Friday 19 April 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 19/4/2024

The Monocle Minute

Breaking news

Israel launched strikes into Iran overnight, according to reports. For the latest and our analysis, tune in to The Globalist on Monocle Radio at 07.00 London time.

The Opinion

Image: Andrea Pugiotto

Design / Grace Charlton

That Seventies show

The design industry has been out in full force in Milan this week, launching new products, staging installations and mingling over drinks into the early hours. Everyone I have spoken to at Salone del Mobile seems to agree that this year has felt busier than ever – but also more joyous and, dare I say, a little sexy. After last year’s prevalence of bouclé upholstering and neutral tones, colour, sleek aluminium and glossy textures that invoke the spirit of the 1970s are coming to the fore.

At Design Space AlUla, French design collective Hall Haus’ seating system Haus Dari (pictured) has a 1970s feel (you can imagine it filling a conversation pit). On Piazza Santo Stefano, UK designer Faye Toogood is showing Cosmic, a collection for Italian furniture company Tacchini that features satin sofas and rounded coffee tables. On the walls, Rude, her new series of rugs for Milan-based CC-Tapis, draws inspiration from sexuality, bodies and the colour palette of Francis Bacon’s paintings. At 10 Corso Como, Danish brand Verner Panton has created a velvet-clad lounge to psychedelic effect for Capsule Plaza’s collective exhibition. One design practice that has taken inspiration from the 1970s to an extreme is California’s Nuova group, which has painstakingly created a time portal to 1971 in a bistro on Via Stampa, with the help of a suede scent, mustard-yellow furnishings and music from the decade.

To me, this resurgence of design’s more playful, colourful side indicates that perhaps last year’s minimalism failed to capture the imagination. Of course, aesthetic movements and market preferences come and go. But I sensed concern this week that design’s accelerating pace of trend cycles will eventually match that of the fashion industry. It’s tricky. Minimalism and maximalism are both valid parts of the spectrum but, as consumers, we should be wary of flipping between one and the other. To avoid falling prey to the hype, developing personal taste is, as ever, a great place to start.

Grace Charlton is a Monocle writer and the deputy project editor of Monocle’s dedicated ‘Salone del Mobile Special’ newspaper, which is available now on select newsstands across Europe and online. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Image: Reuters


Running out of gas

The US has reimposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector in response to the country’s failure to adhere to democratic principles ahead of its elections in July. Last year the two nations signed a six-month deal in which the restrictions would be eased, provided that Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, committed to allowing freer elections. As The Monocle Minute reported in October, the agreement was hailed as a significant step towards improving relations between the two countries.

Over the past six months, however, the US Department of State has accused the Maduro administration of preventing the opposition from registering its preferred candidate and harassing its political rivals. The president is clearly seeking to ensure that the election is a one-horse race. But even if he wins, he will have more problems to contend with – such as figuring out how to handle the country’s worst-ever economic crisis.


Western front

Manera was founded by Enric Pastor, former editor in chief of AD Magazine, in 2022 and has since established itself as Spain’s premier design-and-architecture publication. This week the brand unveiled Manera Mexico, its Latin American counterpart, which will run every three months under the direction of former AD México editor María Alcocer.

For Pastor, starting Manera Mexico was an obvious decision. “We have featured articles and reports in Manera from the country since day one, so it felt natural to launch a new edition there,” he tells The Monocle Minute. “Mexico has a high degree of excellence in craftsmanship and a strong cultural identity, which is now drawing on its pre-Hispanic heritage.”


Growth plan

On Milan’s Corso Como, there’s a digital advert for Zegna but it’s not about the fashion house’s primary product. “The second-best thing we do is clothing,” it says, above a picture of a tree. “The first is Oasi Zegna.” During Milan Design Week, the brand has finally decided to draw attention to its long-running preservation work in the Biella Alps of Piedmont. What started in 1910 as a reforestation programme around Zegna’s wood mill has evolved into a huge public oasis where people come to walk and take part in activities among the more than 500,000 trees planted as part of the initiative.

Image: Zegna
Image: Zegna

On Sunday, Zegna published Born in Oasi Zegna, a book produced with Rizzoli, and the brand has turned its Milan headquarters into a green haven. Zegna is hoping to launch similar projects worldwide; for now, it has agreed to look after plant beds in Milan’s Piazza Duomo for the next three years. That’s one way for a company to honour its roots.

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Jack Davidson/Moncler

Photo of the week / Moncler x Milano Centrale

Outside perspectives

This week luxury outerwear brand Moncler took over Milano Centrale station for an exhibition titled An Invitation to Dream, which runs until this Sunday. The label has covered the station’s façade with London-based photographer Jack Davison’s portraits of creatives such as Egyptian food artist Laila Gohar, Japanese singer Rina Sawayama and Indian-American author Deepak Chopra.

Image: The Bicester Collection

Monocle Radio / The Entrepreneurs

Scott Malkin and Value Retail

Tyler Brûlé speaks to the founder of Value Retail, Scott D Malkin, about Belmont Park Village in New York. The latest addition to The Bicester Collection family of shopping-tourism destinations marks the company’s debut in North America. Malkin tells us about the limitations of online retail, the importance of superior hospitality and the challenges posed by technology.


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