Monocle #144

Our jubilant June issue is an artful thing indeed. Not least for its dedicated survey on the best auctions, gallery openings, studios and collectors sculpting the creative scene. We also eye up Iraq’s unlikely tourism play, profile the folks behind Japan’s will-they-won’t-they Olympics and get a first look at LVMH’s stunning makeover of an iconic Parisian department store.

There’s also a transport theme speeding through the issue, from our exploration of the future of flight and choice insights on supersonic travel and e-planes to the urban infrastructure improvements we’re betting on and insights into the fast-escalating business of lifts. Not to mention recommendations, recipes and fresh reporting aplenty.

Issue 144 - June 2021

At the front

  • Editor’s letter: It’s boarding time, says Andrew Tuck, as he sets his sights on the Tokyo Olympics.
  • The opener: Rev your engines and wind down the windows as we begin our whistle-stop tour of global transport with dispatches from the first cycle to the last mile. Plus: football and dogs.
  • Observation: There’s a swell time to be had in the Swiss Alps. Visitors are ditching crampons and taking to the waves at a pool hundreds of metres above sea level. Surf’s up!
  • The view from..: In our column asking accomplished people for their take on events and culture, we speak to the Brazilian actress about the influence telenovelas have on society and politics, and her support for diversity in the country’s film and television industry.
  • My cabinet: some 300km north of Scotland, the Faroe Islands archipelago is spread across 18 mountainous islands served by a hardy helicopter crew who are on hand to save stranded sailors and livestock alike.


  • Missing links: As the world gets moving once again, we highlight the grand-scale transit projects that would give cities and nations new momentum.
  • Open invitation: After years of conflict and instability, Iraq is opening up to tourism. Thanks to a new visa scheme, citizens of almost 40 countries can gain access quickly and easily – but will they come?
  • Diplomacy Briefing: Taiwan’s representative in the US talks cat diplomacy, and Germany and Hungary fall out over football.
  • Defence Briefing: The French navy doubles down on aircraft carriers and Poland’s aircraft purchase from the US.
  • Cities Briefing: We sit down with the woman who could be Copenhagen’s next mayor and explore a park project in Busan.


  • Taking flight: Almost 20 years since Concorde was grounded, a host of competitors claim to be on the verge of returning to a world of supersonic flight – and sustainability too. But many barriers remain. Fasten your seatbelts for a high-speed fantasy flight.
  • Train times: Every nation wants cleaner, smarter ways of getting around and rail is set to be the big winner. We talk speed, design and night-time adventures with Michael Peter of Siemens Mobility.
  • Business Briefing: Rethinking Japanese express-train design and the Swiss app conquering paperless ticketing.


  • Art survey 2021: After months of enforced slumber, the art world is stretching its limbs and taking a breath of fresh air. Projects waiting in the wings, events put on hold and venues kept under wraps are now seeing the light of day. Here’s our pick of this renaissance.


  • Elevated livingD: enser cities with ever-taller towers have made lift manufacturers’ businesses shoot up. But will pandemic woes and people fleeing to suburbs bring the trade to a juddering stop? No, say the key players, but do expect button-free rides and lifts that know where you are going as soon as you enter a building. We investigate the mobility giant and the ups and downs of its world.
  • Where the heart is: We need to live in places that can sustain us, will age with grace and that are parts of bigger communities. ‘The Monocle Book of Homes’ is a handbook for creating these vital spaces and, as part of a special preview, here we visit four featured homes that got the recipe right.
  • Design Briefing: Our architecture and design round-up features an Oscar-winning set designer, a long-awaited addition to a Zürich museum and plenty of inspiration.
  • The Monocle Shop: We’re diving into summer and you know what that means: hats, towels and seersucker. It can be trickier to convey your sense of style in hotter months, when a T-shirt and shorts often seem like the only options. But fear not: these warm-weather accessories and layering pieces will have you cutting a dash when you hit the beach and can be found at monocle.com/shop.


  • Crown jewel: Business is blooming in the fertile fields of Victoria’s King Valley as Melbourne’s entreprenurial ‘tree changers’ put down roots.
  • Food & Drink Briefing: Our latest food finds and scoops, from Brooklyn brewers to a Melbourne mainstay and a new Japanese joint in Hong Kong.
  • Sandwiches: The ultimate on-the-go bite – our Swiss recipe writer piles up six of the best.


  • Staying in shape: Five prominent players from across the fashion sector tell us how their industry has fared over the past year – and how they have adjusted to meet a whole new range of business opportunities. This is the future of luxury. First we meet Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, who explains how, in a year with less travel, his 137-year-old Italian luxury brand has thrived by serving clientele local to its shops – and found it rewarding in many senses.
  • Fashion Briefing: We get you in tip-top shape for summer with pieces for beach, pool and running track. Plus: a master Italian buyer and one of London’s smartest new flagships.
  • Clothes that move you: Comfort and convenience is the order of the day when it comes to dressing for travel – but not at the expense of looking good. So step out in style.


  • The good place: A first look at La Samaritaine, an icon of Parisian shopping that’s raring to make its return under the grand auspices of LVMH.
  • Snack on track: The aptly named Bridge has linked a high-end food hall to a Zürich rail stop with a platform for some of the city’s finest food brands. Neither trains nor passengers will be running on empty.
  • Inner beauty: A ryokan in the small city of Maebashi with 300 years of history has been brought up to date in stunning fashion. Now the Shiroiya is attracting premier design and hospitality talent to a quiet corner of Japan.
  • Fixed abode: A respectful restoration of a rundown modernist masterwork, the six-room Casa Pani has become a home away from home for creative thinkers.
  • Full steam ahead: The Scandic Grand Central hotel is breathing new life into one of Finland’s most beloved buildings: Helsinki’s main railway station. With stunning design and a keen sense of history, there is no way that this one will hit the buffers.
  • Travel Briefing: A new opening in New Orleans, a former mayor’s home in Amsterdam, plenty of hotel openings, independent cinemas and a top shop in Lisbon. Here are our monthly travel tips.


  • On top of their games: As Tokyo gets set to host the Olympics and Paralympics after 2020’s false start, a multitude of behind-the-scenes players have long been exercising their minds to ensure a gold-standard Games. We meet some of the unsung stars, from engineers to volunteers, who are determined to make the Games a success – even if many Japanese people remain cautious about the event taking place at all.