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MIPIM 2010: Worth the trip?

Attending MIPIM 2010 may be expensive, but it will be worth the investment, says Peter Rhodes

The burning question on the industry’s lips in the build up to last year’s MIPIM was ‘to go or not to go?’ At a time of austerity, could businesses justify the cost of a week in Cannes?

It is assumed that, as the organisers, we would have wished that MIPIM 2009 and this year’s event should resemble those of 2006 and 2007 – the boom years. However, this is not necessarily the case. Yes, we are keen to keep attendance at a steady rate but, more importantly, it is about the calibre of the delegates. We do see the benefits that reduced numbers can bring to the event.

Last year, MIPIM attracted 18,000 people, spanning all sectors of the global real-estate industry, representing 80 countries. In 2010, overall registrations are up on this time last year and attendance from the architectural sector is up by 4 per cent, but we are envisaging the same sort of final delegate numbers as 2009 (18,000). We hope that last year’s principle of ‘back to business’ will remain, while delegates are even more determined.

For those attending MIPIM in 2010, which runs between Tuesday 16 March and Friday 19 March, results will be expected. Delegates will have to work harder to justify the investment, but in our eyes this makes for a better event.

The architectural sector is an essential element of MIPIM. This year, we have a panel of international leading architects who will discuss ‘genuine visions to address global cities’, looking at the challenges in cities such as Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rotterdam, Seoul and Tokyo. The panel includes Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica, Manuelle Gautrand, Daniel Libeskind, and Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch Hutton. But MIPIM is not just about the ‘signature’ architect. It is commercially driven; it is about business and doing deals, and this applies across the portfolio of architectural practices.

Architectural practices have been hit hard by the recession, but the downs of the last year have also presented a positive side – the emergence of the fresh practice. A series of young firms have been created as a result of redundancy or individuals simply taking that final leap to go it alone.

We hope that, along with the more established firms, we will also see these new practices attending MIPIM. We appreciate it requires significant investment to attend, but we believe that the roots put in place at last year’s event will bring about action in 2010 and onwards. There will be opportunities across the whole of the built environment sector, with the industry very much moving forward and pre-empting recovery.

So, to return to the burning question at the beginning of this article, the answer undoubtedly is to take arms against this sea of troubles and end them. See you there.

Peter Rhodes is managing director of Reed MIDEM UK, the company that organises MIPIM

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