Monday 15 April 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 15/4/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Trade / Ed Stocker

Fun of the fair

Someone must be having a word with the man upstairs because, every year, Milan transforms itself just in time for its biggest event: Salone del Mobile. In the weeks leading up to the furniture fair and its spin-off event, Milan Design Week, the city is almost always in the final throes of winter, with leaden skies and rain. But then somebody hits a switch, the trees sprout huge green manes, the cold is swapped for warm sunshine and the bars prepare themselves for the aperitivo onslaught.

At no point in the year is Milan as vibrant as it is now. Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week (aka Fuorisalone) are the city’s chance to show the world the very best of what it has to offer. If you’re at the Rho trade fair, that means knuckling down for business. It’s a chance to take in the diversity of Italy’s furniture industry, alongside the wares of overseas exhibitors. This year also marks the return of Eurocucina, with the theme of “Technology for the Kitchen”.

Image: Andrea Pugiotto
Image: Andrea Pugiotto

The city centre will be flush with pop-up showrooms and drinks gatherings, while many smart conversations will also be taking place. It’s always a race to bag the best venues, with negotiations for the next event beginning almost as soon as one edition ends. Monocle has pulled off a coup in hosting our series of breakfast talks with partner V-Zug in the reading room of the Pinacoteca di Brera, running from this morning until Wednesday. If you’re in the neighbourhood, check out our collaboration with House of Switzerland at Casa degli Artisti, where Monocle Radio will be interviewing designers all week.

Be sure to head to Phillipe Starck’s installation at Triennale, as well as Salone Satellite’s 25th-anniversary exhibition. A trip to the trade hall is another must, as is a jolly to Brianza for the always hotly anticipated Alcova design platform. For more tips, pick up our beautiful, Bolzano-printed Salone del Mobile Special newspaper. It’s on all good newsstands now.

Ed Stocker is Monocle’s Europe editor at large, based in Milan. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Image: Getty Images

Politics / India

Pushing the vote out

India’s general election will kick off later this week, with polls opening on Friday. With about 969 million eligible voters, it will be the world’s largest-ever democratic exercise. Because of the scale, Friday’s vote will be the first part of a staggered process that will take place over the next six weeks.

The results will be announced on 4 June, though polling suggests that Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win a third five-year term. It’s unclear, however, whether the BJP will be able to make inroads in the country’s opposition-dominated south. A Modi win would make him one of the country’s longest-serving leaders and would likely further entrench BJP policy into India’s political system.


Lines in the sand

Iraq’s prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, is meeting Joe Biden in Washington today. The visit comes at a moment of high tension in the Middle East following this weekend’s attack on Israel by Iran. Hundreds of missiles and drones were launched from Iran at Israel on Saturday night, most of which were intercepted and shot down with the help of US, UK and Jordanian forces. The attack was in response to the assassination of several high-ranking military personnel at the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, earlier this month.

Iran is a key ally of Iraq and the bilateral talks will focus on preventing a spillover of violence in the region. “The western response shows that Israel’s allies, despite their criticism over its conduct in Gaza, will be on Israel’s side,” Yossi Mekelberg, an associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, tells the Monocle Minute. “The fact that both Saudi Arabia and Jordan also reportedly assisted in Israel’s defence is a big deal.”

For all the latest updates on Iran’s attack on Israel tune in to The Globalist, on Monocle Radio, at 07:00am London time.

Architecture / Finland

All part of the design

Today, Finland launched an international competition to find a team to conceive a new museum of architecture and design for Helsinki. The building, which will be located in the capital’s South Harbour, will combine the existing Design Museum Helsinki with the Museum of Finnish Architecture. It will draw on the history of Nordic architecture and house more than 900,000 artefacts showcasing the work of Finnish practitioners. The development will be a vibrant addition to the area, which is one of the city’s most significant waterfront sites. And, according to the chair of the competition’s jury, Mikko Aho, the venture will enhance Helsinki’s global profile as an international design capital.

Beyond the Headlines

In print / ‘Salone del Mobile Special’

Bright spark

With its irreverent embrace of bold colours and fun, Milan’s Memphis group re-energised interior and furniture design in Italy in the late 20th century. Monocle visits the city to meet the next generation of designers working to build on its legacy.

Image: Luigi Fiano
Image: Luigi Fiano
Image: Luigi Fiano

To read the full article, pick up a copy of Monocle’s ‘Salone del Mobile Special’ newspaper, which is available online and on newsstands now.

Monocle Radio / The Stack

Food for thought

We speak to Simon Kuper about his new book, Impossible City: Paris in the Twenty-First Century. Plus: food titles at a special event at Salone del Mobile and the return of Saveur magazine.


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