France bids farewell to a musical icon | Monocle

Friday. 14/6/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Faye Toogood and Frama creative director Niels Strøyer Christophersen

Image: Mathias Eis

Design / Grace Charlton

At Copenhagen’s 3 Days of Design, togetherness and community are the focus – and the industry should take note

“This is really about combining energy,” said Faye Toogood as we celebrated her collaboration with Frama over cocktails during Copenhagen’s 3 Days of Design trade fair. The UK designer and her team have transformed the homeware brand’s Copenhagen shop, a former apothecary in the Frederiksstaden district, with a site-specific installation featuring colourful tables and decorations in pink, green and yellow. Entitled “Collage”, the display explores the value of designers and brands taking the time to meet and share moments with each other. That’s a sentiment that has been reflected across the Danish capital this week.

There has, of course, been impeccable design on show but that’s not the only thing that this trade fair is about. In the town centre, Danish furniture company Muuto has opened up its secluded courtyard so that visitors can enjoy a morning brew and snacks from Copenhagen roasters Prolog Coffee and restaurant Foodoir. Japanese brand Ariake is whisking people by boat from Nyhavn to design distributor Est18’s waterside showroom in Holmen. Almost every brand, designer and collective is encouraging conversations and new encounters between visitors.

Since its launch in 2013, 3 Days of Design has rapidly grown in influence, to the point of now rivalling Milan’s Salone del Mobile. Today it seems that the quiet confidence of the Danes, who tend to avoid novelty for novelty’s sake, is resonating with consumers who don’t necessarily want an annual refit. Instead, many are seeking to return to the essence of design – a commitment to everyday beauty combined with functionality rather than just the bottom line.

Grace Charlton is Monocle’s associate editor. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings


Why the property sector is keeping its eye on geopolitical flashpoints

The world is changing at a rapid pace, so it should come to no surprise that geopolitical risk is permeating industries from health and finance to culture and real estate. The latter was evident when Monocle visited this week’s annual Urban Land Institute Europe conference in Milan, which gathers international real-estate developers, investors, architects and authorities to discuss the effect of trends on the property sector.

Among them was José Manuel Durão Barroso, former president of the European Commission. According to Barroso, managing these risks has become a priority for many governments, which are focusing not only on economic efficiency but also on resilience. “We’re now experiencing a much more volatile, polarised and unpredictable world,” he tells The Monocle Minute. Despite this, he believes that there’s still plenty of scope for change. “Sometimes, it’s only when facing a crisis that European leaders are ready to make difficult decisions.”


Japan feels the blues over the retirement of a bright-yellow bullet train

Japan’s government announced this week that the country’s beloved Doctor Yellow will be retiring in January. For those readers unacquainted with the national figure, it might be worth explaining that Doctor Yellow is not some TV physician but a special shinkansen train that has long been used to provide data on the conditions of the railway system’s tracks and overhead wires. Farewell events will be held for fans who want to bid goodbye to the bright-yellow icon. These will offer rare opportunities for observers to see the train up close. Because it operates on an undisclosed schedule, sightings have been few and far between; the lucky few who have spotted it consider it a sign of good luck.

Travelling at speeds of up to 443km/h, Doctor Yellow can carry nine crew members, including drivers and technicians who analyse the information gathered on the journey. No official successor has been announced. The Central Japan Railway Co will instead inspect tracks using N700S bullet trains kitted out with observation equipment.

Image: Getty Images


Annecy Film Festival criticised for its inclusion of AI-made features

More than 16,000 people have gathered in southeastern France this week for the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which ends on Saturday. Hundreds of independent artists have premiered their features and pitched stories to industry players such as Disney and Netflix during the event. Audiences, however, have criticised the decision to include films made using artificial intelligence (AI).

On Sunday the screening of Chien Méchant’s “Étoile filante” music video, produced using generative AI, received a rare bout of booing from spectators, prompting discussions about the role of the technology in filmmaking. But not everyone believes that the industry is under threat. “New technologies won’t get anywhere without a human connection,” James A Castillo, the Emmy-winning director of virtual-reality film Madrid Noir, tells The Monocle Minute. “Anything cultural that has ever truly moved audiences was made by a human. The industry will find its groove again.”

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Getty Images

Photo of the week / Françoise Hardy

France bids farewell to a musical icon

This week France lost one of its most beloved music icons: Françoise Hardy has died at the age of 80. Known for her beautiful, breathy ballads, she began her career in 1962 and recorded 32 albums, inspiring the likes of Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan. Over more than six decades, Hardy became the epitome of French elegance, modelling for labels such as Yves Saint Laurent and Paco Rabanne.

Monocle Radio / The Entrepreneurs

Moyagi and Clown Cardio

This week’s show is a celebration of having fun. Monocle Radio’s Fernando Augusto Pacheco belts out his favourite tunes at Moyagi, a new London karaoke bar that pays homage to the medium’s Japanese origins. Plus: we meet the creator of Clown Cardio, a fitness programme based on physical theatre and the art of clowning.


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