The Man Behind Monocle: Meet Tyler Brûlé

Ahead of Monocle magazine’s annual Quality of Life Conference later this month, we take a look at Tyler Brûlé – the media mogul who turned the lifestyle publication into an art form… 

Any hipster worth their pink Himalyan rock salt has known about Monocle magazine since it was started by Tyler Brûlé in 2007. Its celebrated design and global content covers everything from current affairs, business, culture and design have since made it into a global phenomenon, spawning an accompanying radio service, travel guide series, four books and an online store, as well as signature shops and cafés across the world.

The Man Behind Monocle: Meet Tyler Brûlé

‘The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes’, one of Monocle’s four books.

Monocle has reached a kind of recognition wholly unprecedented in the world of the lifestyle publication, apart possibly from the multi award-winning Wallpaper* magazine. What many may not realise is what the two have in common: Tyler Brûlé.

Born in Canada, Brûlé moved to the UK to work as a reporter and a print journalist before launching Wallpaper* in 1996 – a trailblazing publication that brought the realms of design, architecture, fashion, food and travel under one umbrella. Its almost immediate and far-reaching success led to his being named the youngest ever recipient of the British Society of Magazine Editors’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, at the tender age of 33.

For building the innovative cross-platform lifestyle brand-juggernaut that is Monocle, he added Ad Age’s Editor of the Year trophy to his no doubt exquisitely-designed trophy cabinet.

The Man Behind Monocle: Meet Tyler Brûlé

A spread from ‘The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes’, featuring a dreamy modern Swiss farmhouse.

So, what is his secret? One surmises that it’s a combination of unreasonable intelligence, impeccable taste, hard work and just the tiniest bit of fortuitous timing.

Monocle came about at a unique point in time. As much as the international financial crisis was devastating, it created space for us to think about new ways of living, and of defining ourselves, beyond just our professions (since many of us were left without them). It allowed us to reframe what was important. Somewhat paradoxically, having less money somehow made the idea of investing in lifestyle items seem less frivolous.

As a brand, Monocle has uniquely captured this global mood through the magazine and its many spin-offs, including the now annual Monocle Quality of Life conference, the second of which will take place in Vienna from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 April.

The Man Behind Monocle: Meet Tyler Brûlé

A shot from the 2015 Monocle Quality of Life Conference in Lisbon.

Of the location choice, Brûlé says, “We chose Vienna because the Austrian capital is consistently the leader when it comes to quality of life and overall liveability.” As for goals of the event? “The conference will continue to bolster the dialogue that we not only established at our first conference in Lisbon last year but that we have also been filling our pages with since we launched in 2007: the themes of creating a better public realm and building our cities, offices and homes right the first time.”

At the conference, international design minds like Ilse Crawford and Diana Balmori will debate issues like how architects, designers and developers can create spaces that leave us feeling better about our lives, and brainstorm ways to keep crafts and small industries within the city limits.

Meanwhile, man of the hour Tyler Brûle will use the conference as a vehicle to share some of his own inspirations and ideas from around the world, about “how to shake up your business whatever the sector, or just reboot your life.” Judging by his career thus far, his would be advice worth listening to.

For more information on the event, see

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