The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 15 September 2018

Architecture

Image: Getty Images

Building art

An exhibition opens in London today that showcases works by celebrated architect Renzo Piano.

London’s Royal Academy of Arts may be a champion for artists but architects have been known to proudly display their work there too. “Architecture is art. It’s just as important that we put on architecture exhibitions to connect with people and show the invisible side of our projects,” says Renzo Piano, the Italian architect whose retrospective exhibition, Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings, opens today. Featuring Piano’s world-renowned projects from the Centre Pompidou to the Shard and The New York Times building, the exhibition is the first one to focus on Piano in London for more than 30 years. It draws on models and sketches from the architect’s archive to highlight the work – and artistry – that’s gone into shaping skylines around the world.

Retail

Image: Shutterstock

French fancies

Needing to restore its Élysée Palace, France has caught on to the best way to raise funds: open a gift shop.

As any head of state will tell you, paying maintenance costs for palaces, parliaments and royal courts is a headache. The French government has come up with a playful way to restore and enhance the Élysée Palace by funding it in part with an online gift shop. Launched to coincide with the 35th Journées du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days), the shop exudes a playful-but-kitsch Frenchness. Rather than being filled with souvenirs (although stationery and posters of Emmanuel Macron are available) the shop features items that would appeal to cosmopolitan Francophiles. There are Duralex glasses in the colours of the Tricolore, gold bracelets spelling out “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” and, fittingly, T-shirts bearing the word “croquignolesque”: quite so.

Film

Girls on film

LA Film Festival has notable premières but it’s the event’s diverse line-up that’s got people tuning in.

Summer is but a fading memory in many corners of the world and that means it’s time to hunker down and start watching movies. With the season for all things film upon us, we’re looking ahead to LA Film Festival (from a decidedly un-autumnal City of Angels), opening on Thursday and running until 28 September. Watch out for the première of the first episode of Toni Collette’s Wanderlust series (airing on Netflix in October) and a thriller called Nomis, starring Henry Cavill, as well as eccentric comedy All About Nina. But the festival’s biggest achievement is in the diversity stakes: this year 42 per cent of the films are directed by women and 39 per cent by non-white film-makers. An important step in the right direction.

Culture

Image: Hufton Crow

Making waves

Scotland will be hoping that the country’s first design museum will help revitalise the region.

Today Scotland’s first design museum opens its doors, with hopes of bringing the Bilbao effect to Dundee. The museum, designed by Japanese architecture firm Kengo Kuma & Associates, stands on the banks of the River Tay like a futuristic galleon; it’s only fitting then, that the first exhibition will be devoted to ocean liners and how they became the most powerful symbols of 20th-century modernity. As the first outpost of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, this establishment promises to bring new life to Dundee, which has found itself in economic decline. In the Basque city of Bilbao the opening of the Guggenheim worked wonders; time will tell whether that will be true here too.

From Monocle 24

Octopus Energy

The Entrepreneurs: Eureka

Greg Jackson has worn many hats over the course of his career. He co-founded marketing-technology business C360 in the early 2000s and then sold it to the Tangent Group in 2006; after that he went on to work for several companies across various sectors, from healthcare to finance. Then, three years ago, he launched Octopus Energy, a green-energy provider set up to rival the so-called “Big Six” energy companies that dominate the UK market.

From Monocle Films

Kyoto: The Monocle Travel Guide

Japan's ancient capital may be full of hushed streets steeped in tradition but don't be fooled: there's plenty of forward-thinking retailers, innovative chefs and modernist architecture too. Our Kyoto guide will help you navigate your way around, as well as setting you off on your own path.

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