The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 1 December 2018

Tourism

A new vision

The future of a forgotten Venetian district could be improved by a new venue bringing Italy’s past to life.

Venice’s historic centre is overrun with tourists but the mainland district of Mestre is often only seen by visitors from the window of their taxi as they speed back to the airport. M9, a museum in Mestre that opens today, might be reason enough for them to stop. The exhibition space is dedicated to the history of the 20th century and the radical changes it brought about in Italian society. Digital technology is used extensively: the museum has virtual-reality visors and holograms of political figures such as Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti and fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. There are also recreations of bomb shelters with simulated air raids. M9 took 10 years to build and cost €110m: a hefty investment but one that Mestre deserves.

Retail

Image: Liz Kuball

Smock it to them

A beloved LA multibrand retailer has launched a standalone shop selling its own popular line – Smock.

Over the past decade Kevin and Bo Carney have built one of the best multibrand retailers in LA in the form of Mohawk General Store. There are three Mohawk outposts, all filled with stellar international brands as well as Smock, Mohawk’s in-house line of beautifully cut, made-in-Japan, clothes. Many retailers have in-house lines – they make good business sense because shop-owners have bigger profit margins than when they sell other brands’ products – but it’s unusual for such lines to go big. Yet that seems to be what is happening here: this weekend the Carneys are opening a standalone Smock shop, a cedar-clad space, designed in collaboration with architect Herve Daridan, in LA’s Silver Lake. The couple have continually proven their mettle in the city’s competitive retail scene; this should be another winner.

Art

Light entertainment

An installation in a Toronto museum aims to bring some cheer to visitors over the dark Canadian winter.

Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art (Moca) is using modern art to shine some light on the city’s notoriously dark winters. Opening this week, Light Therapy, an installation by Slovenian artist Apolonija Sustersic, encourages museum visitors to spend between 15 minutes and three hours in a room illuminated by LED lights that stimulate a sunny day. Light exposure is used to treat seasonal affective disorder, which is proven to lower brain function and the installation is the second project of Art in Use, a-year-long Moca initiative that questions how today’s communities can be helped by museums. Light Therapy was originally produced for Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in 1999 when the museum examined the use of its space as a vehicle for healing. Since 1913, Scandinavia has used light therapy and giant mirrors to battle the winter blues. Will it become a permanent fixture in Canada?

International relations

Image: Alamy

Take a break

It shouldn’t be all work and no play for G20 attendees in Argentina this weekend.

Today in Buenos Aires, G20 delegates will have more to chew on than trade and the global economy. This weekend, they will also enjoy a traditional meat-heavy Argentine menu including Patagonian lamb and choripán sausage paired with a hearty malbec. And with polo season in full swing, Chinese leader Xi Jinping could work off his trade-war troubles on the pitch, while a pensive walk through Buenos Aires’s 19th-century necropolis, Cementerio de la Chacarita, would offer US president Donald Trump much-needed time to reflect. As for Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, a spot of Argentinian tango might be a suitable reminder that it really does take two: bilateral meetings here could be crucial to the Arab nation’s future. Whether across the table in boardrooms or at gala dinners, things are certain to heat up this weekend in true Argentine style.

From Monocle 24

Fearless Futures

Eureka

Hanna Naima McCloskey started Fearless Futures after leaving her job in finance, feeling there was something missing in the way the corporate world was addressing diversity and inclusion. McCloskey and her team now run training programmes to engage people in thinking critically about those issues.

From Monocle Films

The secret to throwing a dinner party

In our new “secret to” series, supper club host Gabriel Waterhouse shares his tips on organising a friendly feast in your home with great-quality food and (just as important) an entertaining atmosphere.

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