax breaks to travellers who elect to lodge in un-tramped areas to the tune of THB15,000 (€400). This week the government tweaked the rule so that smaller lodges and hotels are included too. Now the policy encompasses establishments with as few as four rooms and a capacity of under 20 guests. While the move is unlikely to be a money-spinner in the short term, according to Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the tourism authority – who estimates that the programme will cost THB50m (€1.3m) – it will boost local economies and encourage travellers to explore new places.

Design

Call it a comeback

The colours, textures and shapes of the 1980s Memphis movement will soon be seen in a US department store once more.

In recent years, designs that take inspiration from the 1980s Memphis Milano – founded by Ettore Sottsass – movement have witnessed a resurgence. Bright colours, laminated plastics and post-modernist shapes have made their way into furniture and apparel, as well as onto the trade-show floors of the world’s design fairs. So great is the movement’s kitschy nostalgic appeal that it’s making a concerted comeback at the Seattle flagship of US department store Nordstrom. The retailer is staging an exhibition-cum-pop-up-shop that will house iconic products from Memphis Milano, including ceramics, glassware and furniture. For those without the resources to put upwards of €3,500 towards a post-modern Aldebaran salad bowl or Alaska candle holder, the exhibition will have a gift shop stocking Memphis-inspired items such as stationery, notebooks and jewellery.

Architecture

Don’t knock wood

Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs has gone against the grain and planned a hi-tech development in Toronto – using timber.

The latest developments in the plan to revamp an area of Toronto’s disused waterfront came to light as urban-innovation company Sidewalk Labs made an unexpected announcement at a city council meeting. While many have imagined that the Alphabet-owned urbanists would construct towers from modern materials such as steel, glass or even graphene, it emerged that the group has a more traditional material in mind: wood. Toronto’s skyline currently consists of brutalist concrete structures and imposing skyscrapers but as soon as 2020 they could be joined by a number of 50-storey towers built from timber, which will contain 3,000 residential units. Can cities be hi-tech with tried-and-tested materials? Yes. Can we get used to the idea of our cities smelling of fresh pine? Definitely.

From Monocle 24

Jo Malone

The Entrepreneurs

Jo Malone made her name – quite literally – as the eponymous entrepreneur behind her iconic perfume brand. A sensation in the 1990s, Malone later sold the brand to cosmetics giant Estée Lauder Companies. While she stayed on as creative director, she eventually left the business for good in 2006. On this week’s episode, Malone talks us through how she dealt with selling a company that bore her name and explains how she built her second global fragrance brand Jo Loves.

From Monocle Films

Future cities – mobilising change

Monocle Films travels to Copenhagen and Mexico City with Audi to see how cities and their citizens are facing the challenge of building sustainable mobility in urban settings.

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