Inquiring Minds

Great expectorations.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: It was at a wine festival, with over 700 wines being poured at various booths, and it was my job to taste through as many as possible in a planned, methodical manner. And survive to tell about it.

No one cares.

Call it an epidemic. With the rise in airport muddles, and travel travails, it’s become the customary thing, I’ve noticed, to kvetch—at length, and often to mere acquaintances—about one’s aisle-or-window woes.

The dream of limitless energy.

Take everything you know about energy—burning oil, falling water, spinning windmills, splitting atoms—and forget it. All of it. Now, what does the world look like? Given what scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have just managed to do, you may want to mull it over.

Radio nowhere.

Gone are the glory days of the mainstream radio serials, but the concept has been revived in the form of Welcome to Night Vale. The popular podcast takes the form of a community radio show that describes the unnatural goings-on in the fictional, absurdly humorous desert town of Night Vale.

Kiln envy.

The original mid-century modern pottery house, Heath Ceramics, hasn’t strayed far from its roots over the past 66 years.

The Messeplatz in Basel, Switzerland.

The annual Baselworld watch and jewellery show eventually, as it was bound to do, outgrew the available exhibition facilities in the Kleinbasel district of Basel, Switzerland, not so far from the picturesque bridge and river winding through the town.

Raw beauty.

Todd Saunders has made his mark by turning the middle of nowhere into somewhere. His architecture—bare, sculptural, conductive—amplifies place like a microphone set in the landscape, making both built space and the place it’s in palpably present. Designed by Saunders, the Fogo Island Inn opened last summer on a beautiful Newfoundland island.

Planted presence.

Every May, the incomparable RHS Chelsea Flower Show sports a section called Fresh Gardens whose remit is innovation. And it is here that I meet designer Anna Piussi.

In the shadows.

Even the name sounds sketchy: “shadow bank”. An apt moniker for a business that lends like a bank, earns interest like a bank, has a pleasant and confidence-inspiring name like a bank, yet isn’t exactly a bank—particularly when it comes to regulations, transparency, and risk control.