Young at art - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 24/10/2021

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday


Mood lighting

Zürich, Tuesday evening: Could it be that party season is already in full swing? If so, thank heavens! Gathered in our reading and radio lounge at Dufourstrasse are a sizeable crew from Zeit Magazin in Berlin, Swiss journalists and authors, handsome locals and the usual Monocle contingent. The reason for the impromptu celebration? Yet another magazine launch. Hot on the heels of their new food title Wochenmarkt, the Zeit Magazin editors have launched a twice-yearly Swiss supplement and I’m playing co-host with their editorial director Christoph Amend. Standing around our radio table, we discuss our respective connections with the country (somehow all roads lead to the Berner Oberland), why the whole place seems to work and the impact that Zsa Zsa Gábor can have on an impressionable young Canadian boy. The party moves on to the bar at the new David Chipperfield-designed Kunsthaus, where the charming Mischa looks after us, the singer Ava Vegas holds court (check her out) and Herr Amend suggests some future double-acts. Stay tuned.

Zürich, Wednesday midday: I’m about to board the Swiss flight to Los Angeles. It’ll be my first, proper long-haul trip (Dubai doesn’t really count) in almost 20 months and I’m rather excited. Then, in an instant, the whole thing is off. Canadians are welcome in the US but not via the EU. Somehow, amidst all the booking, confirmations, forms and checks this small detail was missed. The good news is that there’s a new date for the event in LA and I look forward to seeing all our southern-Californian readers in early December.

Zürich, Wednesday evening: Why not go to Copenhagen instead? Then to Stockholm for the weekend? I book it.

Zürich, Thursday evening: Genesis has just opened a sprawling showroom on the Bahnhofstrasse and we’re hosting a talk series in the lower-level auditorium on the state of the luxury goods sector. In the background is a “live” image of Seoul at sunrise on a wrap-around screen and I’m suddenly transported to the South Korean capital. Will a proper business tour of Asia be possible before year end? Here’s hoping.

As the days get shorter, Copenhagen gets cosier. Dark clouds have rolled in and, as restaurants and cafés prepare for the lunch rush, the candles come out and the lights are dimmed.

Copenhagen, early Friday morning: “You can take your mask off,” says Mikael, the driver, the second I spin out of the doors at Kastrup airport. “You will have heard that the pandemic is over here.” The last time I was in Copenhagen was the end of May and even then it felt like the Danes were done with it. But now Copenhagen feels very much like its good-old self and, for a blustery Friday, it’s packed. Tourists are out in force, the shops and restaurants are bustling and there’s a distinctly brisk energy about the place.

Copenhagen, Friday mid-morning: As the days get shorter, Copenhagen gets cosier. Dark clouds have rolled in and, as restaurants and cafés prepare for the lunch rush, the candles come out and the lights are dimmed. How do they manage to get the lighting just right in almost every setting? And, more importantly, how have they managed to overcome the dead light of LEDs? As I wait for Goods (an excellent men’s shop) to open, I pop into a lighting shop down the street to see if I’ve missed out on some illuminating innovation and if there’s a special hygge bulb that’s only available over the counter to Danish citizens. “Is there a new bulb that’s LED, dimmable and gives off cosy light?” I enquire. “You don’t look like the type of person who has lamps that are less than two years old,” she says in a dry tone. “So, no. Such a bulb is yet to be invented. Can I interest you in some of our vintage stock?” With a bit of a flourish she presents a packed shelf of old-school bulbs. “15, 20, 25, 40 – we’ve got all the cosy watts you need.” If you’re in need of some Christmas cosiness and a good glow, it seems that any Danish lighting shop has you covered.

Stockholm, very late Friday evening: I’m at Ett Hem hotel; most guests have turned in for the evening but our little table is still going strong and we’re readjusting the music and mood. I put on a track from Louane (“Donne-moi ton coeur” to be exact) and one of our group is getting into it as the lyrics kick in. This particular gentleman has considerable musical experience, has had a hand in a great many of the pop hits that fill the airwaves and dancefloors, and, as he finishes a glass of Barolo, makes the sharpest observation of the year. “What is it with the French?” he asks. “It doesn’t matter what they sing, it always sounds amazing. Is she reading from the phone directory or singing about her tax returns? It’s all so good.” Skål and santé to that.

Next stop? Our events in Munich on Tuesday and Geneva on Wednesday. Hope to clink glasses then. Details via

Top of the shops / The Shed, Hafnarfjördur, Iceland

Hot spot

Hidden in the back garden of Anthony Bacigalupo and Ýr Káradóttir’s house in Hafnarfjörður, on the tranquil outskirts of Reykjavík, The Shed is a slice of Californian warmth in much chillier climes. The couple have been working on their product-design firm RT Co for more than 10 years. Transforming their garage into a pint-sized, plant-covered shop gave them a space in which to sell their own wares, as well as everything from woven baskets to leatherware imported from the US and Mexico.

Image: Benjamin McMahon
Image: Benjamin McMahon

Born in the Californian town of Paso Robles (a place of “vineyards and cowboys”, as he puts it), Bacigalupo came to Iceland on an artist residency back in 2009. That same year, he met Káradóttir and fell in love with both her and the country, which convinced him to relocate. Having spent years working for Apple’s retail division, checking that all of its global outposts were up to scratch, he had a clear sense of what makes a decent shop: he knew that it’s as much about atmosphere as it is about the products. That’s why, if you want to visit The Shed, you need to make an appointment. Bacigalupo wants to make special time for customers. So he’ll make them coffee and invite them to linger on the sofa. “When they come here, they can have the full experience,” he says. “They can create an intimate connection.”

On the shelves, you’ll find products made exclusively by small, family companies that are not stocked anywhere else in Scandinavia: from candles by Fredericks & Mae to Salt & Stone’s skincare and Canyon coffee beans. The whole operation is so laid-back that, sitting in this wild garden, you might forget you came here to buy something – though it’ll be difficult to leave without a ceramic vase or two.

Eating out / Esmée, Copenhagen

Open invitation

Esmée is the first personal project from former Hotel d’Angleterre chef Andreas Bagh (writes Adrian Moore). On Copenhagen’s busy Kongens Nytorv, design agency Space Copenhagen transformed the space into a relaxed, greenery-laden French-inspired brasserie overlooking an open kitchen, with a plum-coloured entrance bar.

Image: Blank Space Studio

The planting by French firm Studio Oliver Gustav lends an outdoorsy Mediterranean feel, and the just-opened terrace is already busy with Danish and international patrons tucking into Iberico ham brioche or wild sole roasted on the bone at the in-house rotisserie. “I wanted to create a restaurant where we used our fine-dining experience to create a relaxed environment,” says Bagh. “A place I would love to eat every day.”

Sunday Roast / Priya Krishna

Tastes of home

Journalist and author Priya Krishna has written for The New York Times on topics from US dieticians to Kurdish tailgaters at American football games (writes Carolina Abbott Galvão). But she’s perhaps best known for her recipes. She has authored several cookbooks, including the bestselling Indian-ish in praise of her mother’s Indian-American palate. Here, she shares her Sunday rituals.

Image: Edlyn D'Souza

Where do we find you this weekend?
I’m in Washington for a close family friend’s wedding. But usually I’m at home in New York.

What’s the ideal start to a Sunday?
I like to get up early, make chai and sit on the couch listening to classical Indian music while I do The New York Times crossword.

Soundtrack of choice?
If not classical, then 1990s Bollywood. Listening to that gives me so much comfort.

What’s for breakfast?
Sometimes my partner will get breakfast sandwiches from Otway [in Brooklyn]. If we get the timing just right, he’ll arrive with the food just as I finish my chai.

News or not?
I’ll read a weekend briefing later in the day but the morning is not for news. I’m trying to make it not for social media either.

Some exercise to get the blood pumping?
I started running with my good friend Kate when we were in college and we still run together on the weekends. We used to live together and though I live with my partner now, going on runs guarantees that we have time to catch up.

Lunch in or out?
I love to pick things up from restaurants I’ve been meaning to try. But otherwise, because I do a lot of recipe testing, many of my weekend lunches are leftovers.

Larder essentials you can’t do without?
Oats, several kinds of pasta, cumin seeds, chaat masala, za’atar, chilli crisp, peanut butter and nori.

Sunday culture must?
In October, my partner and I like to watch movies that have a spooky element but aren’t inherently scary. Films like Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. We call it spooky movie month. Our most recent watch was Young Frankenstein. That’s a cinematic classic.

A glass of something you’d recommend?
My go-to these days is a little Campari, grapefruit juice and sparkling water. Sometimes I just take out the Campari and have sparkling water and grapefruit juice. It kind of tricks you into thinking you’re having a cocktail.

Ideal dinner venue?
The kitchen island of my parents’ place in Dallas. There’s nothing I crave more than my mom’s food.

The ideal dinner menu?
Kadhi, a mixture of chickpea flour, turmeric and spices that you eat over rice.

Beauty or betterment routine?
On Sundays, I like to cook something a little complicated. It’s a good way to unwind before the chaos ensues on Monday.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Cured-beef sandwich with tapenade

First, a confession: this is a sandwich recipe but really it’s a recipe for a versatile tapenade, which is as comfy nestled between bread as it is as a pesto substitute for pasta or a punchy salad dressing. You can thank us later.

Serves 4

1 radicchio
8 walnut kernels
1 tbsp cane sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsps dark balsamic vinegar
120g ricotta
2 tbsps grated parmesan
1 tsp mustard
8 slices of farmhouse bread
8 slices of cured beef

Cut the base off the radicchio and set aside four leaves. Finely dice the rest.

Heat the walnuts in a dry pan on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, moving regularly until they start to brown further but before they burn. Add the sugar to the pan and turn down the heat a little so that it caramelises without burning. After 1 or 2 minutes, add the oil and sauté the finely chopped radicchio. When it’s soft and translucent, add the balsamic vinegar and let it reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Set aside and allow the mixture to cool slightly then mix in the ricotta, parmesan and mustard. Blitz the mixture in a blender until it has a pesto-like consistency, and season to taste.

Layer it thickly on each slice of bread with the sliced meat and leaves.

Weekend plans? / Concepció by Nobis, Palma

Easy street

You might know the name Nobis for its four fine hotels in Stockholm but the Swedish brand set its sights on the capital of Mallorca for its first move out of the Nordics. Named after the street that it occupies, Carrer de la Concepció, the hotel is in a former soap factory that dates back to the 16th century. After the plot was cleared, the 31-key hotel opened in June, between the old town and Santa Catalina.

Designed by Swedish firm Wingårdhs with Jordi Herrero Arquitectos and Eduardo Garcia Acuña Arquitectos, the space includes touches from Mallorcan artisans and craftspeople, plus a standout pool, restaurant and bar. The interiors include tiles by Huguet, tables by Zanat and, in the bedrooms, latticed headboards by Gemla and lighting from Örsjö. Chef Xema Álvarez serves Mallorca-inspired classics, tapas and Spanish wine but the best place to soak up the scene is on a lounger in the shade of a palm on the sunny poolside terrace.

Book club / ‘Making a Great Exhibition’

Young at art

Exhibitions should be more than pictures on walls or sculptures in spaces (writes Nyasha Oliver). At their best, they’re windows into new worlds that can inspire and inform. Making a Great Exhibition is a new book from the imprint of the David Zwirner gallery. This hardback children’s title dives into the roles of curators and archivists with beautiful illustrations and insight.

Authors Doro Globus and Rose Blake have used their combined artistic knowledge to cover pretty much every question that a curious child could ask – from “Where do painters work?” to “Who moves the art around?” – as well as some that, if we’re honest, they probably wouldn’t, unless their parents were in the industry (such as “What is a conservator?”). It also, indirectly, seems to pose adults an interesting question: do we teach children enough about art? As education budgets for the creative industries are cut, perhaps it’s time to teach our tots about the importance of putting on a show.

Heads up / Nocs earphones

Tuned in

Swedish brand Nocs Design creates audio products for the sort of people who take such things rather seriously (writes Grace Charlton). The NS1100 wireless earphones also make the sort of earnest promises that will make such people listen closely.

Image: Tony Hay

A short (well, three-minute) hearing test conducted through the app promises to calibrate the sound to the frequencies that the listener hears best. Our hearing is similar to our sight in the way that it varies from person to person, so consider this a sonic prescription. The noise-cancelling is excellent (I can confirm that listening to Italo-disco is even better than usual) but another canny idea is its “transparency mode”. No, it won’t make them or you invisible but it might prolong your life by letting in just enough sound for you to gauge traffic and bike bells as you cross the road.

Parting shot / ‘The Monocle Book of Entrepreneurs’

What’s in a name?

To celebrate the launch of ‘The Monocle Book of Entrepreneurs’, we’ve selected a smattering of inspiring advice, ideas and bright businessfolk to spotlight. This week, the golden rules of naming your enterprise.

1. Start wild. There will be time for safe ideas later, so cut loose and go on a creative safari. At this point, every idea should be welcomed, no matter how wild.

2. Head down the rabbit hole. You’re only ever one idea away from your Apple, Orange or Blackberry so explore the fruit section at your supermarket. And don’t forget to have a read of that Old Norse dictionary. You never know where you’ll find the perfect words.

3. The eureka moment is rare. Good names can be slow burners. Don’t decide too quickly: the right name will often need time to percolate.

4. Be lucky for (more than) some. Sure, you want to be big in China but have you picked a number or a colour as part of your name? If so, you should leaf through those numerous resources devoted to Chinese mythology to learn about what is lucky – and what is not.

5. Trends don’t last. Don’t plump for a name that fits the latest fashion if you want it to age gracefully. Name for keeps.

6. Don’t box yourself in. Always choose a moniker that allows for an expanded business, service or product line.

7. Don’t worry about the URL. Modified URLs can work just as well. It’s sometimes helpful to split naming ideas into types or constructs so that you’re ticking all boxes.

8. If in doubt, make it up. This is generally a good idea if done with care. The trick is to take a word with positive associations that are relevant to your business then change a letter or two – and bingo. Or Bipgo. See? Easy.

For more inspiring start-ups, tips, advice and provocations about making your passion your vocation, pick up a copy of ‘The Monocle Book of Entrepreneurs’. Have a super Sunday.


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