Monocle #156

Monocle has its eyes on new frontiers, from health-tech breakthroughs in France to growing coffee in Sicily. Refreshed and revitalised from a summer break, we get back to work in three new media HQs and meet Dries Van Noten. Plus: the thinkers and fighters plotting Ukraine’s renaissance.

Issue 156 - September 2022

At the front

  • Editor’s letter: It might be the end of summer for our readers in the northern hemisphere but September is a time to get things done, make plans and celebrate the triumph of ambition over hardship.
  • The Opener: Rubbish collecting in Zürich, a fishy name change and eavesdropping on the fashion set.
  • Push the envelope: Can we deliver on the US postal service’s wettest job? We sent our best man to try.
  • Setting the tempo: She’s one of Africa’s greatest stars but the legendary singer is still fighting for change for the continent’s youth.
  • My cabinet: Dutch biking evangelist Taco Carlier introduces the team that’s electrifying bicycle-making and getting urban riders on the road in cities worldwide.

The Agenda: Global briefings

  • Ancient Greek: Greeks and Turks are working together to protect Istanbul’s heritage.
  • Affairs: Finland’s exemplary education system, new uniforms for the Swiss army and Andrew Mueller on the Nato summit.
  • Comment: Project Change is helping former protestors find work or a return to education.
  • Business: Flying high at the Farnborough International Airshow and free umbrella rental.
  • Culture: A historic Paris printing press’s move to a state-of-the-art atelier, a solar-powered website and the new administrator of the Pulitzer prizes.
  • Urbanism: The park project reconnecting Bangkok’s residents with their city’s canals.
  • Design: Stockholm’s new public installation and Nolan Giles on architectural photography shot on film.

Global views: Long reads

  • Living with war: We travel across Ukraine to find a nation fighting a war but also a people trying to prepare for a better future.
  • Ruling by consensus: Deep into his second term as president, Joko Widodo is in a hurry to shore up his legacy. We join him as he tours ‘a new Bali’.
  • Shot in the arm: France is banking on the future of medicine. All it needs is a healthy dose of investment.
  • Fit for purpose: Fitness tech isn’t new but for key player Apple, it’s not just about squats and downward dogs. There is a moral mission too: to help you live better and longer.
  • Older and wiser: Want to start a business in your fifties? A ‘wisdom school’ in Mexico will give you faith.
  • Espresso yourself: Enterprising Sicilian roasters are embracing a changing climate by growing their own coffee beans.
  • The right move: A smart HQ can make all the difference – to productivity and morale but also to a company’s confidence in its output. Here we survey three media businesses that have recently invested in new homes, from a tabloid newspaper in Aarhus to a radio station in Seattle, because they know that good design matters.
  • Immaculate collection: A great auteur and a fresh film talent vie with super-sized art, musical returns and literary explorations of identity to excite our intellectual curiosity.
  • Heart and home: Laidback hotel Ett Hem offers a space where guests can get away from the rigours of city life. And now an expansion is enhancing this tranquil urban oasis.
  • Engine rooms: Good workplace design can be decisive in winning over clients – as well as in tempting remote workers back to the office. We run down the ground rules.
  • Tent revival: Outdoors firm Snow Peak is enticing reluctant campers into nature – with a Kengo Kuma-designed spa.
  • Flights of fancy: Dries Van Noten made his name as part of the ‘Antwerp Six’, a grouping that put Belgian designers on the map in the 1980s. Now he’s thinking big again after selling a stake in his business to Puig. Here he tells Monocle what’s next for his eponymous label.
  • Smart money: From lab-grown diamonds to luxury handbag rentals, fermented skincare and textiles made from plants and paper pulp, these are the hottest fashion and beauty trends for savvy retail investors to look into right now.
  • Breeze into autumn: The days might still be sunny but you’ll want to be prepared if there’s a chill in the air on late-summer evenings or early-morning autumnal commutes. Here’s how to layer up with style.


  • Sunny outlook: The salt-kissed island’s capital Cagliari is both bustling city and laidback beach town – and somehow unlike anywhere else in Italy.
  • Cutting the mustard: A vast new gastronomic centre, classic food halls and an ambitious generation of chefs are making Burgundy hot. We tuck in to more than the word on the grapevine.
  • Table talk: Wine and cheese tasting in Amsterdam, Japanese dishes meet seasonal Finnish ingredients, Australian craft gin and a Parisian bar with a global twist – here are our tantalising food and drink picks for this month.
  • Room service: Transformed townhouses, refurbished residences and fresh forays into hospitality feature in this issue’s round-up of your new favourite places to stay. Check in and tune out.
  • Objects of desire: From power on the go to a mobile lightshow and the sound silence, we pick out the essential new gadgets to make you sigh.
  • Welcome aboard: The legendary Swiss flight attendant ready to welcome you aboard.


  • Building optimism: Tunis has a glorious mix of architecture, from Islamic arches to modern skyscrapers. But its modernist post-independence treasures don’t always get the care they need. Now the city’s architects and campaigners are coming to the defence of edifices that celebrated the nation’s freedom from colonialism.