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Year in Review
An annual recap of our favourite magazine.
YIR: MONOCLE ’22 // BY Cornelius McGrath
Monocle is by far and away my favourite magazine.

When my new edition arrives, it is like Christmas. I rush downstairs to get it, devour it, and then place it neatly on my open bookshelf, eagerly awaiting my next.

At the end of each year, I carve out all my favourite ads, articles, quotes and scan them into my computer. Primarily for inspiration purposes but also out of necessity. I have to create enough shelf space for the entirety of next year’s editions.

I’ve done this diligently for the last two years. However, I realized there was a tacit knowledge I was losing from just doing the scans. After all, the words of the magazine and the individuals in it are often just as if not more powerful.

So I’ve decided to start publicizing my year in a review of the magazine. It includes all my favourite articles, stories, ads, pages and quotes. As well as my commentary.

This is just for me, our library and a way to archive my learning. But for fans of the Monocle brand or magazines in general, I thought you might also enjoy this format.

Putting an entire year of a magazine into a cohesive review is a real challenge. The reward is seeing its narratives, your favourite stories, takeaways and learnings from a totally different view. You are also reminded of what you loved and get to relive it.

In this process, I believe I became my own algorithm. It really forced and helped me articulate why certain ads, stories and photos caught my attention more than others.

I have absolutely no idea where this goes, which excites me. All I know is I will finally have a comprehensive answer to the question, “what did you learn last year?”

The main thing I’ve taken from Monocle is that anything is possible.

Issue 149: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 149: A few of my favourite visuals.

Dec/January, Issue 149: 1 story, 4 photos, 4 ads.

Revving the Engine, DetroitBy Mary Holland

I attended university in South Bend — a population of 100,000 people — but grew up in London, with a population of 9,000,000. So I’m naturally drawn to stories in entrepreneurial cities with low rents.

However, us big city dwellers often wrongly conflate low rent with all our problems being solved. The emerging art scene in Detroit underlines this point; regardless of how cheap rent is, it’s still tough to make local artists commercially viable.

After all, profit = revenue – expenses. 

That said, collectives that give artists residencies, exhibition spaces and tools to expand their skills (e.g. applying for grants,  creating budgets) can make things easier, but it strikes me that championing local period is difficult today.

It makes me think:

Don’t we all need access to a local collective that can provide us with the support required to forge a feasible career in the city we live? Knowledge workers unite.

Issue 150: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 150: A few of my favourite visuals.

February, Issue 150: 1 story, 4 photos, 4 ads.

Under the Umbrella, Global By Alexis Self

As an avid student of membership clubs throughout history, I’ve eagerly awaited a proper Soho House competitor to emerge. Cultureworks — the offspring of Josh Wyatt’s Neuehouse and Yoram Roth’s Fotografiska Gallery — is trying to fill those shoes. To them, Soho is “social”, whereas Cultureworks is “work, social and culture”

I’m yet to be invited to a Cultureworks. Curious how it compares. But I do often think we’ve reached peak membership club. After all, according to the founders, Cultureworks’ biggest competition isn’t Soho. It’s “getting people off the couch.”

That’s one hell of a culture to overcome, indeed. Especially for $3K/yr.

Issue 151: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 151: A few of my favourite visuals.

March, Issue 151: 6 stories, 2 photos, 1 ad.

Going the Distance, FinlandBy Gabriel Leigh

I love to travel and have flown upfront a handful of times across the world. With first-class becoming a shrinking commodity for airlines and travellers alike, I’m most interested in new biz-class offerings. Yet I must admit being unsure of Finnair’s decision not to have their new biz class seat recline because “it’s a living space more than an aircraft seat” I’m all for innovation. But let’s call a spade a spade. Shall we?

Dream Team, GlobalBy David Michon

I’m a sucker for well-written reviews. They’re the best content format out there: real, raw, attention-grabbing. A far cry from 99% of internet content. They teach you something deep about subjects you love. What could be better?

Monocle’s 15th-anniversary review didn’t disappoint. There’s just something that hits differently when you hear from a founding team 5, 10 or 15+ years in the future. You get access to a rawness and energy often just unmatched by steady-state Cetirus Paribus sustainability, which is equally admirable. 

I loved hearing from so many different founding team members. My fav quotes:

Robyn Holt: Reading this magazine will be like being lucky enough to sit next to the most interesting person at dinner and leaving it feeling well informed and at the same time having your thinking challenged.

Ken Leung: We set out to create a sophisticated and timeless brand, and 15 years later, I’m really proud of what we achieved. Working for a brand that touches so many people worldwide was amazing, but when I returned to Australia to renew my visa, I fell in love with my home again. There’s a connection to people, place and lifestyle that I never realised I missed.

Pamela Mullinger: We have created a life that’s as good as London.

Ann Marie Gardner: The main thing I’ve taken from Monocle is that anything is possible. There’s always a way to get someone to a remote island on the other side of the world; there’s always a way to get access to a crazy place. That’s an amazing skill to have. I was the second editorial hire after Andrew Tuck. He needed someone who could interpret the US, so I split time between London and New York.

Tom Morriss: Now I design a room as I would put in a magazine, asking questions such as ‘Does this actually need to be there?’

Poppy Shibamato: I moved to California because my husband got his dream job there; I felt like I had my dream job for 9 years, so it was his time to do his thing.

Dan Hill: My work since leaving was massively informed by how we worked at Monocle to; convey ideas that cut through and give people something engaging to hang on to.

Issue 151: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 151: A few of my favourite visuals.

All Aboard, Global By Tyler Brule

I resonated deeply with many of the points in the reflective 15 years later letter by Monocle’s founder Tyler Brule. But non more than this:

This is the problem with a narrowing news agenda and companies that choose not to stick up for journalists or commentators who present a different POV: we end up with a bland, global news cycle that doesn’t challenge, is focused on the loudest interest groups and ends up doing little for discussion or freedom of speech.

Head of Steam, MuuraaneBy Petri Burtsoff

Life’s just better with Sauna. My first apartment building had one. My current doesn’t. I miss it daily and am living vicariously through the businesses capitalising on this preventative health shift, especially here in the USA. Food for thought:

Founded in 1950, Harvia is now one of the world’s biggest sauna companies. Its portfolio includes 20 different product families of sauna heaters annually, both electric and wood burning. Harvia sells between 230,000 and 300,00 sauna heaters yearly and about 20,000 sauna units.

Turnover in North America has grown by 80% in 2020. The slogan is now healing with heat. We’re talking about a $3BN market growing 5-10% YOY. More than 60% of revenues in the global sauna market comes from replacement demand, which makes it a resilient sector, and Harvia is the top brand there.

The Finnish way to enjoy a sauna is in high temperatures for an hour or more, which can feel extreme to many. And the Sauna needs to be by a lake so you can take a dip to cool off. The Sauna is about more than just physical relaxation; it’s for the mind too. And it’s about enjoying something together.

Issue 151: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 151: A few of my favourite visuals.
Talk of the Town, MunichBy Anne Urbaeur

I’ve got time for anybody running a successful business that lasts, especially in hospitality. I’ve seen some of the “best” restaurants open and close, which makes me think that running a successful hospitality venture has almost nothing to do with the quality of food and drink and everything to do with how you make people feel night after night through conversation and who you prioritise as customers (e.g. writers > celebrities). This piece seems to support my thesis.

It’s still the same way we set the tables and welcome the guests, says Doreen Ciuces, now in her 13th year at the bar. The night always starts with Miles Davis.

You do your best for the people you like so you get to see them again. For me, that’s writers, authors, journalists. I’ve always been an avid reader and had the insight that writers might make great customers – conversation is what a bar is all about, not just drinking.

New Frontier, Salt Lake City By Christopher Lord

Whenever I hear somebody say, “X is the new Denver”, I cringe a little. I’m yet to travel to Utah, and I do know some cool people doing cool things there, so maybe that’s why I gave this one the time of the day. How long will the Utah hype last?

I’ll let you decide.

Utah has been the fastest-growing US state over the past decade as Americans search for cheaper rents, lower taxes and new opportunities. It’s an excellent base for tapping into the American West. It’s an easy commute to ongoing projects in Sun Valley, Idaho; as a city, it is more accessible than Denver. From my office, I’m 10 minutes from the airport and 40 minutes from world-class skiing.

For a long time, the city struggled with a reputation for being dour and insular and dominated by the Church of Latter-day Saints. Settled in the 1840s by Moron pioneers fleeing religious persecution, the city streets were built wide enough for a cart and oxen to make a U-turn. Until 2017, restaurants had to keep the mixing of drinks out of sight of their punters, fearing that the seductive shimmer of a well-slung cocktail shaker could entice impressionable youth. A so-called Zion Curtain.

You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. 

Issue 152: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 152: A few of my favourite visuals.

April, Issue 152: 0 stories, 4 photos, 1 ad.

They say a picture is often worth a thousand words. This is the superpower of Monocle. It’s the quality of their stories to the power of their visuals.

Issue 153: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 153: A few of my favourite visuals.

May, Issue 153: 1 story, 2 photos, 2 ads.

Book SmartsBy Nic Monisse

Anytime I hear worldbuilding, my ears perk up. I worry it’ll soon get commoditised by consultants, but for right now, it’s usually a sign of people who are thinking deeply about the real work they do. If I hear worldbuilding and West London in the same sentence — the place where I was born and went to school — I’m all over it.

I give you Frith Kerr.

Frith Kerr’s West London home is packed with books that span genres and decades. You can find copies of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a 1960 translation of ancient poetry by Rolfe Humphries, 1986’s Hollywood Husbands by Jackie Collins and Cocaine Nights by JG Ballard, from 1996. Like the books she read in her youth, Kerr looks to make connections on behalf of the clients whose story she is telling. Today that includes fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, Tuscany Hotel Il Pellicano, publisher Rizzoli, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

As a teenager, I didn’t listen to music. I just read and read because I was interested in exploring other worlds. I wanted to find a way to explore and build worlds for people. And it seemed that art school would allow that to happen.

To build worlds for these brands and people, Kerr goes through an intensive research process. It’s about going in deep and exploring the subject matter. Doing the research and building a solid foundation and depth of understanding allows us to go further creatively.”One of my favourite authors, Rebecca Solnit, has written a wonderful book called A Field Guide to Getting Lost, where she talks about creating work that frees up your future. And I feel that’s what designers can do for people: we create the future and change how people feel about that future.

Issue 154: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 154: A few of my favourite visuals.

June, Issue 154: 4 stories, 5 photos, 3 ads.

Sounds Good By Nolan Giles

As a North London boy, Koko and Camden will forever have a special place in my heart. I’ve never actually gone to the venue (I know, shocking), which may be why it has a particular cache and mystery to me. Add to that history my penchant for membership clubs, and you know why I just adored this story. 

If I ever moved back to London, it would be to belong to something like this. For real. You enter through the doors of a 19th-century pub. The club has a penthouse recording studio and broadcasting suite, and memberships available are artists in exchange for performing. This is London at its best. 

A thought: shouldn’t we add membership clubs to all historic venues? Is that the real Soho competitor? Memberships in exchange for performances sound awfully like the Detroit collective, doesn’t it? A membership collective? Interesting.

Chew the fat on that one. Here are some notes for the interim:

Koko’s hosted the BBC, Stones, The Clash, The Jam, Sex Pistols, Amy Winehouse and Arcade Fire’s relaunch. The club includes and penthouse recording studio and broadcasting suite.

From a technical standpoint, this meant working with British speaker manufacturer Funktion-One, to provide a sound system in the members’ club that creates an ambience without overwhelming conversations around the bar and tables

It’s a spot for doing business in a rock’n’roll manner.

Making By Hand By Stella Roos

I love builders, yet I know close to zero architects. I thought it was cool that this university held a competition to decide who would design their new school. Per Tom Friedman, Jump Balls are still so underutilized. I don’t understand why.

The fact it was won by three “Aarch” alumni who founded their firm on their graduation day in 2006 was the icing on the cake. I’ve long been shocked by how little universities leverage their own alumni bases as a workforce. They only ask for donations. Employment is a great two-way transaction. People want to give back. Universities could be so much more dangerous and valuable if they found ways to leverage their alums effectively by supporting their futures. Ironic? 

It’s old-fashioned to say, but architects are also builders. There was also a time when many thought we should just be in some academic institution, reading books and having nerdy thoughts. But it’s not only necessary to know things; you should also be able to do them.

In Danish, we say, ‘hoit til loftet’, which means high ceilings in both the literal and symbolic sense. These spaces have a lot of flexibility for use.

The open layout also provides a close connection between the different parts of the school. When Krogh was a student, Aarch was spread out across 10 different locations in the city. Creates that feeling of unity.

Designed to make the students better architects, the new home of Aarch might have inadvertently made them happier too. The Aarhus student stress survey was cut in half. The old design meant you could months without bumping into friends. Here, you’re more up and going, meeting people constantly. You’re running up and down between the workshops and desks and not just sitting on the computer, isolating yourself.

Issue 154: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 154: A few of my favourite visuals.

Lined UpBy David Hodari

If only I’d had the pleasure of commuting to school during the Elizabeth Line era. It would have saved me so much time, headspace and sweat. Despite the new railway being four years late and $5B over budget, I don’t think anybody will remember. It’s that good. I also really like the guy (Andy Byford) heading up TFL. He was hired in 2020 by Sadqi Khan, has a formidable track record, and isn’t scared to take on higher ups based on his time in New York.

Some quotes that I think are just mind-boggling:

London’s transport systems require more than $700M/mo to operate. The city’s network relies on ridership fees for 72% of its revenue – about 2x that of New York and Paris. Byford’s predecessor had built a sizeable war chest of more than threee months’ operating costs; TFL blew through it to pay staff when pandemic ridership plunged by 95%.

In late 2017, he was asked to run New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. He initially did well, speeding up trains and making stations more accessible, so New Yorkers gave Byford – a polite Englishman from Plymouth – the nickname ‘Train Daddy’

But the US left its mark on Byford. New York also taught him to manage his superiors, not just his employees. Like his grandfather, a bus driver, and his father, the commissioner’s career began on London transport as a foreman at Regent’s Park Tube station.

By the time it finally opens to passengers, the Elizabeth Line will have cost taxpayers $22B. Does London even need it? “Were it proposed now, then the business case would look somewhat different. But should we regret having built it? Absolutely not. You can go from Canary Wharf to Heathrow in 40 minutes. Try going from Manhattan to LaGuardia at that time. I give you the Elizabeth line.

You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. 

Issue 155: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 155: A few of my favourite visuals.

July/August, Issue 155: 4 stories, 4 photos, 1 ad.

Dreams Take Flight, London — By Carlota Rebeloo

I love to fly and have long been fascinated by the life of pilots. I’m lucky to have known a few. They’re all unique, and this veteran British Airways long-haul pilot is no exception. He’s a multiple-time best-selling author, which feels like a bit of a fairytale, but makes total sense when you consider the perspective and wisdom he must get from the sky on a daily basis. All problems look small from 35,000 feet.

School of Thought — By Unknown

I think it’s quite fantastic that we have a bookseller diploma in the world. And the fact that it is this school’s most popular course tells me a lot about what we’re yearning for in this digital era and the impact books have on our lives.

What if MBA = Master’s in Book Administration? Would the world change?

If people have a good experience in the bookshop we run, other bookshops will benefit.

While the school’s most popular course is the two-year post-baccalaureate bookseller diploma (aimed at 16-to-29-year-olds), it also offers shorter training courses for adults who want to change careers. There is a bit of a pattern among our mature students. Most of them are between 35 and 50 and in lucrative jobs, but they long for more purpose in their professional lives.

The school’s activities are rooted in the belief that to become a good libraire you need more than a passion for books. The Ecole teaches students three key facets of the profession: stockkeeping, customer relations and management.

We’re in a country where the profession of the libraire is still very much alive. At the school, we nurture this close, almost intimate, relationship between vendor and buyer. We might not have the same presence as Amazon, but on some levels, we win – curation, conviviality and advice.

They say the bookseller has an intellectual and managerial role, but a third point is just as important: you must love people.

Read All About It, Kuala Lumpur — By Naomi Xu Elegant

I’m yet to travel to Malaysia. However, it’s a place that fascinates me. A close friend grew up there, and it’s always good to hear stories about a place that doesn’t involve British backpackers trying to find themselves.

This story caught my attention because of the bloke curating “rooms to read” for various hotels across the country. If that isn’t the coolest job ever, then I don’t know what is. Maybe it’s my vinyl record player, but I also resonate with the notion that we’re moving away from the internet. It’s stopped feeling essential.”

Malaysia boasts one of the world’s highest literacy rates, but a 2016 report found that among Malaysians who read regularly, just 3 per cent picked up a book, most preferring to read a newspaper. According to the National Library of Malaysia, demand for digital reading material doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.

Independent sellers are betting that the pandemic-era pick-up in reading will sustain and translate into in-store sales. They are finding ways to boost physical retail, from befriending customers and stocking niche paperbacks to opening cafes and curating the shelves of boutique hotels.

If you got into the big chain bookshops, you’ll see that most of the shelf is all books about wealth management and how to make money. We don’t want to sell those books. It’s not about simply making money; it’s about enriching your own thinking, life, and mind through knowledge.

Nazir Haritht Fadzilah amassed a huge collection of books as an engineering student in Melbourne and wanted to bring his favourites back to Malaysia. In 2006 he opened an independent bookshop Tintaabudi in KL and began selling from his personal library along with publishers he discovered at book festivals. Nazir has expanded Ttintabudi’s business model, publishing a local author’s poetry collection and collaborating with the Kloe Hotel to curate their “room to read”, one of the culture-themed suites at the venue. Some Kloe guests have become Tintabudi partons.

There is a movement away from the internet and back to books. It’s an exciting progression. Much of what they sell is available in bigger shops, but people seek them out because they feel connected to the business.

Issue 156: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 156: A few of my favourite visuals.

September, Issue 156: 2 stories, 2 photos, 2 ads.

Table Talk, Paris — By AW

Part of the reason I’m so drawn to hospitality is that you’re encouraged to DJ; mix tracks, cuisines, styles and ingredients to your heart’s desire. And then admit to it publically and be celebrated for the mix you came up with. This is in stark reality to the business and writing world, where people pretend they made up everything themselves or feel like they can only DJ through the “acquisition” of assets or voices.

Another example here of a concept where the food is secondary – is this a trend?

We have taken inspiration from the festivity of Tel Aviv, the clubs of London and the jazz cafes of Tokyo,” says Lombardi. The upshot? A space that feels jovial yet grown-up with a wood-and-mirror panelled interior, dim lighting and plenty of vinyl from Lombardi’s impressive record collection.

Driving Change, USA — By Louis Harnett O’Meara

I’ve lived in America for 10 years, and I still don’t drive. How have I survived? It’s a better question for my old friend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who now runs the DOT but used to run South Bend during my time at Notre Dame. America’s obsession with cars is something I’ll probably never understand, but I can tell you this country would be able to transform itself and its ideas around what great cities look like if it would just invest in railways in the same way it invested in its highways.

In 1950s America, new was good and old was bad. Driving this attitude was the car. Cheaper vehicles and rising incomes led to US automobile sales of almost 58 million over the course of the decade. Sure, obstructive neighbourhoods were razed, but it was for the greater good – or so the story used to go.

Roads and railways can connect us to jobs, services and loved knees, but we’ve also seen countless cases around the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighbourhood or a community.

The scheme intends to right such wrongs by handing out $1B of grants over the next five years to projects redeveloping divisive infrastructure. This is a modest but significant turning point,” says Rick Cole, executive director of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an organisation that promotes walkable cities.

Jacobs thought that cities should be walkable, tightly interconnected spaces that served the needs of their communities. We hope this is a step towards rebuilding our world.

Fit For Purpose, Los Angeles By David Phelan

As an avid WHOOP user, I often wonder how much longer it’ll be before Apple make a proper go of fitness. Turns out they already are. But since I refuse to wear an Apple Watch, I’ve been naively living in the shadows, nor have I heard any of my friends talk about the fitness content. And who can blame them? We’re talking about one of if not the most oversaturated space from a content perspective. But if there’s anybody who can break through the noise, it’s the company responsible for 8+ hours of attention every single day.

If you zoom out into the future and look back and ask, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ it will be about health. 

Apple Fitness+ is a $ 10-month service that offers pre-recorded fitness videos. Apple doesn’t make its own exercise machines, but you need an Apple Watch to access the workouts. As you sweat through a workout, the watch measures your heart rate from your wrist and displays it on the bigger screen, encouraging you to work harder by comparing your exertion to what you’ve done before.

That studio is an engineering feat. You have 13 robotic cameras, the largest robotic installation in America and the world.

There are now 27 trainers of different ages, ethnicities and body shapes to give everyone some hope and potential role models.

You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. 

Issue 157: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 157: A few of my favourite visuals.

October, Issue 157: 6 stories, 8 photos, 3 ads.

Top of The Tree, Bali — By Monocle

I’ve lived on the 42nd floor of a luxury highrise for the last 4 years, and I never get bored of the view. I guess you could say I’m a sucker for heights or at least the gravity that elevation brings with it. Seeing this in a jungle-coastal setting is superb.

Bon appétit, UK  By CGH

Aperol Spritz has become my wife, and I’s drink of choice this summer. Doesn’t matter the time, day or hour. The low-ABV refreshing cocktail is to die for. I’m absolutely thrilled to learn that there’s an entire Pandora’s box of apertivo culture for us to dive into, and glad to see its a couple of entrepreneurial Brits spearheading the movement back home. We desperately need more of that in the UK.

There’s so much more to it than Aperol Spritz, says Man. “ looked at the category’s problems and found confusing branding, difficult serving suggestions and outdated recipes.

The Sundown Spriitz is made with chinotto, bitter citrus fruit and blood orange. The Venetian Spritz is a peach-and-honey variation.

We love classic aperitivos. We just want to update them a bit.

Issue 157: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 157: A few of my favourite visuals.

Due South, USA By Melkon Charchoglyan

Having lived in the USA for a decade, I could wax lyrical about the many things I admire America for. But fashion is certainly not one of them. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Southern fashion. The Cowboy boots, rugged jeans and rimmed hats are such a distinct style – for both men and women – it’s hard not to like. Throw in some good ole’ southern hospitality, and it’s easy to see why this might just be the retail experience and image calling we’ve all been missing.

One thing any Texan should say is that we’re not entirely part of the South. We’re our own thing. What is Southern fashion? Well, let me ask: is there any other part of the country where you’d even define fashion regionally? Historically, it has more colour and a preppy element that we’ve embraced in the south, maybe even more so than in the Ivy League states it came from.

Sometimes, I don’t even buy anything; I just drop in for a chat. Their jackets fit me like a glove straight off the rack. Price invites us to Tabor’s yearly “bungalow social”, where friends, family and clients come together for a night of music, art and well-mixed cocktails. “You have to build trust. It’s the only way.

Nonetheless, Mashburn is realistic about the state of play: many men, he says, have the lost “muscle memory” of dressing well in recent years. So it’s his job as a designer and retailer to revive it. I don’t think anybody wears a tie in Italy anymore, yet our tie business is on fire. This is because we don’t wear them in such a formal way. We want it to be easy. We like colour. We’re serious about bespoke tailoring but also like our sportswear.

The brand creates a southern look of its place and time with subtle touches. Often, all this takes is suede highlights on a tweed field vest, and suddenly you’re in Aspen rather than Aberdeen. “We merge the two origins: its heritage fabric for the modern cowboy.

When Tabor opened in 2007, it was an outlier: many clients were unfamiliar with the high-end brands and experience on offer. They had to be eased in, so the shop is also home to a bookshop, lounge, art gallery and cafe-cum-bar.

Issue 157: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 157: A few of my favourite visuals.

Person of Interest, Geneva — By David Hodari

Her CV is just as eye-catching. Nouri spent 24 years working for heavyweight luxury brands and most of that time with Richemont Group, one of the world’s largest luxury companies, originally with Cartier and later as CEO of the watch and jewellery brand Piaget.

There is tension between traditions and innovation. The companies we’re working with are the ones redefining the lifestyles of tomorrow.

We’re trying to invest in companies to build an entire universe around this younger generation in suppliers, services, products and platforms.

The younger generation wants to buy into a community and understand the bigger purpose of these companies – that’s one of the big trends we’re seeing today.

In the first one, we’ve created clubs of investors that have an affinity to the lifestyle world and the younger generation. We’re also creating clubs of companies: the businesses we invest in talk to each other – we want to create an ecosystem for them to leverage.

They have skin the game; it’s their personal heritage, so the investment has to be well-aligned with a long-term vision.

Stepping Up, Oregon By Christopher Lord

Maybe it’s because Mike was a smash hit, or the fact that I love Shoe Dog. But is there ever a story about Nike that isn’t interesting? I feel like it’s one brand I’ll read every story about, even though I’m not a massive sneakerhead. Fascinating to think about Nike’s product roadmap through the lens of the evolution of raw material – e.g. we’re making this shoe this way because it can become a hat, a top, a jumper etc.

A large part of NIke’s success is that it’s often in the right place at the right time. This is still a brand that made $$4.5BN last year through a core product that relies on rubber and manufacturing in Asia.”

Regeneration is going to be a huge part of design’s future. That means not just thinking about the end state but also the constant reimagining of matter. How this shoe becomes a basketball, a shirt, a bag and goes back to being a shoe. We have that power, that control, as designers.

I also see a future where the designer is a creator, where my input and the output are tethered together. I just hit print, and I have complete control at the highest level of identity.

In his office, Hokee framed the letter that Nike co-founder Phil Knight sent him when he was a teenager submitting trainer sketches, telling him to come and work for the brand one day.

I learned an essential thing from Michael. The foundation of architecture, of design, is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.

The Entrepreneurs, Issue 06: 6 stories, 5 photos, 1 ad.

Dream A Little Bigger, London — By Andrew Tuck

Entrepreneurship is a psychological game. It’s not said enough. I see great parallels between business building and poker. Except our real “stacks” are relatively hidden, less for followers, lists and other vanity-driven metrics that exist on the Internet.

Is it time for you to go all in? Andrew Tuck certainly thinks so. And I’m with him.

There’s an invisible barrier that too often deter people who could be running their own enterprise from taking the leap. It’s the belief that entrepreneurs are somehow different creatures from everyone else, that they share the same traits and were born with this propensity already wired into their brains. 

The skills you need to endure the hardships of going alone or taking over a family enterprise and making it flourish again can be learnt on the job, absorbed by surrounding yourself with wise mentors – or, to be blunt, paying for a business coach.  

Perhaps that’s another potential sign of a good entrepreneur: a willingness to mix things up and know when not to work too.  

Don’t put off being a success.  

Home Win By NM

As an avid sportsman and former athlete, there’s something deep inside me that just adores world-class performance facilities. I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed about being a part of something like that. We were indirectly exposed to it through our state school vs. private school football fixture list and then again during my time at Notre Dame. It’s amazing the progress that’s been made in this space since I was in school. The accessibility of world-class sports training. Would have done wonders for my sporting career. I’d love to see an On Your Marks here in the USA.

Hans-Peter Strebel, a Swiss pharmaceutical entrepreneur and president of ice hockey club Eissportverein Zug (EVZ), is sharing his secrets to success with competitors, solo professional athletes and teams competing in events that lack the financial pull of more lucrative sports.    

How? Well, through OYM – short for On Your Marks – in Zug, Switzerland. Its facility, an hour from Zurich, enables Swiss athletes and teams to access high-end training.  

To tap into the benefits of OYM, individuals and teams need to have a Swiss Olympic Card (meaning that they are close to the qualification requirements for entry to the Games) and be willing to pay between $25,000-35,000 for the year.

And while the price might sound steep, the benefits are significant. OYM members are given access to chefs who oversee nutrition plans, physiotherapists and rehabilitation experts. There’s also an ice rink, athletics hall, gym, stairs ramps, a sprint track and a “turf” area, where the athletes train and are coached by the centre’s performance directors, who meticulously track every aspect of the sessions. 

Anybody could build the training infrastructure. Hut the fact there are scientists here who are involved in developing solutions tailored to individual athletes is unique. He says this is what sets OYM apart and why there’s interest for the model to be replicated abroad. Though tight-lipped on the subject, the OYM team says there are ongoing discussions with overseas investors keen to franchise the concept. It’s high praise for any business venture  – after all, imitation (or franchising) is the highest form of flattery. 

Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.

Does Business Coaching Work?  By Monocle

I’ve served as an advisor to builders and leaders for years now. However, I’ve never sat well with the ‘oh, so you’re a coach?’ response. I feel the unregulated space is predicated on too little insight and too many frameworks. And yet I wholeheartedly believe in the value of coaching, especially in other domains like sports, medicine or music. This piece doesn’t shift my views one way or the other but rather just underlines the sheer economic size and peculiarity of the space.

Coaches don’t just help athletes perform: Top CEOs and aspiring business folk also seek tips to get ahead. 

According to a 2020 report for the International Coaching Federation, executive or career coaching is $2.BN industry – and an unregulated one at that, so buyer beware.

British but Madeira-based, Burgess crisscrosses Europe to train businesspeople. Some of the techniques his “holistic approach” employs echo those of a psychotherapist: teaching clients mastery of their minds and to contemplate their decision-making. While counselling is about “determining the present from the past and unpacking trauma”, Burgess says that his coaching looks forward.

The best salespeople talk the least,” he says, adding that those who listen learn to ask the right questions and do so at the opportune moment.  Burgess schools his trainees in asking “powerful questions”: the ones we avoid asking because the answer might yield a response we’d rather not deal with, as opposed to the ones at the top of a self-regarding Linkedin poll.

I’ve seen huge changes in me and my clients: better health, better business, more happiness.

I believe in the power of coaching,” says Lin, who was born in Taiwan and migrated away from a career in finance to what she describes as a calling. “It’s about seeing a vision of your future self and letting that pull you forward. The only way to get out of uncertainty is to have a defined future vision. That’s why ‘positive thinking’ is insufficient; it has to be more personal than that.

Consultants prescribe solutions, whereas coaches prod you into thinking independently,” she says. Kim, who became a partner coach after retiring from KB Insurance in 2015, adds, “In most cases, you already have the answer in your head.

Time to Double Down?

There are many principles from the traditional school of entrepreneurship that I fundamentally disagree with. One is on focus. As a portfolio entrepreneur, I see great value in building a few different products or ideas in tandem with each other. Especially when you don’t know what’s going to work yet, but more importantly, you don’t know how selling what you’re selling is going to make you feel.

Traditional business is fundamentally boring. You’re eventually delivering the same product, over and over again, for either less time and/or a higher price. I think we can all take some inspiration from these stories; it show business can be more fun. Forget commoditized products, we have the ability to build worlds for consumers.

Fashion and wine

I’m a better version of myself when I have multiple businesses on the go.

She settled into a proper boutique in Sag Harbor called Joey Wölffer, where she offers one-off finds, limited editions and collaborative pieces (she also designs and makes the Hawaiian-print uniforms that staff wear at the vineyard). A busy restaurant in Amagansett, Wölffer Kitchen, has since followed.

Managing two different ventures, she says, requires not being so hard on yourself, but she adds that the businesses should bounce off each other. “I meet many people who ask if I can do a fashion event, and I say, ‘Sure, can I bring my wine too?’ Each strangely feeds the other.” In August, the Wölffer Estate sponsored the Hampton Classic showjumping contest, in which Wölffer competed. “Riding gives me incredible focus,” she says.

Architects and restaurateurs

Shin Chang and Penny Ng met while working at a design firm in Kuala Lumpur. The couple eventually decided to go it alone and launch their own studio, Mentahmatter, in 2013. As the design office grew, they began to think about opening a restaurant where they could explore a shared passion for contemporary Malaysian cuisine and good wine, opening ChoCha Foodstore in Chinatown in 2016. “It’s a place to meet clients but also serves as a prototype to show what we can do as architects,” says Ng. “The space and ambience speak for themselves.

They transformed a former 1920s-era brothel into a social space with stripped-down interiors with iron grilles and abundant greenery, serving up seasonal, inventive take on Malaysian staples. In addition to housing the design firm’s offices, the restaurant has expanded to include a much-loved neighbourhood bar, Botakliquor.

People think architecture should be purely business,” he says. “For us, it’s about how you live your life and designing spaces for people to enjoy.

It can’t just be for the look. “We don’t want to create spaces that people come to and take photographs,” says Ng. “We genuinely want to bring people together.

Hoteliers and Concierges

We have a small team, and every client has to have a one-on-one relationship with their concierge. Many people only think of the more glamorous parts of running a business,” says Vaillancourt. “But it’s the details you have to nail down.

Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.

Change Maker, Global By Monocle

The Langham is one of my favourite hotels. Love to hear about the family dynamics of one of its heiresses and how she’s thinking about building a holistic P&L through her burgeoning business in D.C.

Born to a Taiwanese-American mother from Detroit and a Chinese father from Hong Kong, Katherine Lo’s childhood straddled multiple cultures. She felt like an outsider for not being Chinese enough in Hong Kong and not American enough in the US, and she often took refuge in the library.

Lo’s family business is hospitality. She is the daughter of Lo Ka Shui, chairman of Great Eagle Holdings, the Hong Kong property giant behind the five-star luxury hotel The Langham. But she initially chose a different path, studying anthropology and film production. Throughout my life, it was kept pretty separate from us,” she says. “I didn’t grow up around that.

Lo was in her late twenties when she started working with her father, using her film-production skills to use by documenting the making of The Langham Chicago. But it wasn’t until he asked her to help him understand the major changes in US society over the past few years – and whether she could create a hotel brand that reflected them – that she got involved. The result was Eaton, which launched in 2018.

Incorporated as a public-benefit corporation, Eaton must deliver results in its cultural mission, not just in its financial performance. Though most of its programming is free of charge, the venture has many revenue streams. “Eaton makes money from its cafés, restaurants and bars; its wellness class and guest-room bookings; house memberships and private events,” says Lo. “We funnel a percentage back into supporting our programming.

“The company’s properties have the scale to deliver results. Its Washington outpost offers 209 guest rooms, while there are 465 in Eaton HK. The hotel attracts a socially conscious clientele because Washington is a hub for NGOs, government workers, journalists and protesters. 

Lo hopes that Eaton will make a positive difference in the cultural life of its surroundings. “I would love to prove that you can build a socially and environmentally conscious brand,” says Lo. “One that gives back to the community but is also financially viable.” 

Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 06: A few of my favourite visuals.

Jobs with Benefits By Unknown

The power struggle for RTO is still going on. Offices typically suck, but these certainly don’t. Why not make office spaces the sort of place your workforce want to hang out in any way? We could all learn a few lessons in design from these spots.

The office canteen is so good it’s a neighbourhood restaurant.

A bar with faultless cocktails – on the job.

Campari, Italy’s biggest spirits group, has grown from humble beginnings in 1860 as a company making a distinctive red herbal aperitif to owning more than 50 brands, including Aperol, Skyy – vodka and Grand Marnier. Therefore a bar – or two, as there are in the drinks firm’s HQ on the outskirts of Milan – is a fundamental part of the workplace.

The office bars are not just for the good times; they are also places of learning where the Campari Academy bar teaches the “proper” way to mix an Aperol spritz or Negroni. All employees receive a special kind of bar-side onboarding – “cocktail introductions” – that the head of commercial capabilities, Patrick Piana, says is where “Camparistas start their journey.” The experience of enjoying a few drinks at work – though it might make for a wobbly walk home – “means being able to understand the celebratory spirit of the company and what it does,” says Piana.

The convivial notion of workplace bars carries on in Campari’s international outposts in Singapore, Munich and New York, where the office conceals a speakeasy, a getaway for employees, but also for in-the-know New Yorkers. Cheers to that.

Issue 158: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 158: A few of my favourite visuals.

November, Issue 158: 3 stories, 4 photos, 1 ad.

Designed For Life, Tokyo By Fiona Wilson

Society’s rebuffed control freaks in recent years. In some cases, for good measure. But often, in a creative work setting, control freaks are just called craftsmen. Don’t believe me? Read this HBR piece on Seinfeld. This bloke feels the same, and he’s beloved. There’s just so much value to controlling the front-to-back of a process. Look what you can create. I think we’ve overdosed on premium mediocre collaboration. Starting celebrating people who own everything in a process.

Fukasawa designed every aspect of the building, down to the window frames. “We had to have about 70 meetings. As a person, I’m not strict, but when I’m doing something from a designer’s point of view, I don’t compromise. People who work with me know what I’m like. I always say ‘thank you’ at the end of a project because I know it wasn’t easy.

His preoccupation has long been the unconscious sense that things work or don’t work. “In Japanese, we talk about iwakan, this feeling when something’s not quite right. For me, a designer’s job is less about inventing something from zero and more about fixing something when it’s not right. I teach my students to feel the world around them and work out how to make things better.

Luckily, many of today’s Japanese design students seem to have absorbed Fukasawa’s lessons, particularly the value of what is termed “micro-considerations”: observations of human behaviour that can help improve the design of the tool we use every day. 

One of the most important aspects of being a designer is making people happy. People come to this house and love it, even if they know nothing about design. I could point to specific details that make it feel good, but I don’t need to tell them. In Japan, people always ask me about my ‘future vision’ but I don’t have one. My main ambition is to elevate the ordinary. Some designers might want to design a fancy wine glass to gift expensive wine; I’m more interested in a water glass.  

I feel that Japan is not a country of design; it’s a country of craft. But there is beauty in everyday life here.—

Everyone thinks that design is abstract, while scientists analyse the world and find solutions. But the starting point is the same for both: curiosity.

Issue 158: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 158: A few of my favourite visuals.

Glass Half Full, France By David Hodari

Always good to a get real look at how business leaders spend their downtime. I noticed here the CEO of Pernod Ricard opts for curiosity conversations and family. In my experience, a good sign of someone who will do well. Or at least a practice that usually yields great results. Drinking out is becoming so expensive. Isn’t it?

After co-founding Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest wine and spirits company, Ricard bought the island in 1958. First, though, he shows us pictures of a dinner he recently hired Michelin-starred chef Mauroo Colagreco to cook for 200 guests on the tarmac of Marseille’s Circuit Paul Ricard (home to France’s Grand Prix). 

Pernod Ricard now turns over almost $10.7B a year and owns Absolut vodka, Chivas whiskey and Mumm champagne.

Every summer, I come here with family and friends, but every day I invite one or two people who have a different perspective on the world – CEOs or researchers – and before aperitif time, we’ll chat, and I’ll write down a few notes to prepare for September.

Pernod Ricard’s results suggest that increasing e-commerce sales and consumers’ taste for drinking more at home aren’t going away anytime soon. Consumers also showed few signs of downgrading to cheaper alcohol despite rising inflation.

Alexandre joined the company in 2003 after eight years in consulting and finance. Twelve years later, he became the younger person running a company listed on France’s blue-chip CAC 40 index (the family still controls a quarter of the company’s board vote.

Do you want to be the biggest or the best? By being the biggest, you might not end up benign the best. Money cannot buy what people will remember us for.

The company is also investing in the Chinese market, a relatively untapped area for Western companies because consumers there have historically bought alcohol from local producers. Every year, some 30 million people reach the legal drinking age there, and international brands comprise just 1% of the market. Consequently, Pernod is selling more locally made drinks, such as wine it produces in China’s northwest or whiskey from his Sichuan distillery.

A whole generation was brought up in a world where they thought the norm was visibility, predictability and calm. The real is what we know today: uncertainty, a lack of visibility, volatility.

Community Centre, Berlin By Nic Monisse

Two things caught my eye here. First, the joy of seeing someone make it in their craft from a village town of 3,000 people. Second, the idea is that you can build buildings that can cool themselves. As a Londoner who has now spent 10 years in the USA, I don’t know how I ever survived without air conditioning. Europe’s heating up. We’re all going to need this.

It’s a reminder that institutions like the Pritzker will find you if you do great things and believe in yourself. It is a huge recognition for me, but it’s also a big push as if someone said, “Francis, just keep doing it. You have a voice.” I want to show people you do not need to establish yourself in cities like New York. Instead, you can start little and grow big.

Through my work, my practice has addressed climate change and shrinking resources. It has also trained young people who can now stay in Burkina Faso and earn a living, which has affected migration too.

I also want to make buildings comfortable enough that you don’t need energy to cool them. This is part of my DNA as an architect.

Issue 2022: A few of my favourite visuals.
Issue 2022: A few of my favourite visuals.

The Forecast, Issue 2022: 2 stories, 2 photos, 0 ads.

Ready for the Reawakening — By David Kaufman

I never quite understood the hype around New York as a place to live. To visit, for a short amount of time,  absolutely. But to live? On the nose, I’m just not sure I’ve ever seen nor felt the pull and this piece starts to put words to why.

In July 2022, crime was up 31%, 34% increase in murders, a 13% increase in shootings, and a 37% jump in robberies. Subway rides are at 70% of pre-pandemic levels. MTA is running at a $2.5B deficit; they’ll lose federal funding if the numbers continue taking a nose-dive. 

76% of pavements and streets are handed over to automobiles. 10% of apartments were empty during the pandemic. Media monthly rent is $5,246.Unemployment claims by artists skyrocketed by 1200%+ during he pandemic.21% of offices remain vacant (2x pre-pandemic levels). NYC 20% job levels. NYC is scarred by a pandemic substantially reducing its tax base and displacing hundreds of thousands of residents. 

On The Nose, Global By Natalie Theodosi

This might be my favourite piece from the whole year of the magazine. Filled with timeless non-obvious, contrarian but controlled business philosophy. Thank you, Ben Gorham. The world and media need more people like you.

People tried to tell me, ‘That’s not how you do it.’ But we’ve proven that you can do things in different ways. 

The byproduct is like our cabinet of curiosities, the freest space of the business: it has its own cadence and is very much about discovery and craft. 

We’ve seen lots of influencers. But not much sustainability in terms of how people build brands in the longer term. The future will be more about evolving gradually and maintaining relevance to people, society, + culture. 

This comes from curiosity and a belief that your long-term vision should be prioritised over short-term gains. But that takes discipline, and, honestly, I’ve questioned this path along the way, seeing the speed of social media and populism. 

There’s this idea that you need to broadcast your life as a founder. But I’ve had to trust myself and the idea that our products were meaningful – and establishing longevity for those products is more important.  

Retail is increasingly important because we can control the whole experience, from the light to the shop windows and the temperature of the interiors. 

Fashion, as an industry, is plagued by the idea of rhythm. We can take up to three years to engineer a product for Byredo. 

Byredo has always been about acknowledging the creative people who are the best at what they do. Reading about the artistic collective in the 1960s, I envisioned an open-source platform where people could contribute. A future-facing brand should be less about the founder and more about the amazing people joining forces, from photographers to stylists to make-up artists. That’s why I called it Byredo, not Ben Graham. 

Never Miss A Letter

A quarterly reflection from our founder.