Archive for May 2009


What people want: I

I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman reader, sometimes people just want to see a picture of a warship or a handsome-looking helicopter.

Tyler Brûlé, Guardian, 2007

Better people: Alain de Botton

There is one person that we love to turn to in order to find essential insights on life and society in general, that is of course the best-selling author Alain de Botton.

Mr. de Botton has for a long time been a prominent figure in the family around Tyler. Because of that and his impeccable tast in decoration, writing and, of course, life he will be a regular installment in this publication. I’m sure all of our readers are well aware of Mr. de Botton’s lengthy CV but for those of you who are not, let us paint a picture of this exquisite man.

Born on hills of Switzerland, he soon moved to London with his family (including a father that has been generous enough to share his fortune and potentially making the lives of the de Botton family very livable) but it was after graduating from Cambridge he started writing about the small things in life.

As a 23 year old (“while pretending to do a PhD”) he was ready to take on the topic of love, with his first book Essays in Love. The Independent gave it a reasonably fair review: (Mr de Botton has) taken philosophy back to its simplest, most important purpose: helping us live our lives.

With that in the bag he delivers thoughtful truths on a regular basis about topics such as life, architecture, status and travel. In short, the small things in life.

If you need more evidence, dear readers, that he’s almost somewhat of an equal to Tyler, his weekend pleasures includes doing emotional audits of airports and taking courses in luggage handling technique. That my friends is a true Tyler man. As such he has valuable recommendations for a better life:

Pick up any newspaper or magazine, open the TV, and you’ll be bombarded with suggestions of how to have a successful life. Some of these suggestions are deeply unhelpful to our own projects and priorities – and we should take care.

Listen to the advise of Mr. de Botton, we always do.

Mr. de Botton, welcome. It will be a pleasure working with you.

Improvable cities: Toronto

Toronto Financial District

Complacency. Such a disappointing diagnosis for a city. Tyler Brûlé´s ex-home town Toronto suffers from this badly, and we thought we should go through a few pointers on how to improve this sub-par Canadian city.

Ultimately, the responsibility for all urban development is the mayor´s. And as Mayor David Miller of Toronto refuses to incorporate the advice given by Mr Brûlé earlier, we see no reason in supporting him in his position.

And my God, when you fly over Toronto you see these vast tracts of two-car garages that jut out in front of the house, and these communities where you have to live by the automobile. It won’t be sustainable.

We demand an immediate ban on two-car garages. The madness must stop. Learn from the free bike schemes “Züri rollt” and “Vélib” in Zürich and Paris respectively. Look at Spain´s Renfe AVE first class rail development – the Siemens S103 Velaro is a more than adequate for medium range travel. Copenhagen has their Ansaldo Trasporti contracted driver-less Metro systems (that now steadily runs all the way to Kastrup – handy for the environmentally friendly pre-flight lounge hopper). The possibilities are simply endless.

We expect more from you, Toronto. If significant changes aren’t to be seen within short, we’ll have Wally Olins at your doorstep with a complete rebranding scheme before you can say “24-hour-a-day metabolism”.

Celebrations of livability: II

Treasure Island / The Island / L'île Perdu

Interviewer: – Will you be profitable in five years with Monocle?
Tyler Brûlé: – No, I already bought an island, and I did that with old media [money].

From DLD, 2009.

Introducing: Brûlé Airways

Airplane en route to Hong-Kong

At a conference panel in Münich earlier this year the panelists including Meister Brûlé recieved the question ”If you would start a new venture, what would it be?” We will spare you the ideas from the other Hobo-Joes on the panel. TB’s answer? Starting a new European airline company.

We immediately felt compelled to pick up our Blackberries and call Lufthansa’s customer service asking how we could transfer our Miles & More points to this new aviation paradise. What would it look like? Would it serve the same excellent vegetable consommé as the Marc Newson designed Qantas business class? Could it really outshine ANA’s inflight nightwear?

Out of gitty excitement and since we can hardly wait for this venture to get of the ground we decided to start a series which explores potential ideas on what Brûlé Airways would be like. The first instalment in this series will be out soon.