The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 25 August 2018

Culture

If you build it they will come

The Finnish capital has plumped for a new architecture museum to spruce up the city.

Is Helsinki the same city that, two years ago, famously rejected plans to build a Guggenheim museum on its territory? This week, city hall announced that it has launched a competition for a new landmark design-and-architecture museum. In a bid for its own version of what urbanists have nicknamed “the Guggenheim effect”, the government is hoping to find a location for an institution that will have a regenerative effect on its surroundings. Both the South Harbour and western Hietalahti Harbour areas have been floated as possible sites. With the city’s newest art museum, the much-anticipated Amos Rex, opening next week, it looks like Helsinki may be rethinking its reticence to headline-grabbing culture venues.

Music

Horny number

Mexico City’s love of jazz music is celebrated with a bang during Big Band Fest.

Most people who have visited will know how strongly the jazz scene runs through the spirit of Mexico City. From the Zinco Jazz bar downtown to the more swept-up Jules Basement, enthusiasm for the music is palpable. No surprise then that one of the world’s most exciting jazz festivals takes place at the city’s Lunario venue. Big Band Fest, which reaches its swinging conclusion this Wednesday, features some of the nation’s most electrifying performers. The festival has already welcomed the likes of the Zinco Big Band (from the aforementioned club), as well as the Alex Serhan & Joe D’Etienne Big Band. Tonight, saxophonist Pavel Loaria and his band grace the stage but the final horn of the jamboree won’t sound until festival director and jazz impresario Ernesto Ramos has presented Big Band Jazz de México & Friends.

Urbanism

Image: Getty Images

On the rise

A desolate patch of Toronto has been reanimated to become a friendly space for the city’s growing population.

Today marks a milestone in the completion of one of Toronto’s most anticipated urbanism projects. The Bentway was once a scrubby patch of disused land beneath an elevated highway but today it is showing signs of its potential as a multi-use community hub, where people can gather for food markets, public art and events. At an all-day block party running from midday to 10pm the Bentway will unveil the redesign of its main entrance into the development from Strachan Avenue, which features an open-air amphitheatre for public performances. The development links seven neighbourhoods and makes the areas between key attractions more walkable. This ground-up improvement to city life is a lesson to self-starting urbanists the world over.

Culture

Image: Alamy

Night at the museum

Frankfurt’s making a song and dance of itself in a bid to bolster its post-Brexit pulling power.

As tradition dictates – even if it’s only three decades in the making – the last weekend in August is Museumsuferfest in Frankfurt. On this particular occasion, Germany’s financial hub transforms into a magnet for art and culture. Museums, including the Museum für Moderne Kunst and Deutsches Filmmuseum (for your fill of art and film), remain open until late into the night and stages by the waterside pop up to host bands and theatrical acts. This year’s highlights include a dragon-boat race and musical performances by the likes of Senegalese drummers Ismael Seck and Les Ismaels at the Museum für Kommunikation. To keep the spirits high, there’s also plenty of food and drink from all around the world. At a time when the city is vying for the biggest slice of post-Brexit pie, it’s in its interests to boost its international clout and show off all it has to offer.

From Monocle 24

Special episode: Finding investors

We’re in Paris talking to a group of experts and entrepreneurs about funding – how start-ups should go about securing it and what investors are really looking for.

From Monocle Films

Lebanon: state of the nation

With a cosmopolitan capital, picturesque countryside and improving – albeit fluctuating – security, Lebanon is on the up.

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