The return of AJ’s much-loved live blog from Europe’s biggest property fair. Experience the annual MIPIM international development show with our bloggers on the ground
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1am at the Bloxham house. What goes to Tom’s stays at Tom’s. But it’s fair to say that, as an architect who considers that architecture can change people’s lives for the better, this place is inspirational. A place made from the proceeds of a transformation of a down and out city (my home town of Manchester), the refurbishment of iconic buildings and the enthusiasm, skill and the sheer ballsy nature of its owner - it is a place we can all learn from. I’m a lucky man to be able to experience it but it remains the main reason MIPIM is so important to me. For all the money and the apparent carelessness of the construction industry this place shows that you can care about people, place and culture and make money for your investors; if only everyone had the same brilliance to pull it off. Back to London on Monday full of intent to make a difference. Checking out.
Another year over. The tents are coming down. The hotels are emptying. The London Model is somehow making its way to its rightful new home (how will they transport it?) But am I any wiser? It’s no lie to say I was a bit of a MIPIM sceptic after my years away. It’s not worth all the hype/ money/ time/ energy I declared. A week away from my laptop and ‘drawing board’, the comforts of my own bed. I can’t afford it. But I tentatively put my toe back in the Cannes water and tested it to see whether it would prove me wrong. Here’s what I discovered:
- You get to have reams of intense conversations over an intense period of time, but you do get the feeling that on the next table in the café, and the one after that, everyone is perhaps having the same intense conversation as you.
- There is a confidence and dynamism in the UK developments that are coming forward. But are we all after the same piece of pie? And is there any really critical or creative thinking taking place? I keep being drawn back to the ‘innovate or die’ slogan on the cardboard box. Is that what we are really doing here? If not then we should be asking why.
- Follow up your leads and the age old adage of personal relationships being critical is never more critical than the new paradigm.
- You are sucked in to a strange parallel universe here consisting of café/talk/dinner/party. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. What has the rest of the world been doing this week?
- It can be ridiculously, obscenely, expensive, so be careful.
- The structure is sadly lacking creativity across the board - stand after stand of the same thing. Panel discussions. Debates. That kind of thing. This is starting to feel a bit tired. And the parties are just not that good. Sorry but they’re not. It would be great to see really creative input which pushes the boundaries, gets us fired up, thinking about things in a whole new way.
- I’m tired and need my own bed.
So this is the scene today. It’s like the Marie Celeste. It’s been interesting. And I can’t say it’s all been bad. In fact it’s been good. Some elements have left me pleasantly surprised and it has been great to catch up with old friends and new acquaintances. Anyway thank you for listening and I’ll see you next year. Perhaps.
Well, that’s it for another year - a great one for Croydon with our announcement of Boxpark Croydon and new tech hub in the Council’s old office building. Feels like we’re really sorting to get some traction now.
It was more relaxed this year. My concerns on day one were not realised and there was a real buzz shout the place. Longer and more meaningful conversations rather that fleeting moments with people. Over 200 business cards, a significant number earmarked for follow up.
I resisted the temptation of the Carlton with its 90s pop music and beach parties with security at the door checking whether you had the right shade of grey suit favouring some really fantastic conversations with like minded people who want to make great places. If amongst all the 100s of people you speak to at MIPIM, you meet a handful of people who share your vision and want to work to create better spaces, it’s been a successful trip. If you’ve raised the profile of Croydon to further your work to make it better for the people who live and work there and those who will, job done.
A quick summary of the final hours of MIPIM: Wednesday night was filled with the delights of the AR Future Projects Awards; Paul Finch masterly in his descriptions of projects yet to be built. The Carlton Club was manic afterwards, everyone gathered on a less than elegant carpet with a classic black and white film being projected onto the magnolia patterned wall, a less likely room for the gathering of modern British architects you could not imagine but somehow it works. It may be to do with the continuous flow of champagne. My night ended talking to a rather lovely developer about our favourite architecture…needless to say he has now probably lost my card and forgotten my name; if you are reading this we agreed that the Clore Gallery was pretty good and you were going to confirm a £7.2m project with me early next week.
The RIBA hosted a Challenging Cities debate in a rather oddly located tent on Thursday, a few jokes pertaining to that fact courtesy of Peter Murray and Roger Hawkins were rebuffed rather dryly by Stephen Hodder, but apart from that frisson the debate was rather agreeable…I couldn’t help thinking that somewhere in this debate climate change as an issue has been forgotten, Martha Schwartz was the only talker who mentioned it. Fast forward to lunch with a client and into the evening I was determined to get it onto the agenda…first with London Festival of Architecture (LFA) thoughts courtesy of Pat Brown and then later with David Partridge of Argent. I’m hopeful the LFA can really connect with the public this year and the lively debate led to few early ideas, some of which were connected to climate change; isn’t it still the only game in town? Watch this space.
Partridge has already done much at Kings Cross to warrant good credentials on sustainability including top BREEAM ratings for all buildings and noted that its ‘all about leadership’ at a quieter Carlton club last night. On a lighter note he shares a love of Ibiza and David noted my body was not quite beach perfect who anyone currently travelling through Old Street Tube station will attest to. Night ended singing ‘Living on a Prayer’ at Rock the Cashbar; the less said about that the better. Now on my way to Tom Bloxham’s…is it that time already?
On the plane. Au revoir Cannes. Birmingham of the Riviera. The NEC with a thick and rich sauce but no vegetables. Yesterday’s plan of no work went well, with a leisurely breakfast followed by a rapid survey of the London stand and a chat with Nick McKeogh of Pipers and the NLA, Dan Campbell of Stiff and Trevillion and Marc Wilder and Simon Rowley of GPE (or was that on Wednesday?) A long lunch on the beach courtesy of Earle Arney of the newly rearranged AFK Studio. Very nice chatting with Tony Danaher of Ing Media, his son Ben and Jackie Sadek… hearing about Michael Heseltine, Second Tier UK cities and their future. At lunch I met my second butcher in two days (the first butcher turned engineer, the second butcher turned fit-out contractor. A coincidence?) After lunch, a rapid, annual and essential tour of the bunker with David Taylor - not long enough. Stand out stand was Paris, which was a poor imitation of London. How de galling it must be for the Parisians to have to give their stand an English strap line at a French exhibition! (City of inspiration, or imagination or something).
Invited myself to a very nice dinner hosted by Pat Brown in her capacity as chair of the London Festival of Architecture, with (and I’ve typed some of these names before…) Phil Coffey, Tamsyn Curley, Charles Curry Hyde of Fielden & Mawson, Joe Morris (he’s everywhere), Peter Bishop, Louise Rodgers and David Taylor (so’s he) where we discussed the future of the Festival, particularly with relation to international cities.
Then a foot race back to the Carlton where I arrived 40 mins late for my own party, but fortunately everyone else seemed to be similarly delayed! A quieter night, but it was, as always, fun to catch up with Paul Finch, Christian Spencer Davies, Leanne Tritton and the marvellous Heinz Richardson before sneaking off to bed before Joe Morris started dancing and Phil Coffey started singing (probably).
New development opportunities in Cardiff are attracting interest from global design firms and I’ll be meeting some architects for lunch later today to see how we can work together to enhance the city fabric. Cardiff also roused the interest of a film crew yesterday when councillor Phil Bale took part in an interview with a TV broadcaster. Keep your eyes peeled for his starring role!
My view of MIPIM! It’s like being back at school and clamouring for the back seat!
MIPIM dejeuner en plein air
Morning campers! I have just seen a 2CV drive by. I realised that you hardly ever see them anymore. My first car was a yellow one with the rectangular headlights. I remember the AJ (1987?) did a series of detailed studies and the 2CV was one of them. Look it up, it was fabulous. Beautifully observed. So last night I managed to not get thrown out of the Manchester bar and Amanda Bailieu made my night by saying the HASSELL website was really rather good. Thanks I said. Lots of room for improvement, I added, and watch this space… I also realised that parties on boats are cold and to be honest pretty boring. Sorry if that offends but they are. Disappointingly the lack of imagination here for how to throw a party is staggering given the creative brainpower collected in one city. I also realised that 90 per cent of the people I spoke to last night all had fairly mediocre places to stay and I am not alone in that respect! MIPIM is full of ‘important, grown-up people’ bunking down in shared bedrooms and fold aways!! So so funny. Right, I’m off to network, gaze and wonder.
This place is supercharged hot air!! I experienced the MIPIM euphoria at its peak last night. Before joining the AJ table at the AR awards I made a b-line for the Savils drinks. It’s a bear pit with a ridiculous amount of people squeezed into a pen, could hardly move but it works, you just have to join in!! Only one problem is getting out!!!!
Another gorgeous and calming morning on the London stand balcony. It’s my last full day and I’m going to make the most of it. Keeping my fingers crossed for Aldwych Quarter for the best refurbishment award. Looking forward to the future workstyles and workplaces talk and the MIPIM awards sandwiched by lunch and dinner. Amazed by the food quality here and will need to hit the gym hard when I come back to London. Averaged about 12,000 steps in the last 3 days and so happy I took my colleagues advice on footwear.
An excellent night at the Carlton last night, preceded by a very enjoyable dinner at The Martinez courtesy Eckerlsey O’Callaghan, where we waited a mere 2.5 hours for food. Roger Black and John Nordon of Pegasus Life, David Taylor of New London Quartlerly and I debated the future of the Cycle To charity and how to make it a global phenomenon. Packed out at the Carlton with our co-hosts Bespoke and it was great to catch up with Digby Flower, (Colonel) Robert Murphy and James Young of Cushman and Wakefield, Elizabeth Tagge, Peter Bill, Sunand Prasad - fresh off the bike, Peter Jackson of SOM, Joe Morris, Phil Coffey, Tamsyn Curley, Annabelle Sutherland (who cycled the whole way again! She’s the female Joe Morris - a machine), Dave Twohig and the team from Battersea Power Station and Jon Eaglesham from Barr Gazetas, who I discovered grew up on a farm that farmed 500,000 pigs! That’s right. Half a million pigs! The biggest pig farm in Europe. Isn’t it amazing the things you discover at 2am in a darkened room in Cannes. I should probably now go and listen to some edifying lecture on one of London’s outlying districts, but I will stick true to my MIPIM strategy of ‘don’t work, just enjoy’ and go and find some friends until lunch with Earle Arney of AFK Studio. I don’t know how I keep going.
Last night the Cardiff team took over popular Irish bar Ma Nolans for our drinks party – a great precursor to the Wales-Ireland Six Nations match this weekend. Of course, plenty of spirited banter ensued, helped along by some rather impressive attempts at karaoke! The Glaswegians won over the crowds with their musical talents although you can’t beat the wonders of Tom Jones, as my rendition of the Welsh legend hopefully proved.
MIPIM hell scenario. Picked up a bug and had to take to my bed last night. Missing out on a packed night that I was really looking forward to - Populous dinner, Legal and General Party and Wordsearch/Bespoke’s infamous Carlton Club. Upside is that I am reasonably refreshed on Thursday morning. Not sure there will be many others in my state.
The lovely lunch at Astoux and Brun was made slightly ridiculous by the fact that I was surrounded by fellow AJ bloggers Phil Coffey and Leanne Tritton and AJ editor Rory Olcayto - suggesting that the AJ’s blogger selection process was either spot on or hopeless. The rose flowed, and we discussed MegaCity One, Tiree, Glasgow firemen, Frankie Boyle, dodgy oysters, Cycle to Cannes, Coffey’s Coffees and Bitter Lake. Then walking to the Palais I saw Danny Liebeskind in his amazing cowboy boots, but wasn’t fast or brazen enough to take a good picture - but Danny Libeskind in MIPIM?! What, where, why and with whom? Onto the London Stand, to see the new London model - amazing to see the area that it now needs to be to take in everything that is happening in London. As usual it’s a forty minute journey across the floor stopping and talking to all and sundry. Off now to dinner with Eckersley O’Callaghan with John Nordon, Roger Black, David Taylor and some bloke called Peter Murray, before heading to the Carlton for the 15th annual Carlton Club party!
Today, I have played the MIPIM game like the best of them. Holding out for the best meeting offer then off I go, blowing off my other meetings left, right and centre. I got my comeuppance - it’s played carnage with my planner! I also got thrown out of the Manchester bar. The ignominity of it. And I wasn’t even inebriated, I just didn’t have the right pass. Everyone knows it is the place to be. But if your name’s not down… But great conversations had with lots of creative people. Yes, you can have these in London too, and I argued that before buying my delegates pass this year, but the ease of it all does seem to pay dividends. Think how long it normally takes to catch up with that contact from a few years ago. Meetings set, then cancelled, always something more pressing to do. Here you simply move from cafe to cafe, lunch to dinner, ticking them off one after the next. But the best lesson today was delivered on a cardboard box.
Cabbies got his foot flat to the floor to get me to the airport as I stayed for one too many at The Manchester Bar. Downside: I miss my flight home. Upside: we’ve just got a 50,000sqft mixed-use scheme. Thanks MIPIM and AJ it’s been a killer 24 hours.
Price & Myers rooftop party was full to bursting when we headed up there around 1pm. The sun was shining and the wine flowing. The usual suspects could be found debating if people were really as busy as they were claiming to be, the merits of staying in an overpriced hotel in town as opposed to a villa outside town and the best way to try and bag a free ticket to the Carlton Party tonight. The PRP drinks in the beautiful courtyard off Rue Meynadier proved to be as delightful as ever. It’s nearly time to pop home and change. Big night tonight.
Lunch at Vegaluna with Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton. This feels like a MIPIM where the value of design and paying proper fair fees is no longer a question of perhaps but more a matter of requirement.
A magnificent morning on the Arup Boat for our ‘ovaltable’ today, discussing the future development plans for Cardiff with our twin city Stuttgart. The integrated transport offering of our German sibling is very impressive so we sat down for a family meeting to find out what Cardiff can learn from Stuttgart’s experience, aided by an expert panel of architects, engineers and government officials. This conversation on the Metro Capital Region began years ago so it was great to sit together and really thrash out the details at MIPIM.
Despite my lodgings being out on the periphery and panicking rather that after all the hype I could miss out on the action, I hopped on a bus and had a marvellous start to the day. Pat Hayes from the London Borough of Ealing gave it all at the Inward Investment Strategies talk for London. Be confident, bold and brave was the message. Spot on, I say! And I was overwhelmed with childlike excitement when I saw the new London Model. It’s absolutely amazing! Is that embarrassing to admit? My only negative so far is the glaring inbalance of men to women. The RIBA just launched their #SeeMeJoinMe campaign addressing this ongoing issue in the construction industry and judging from the crowds here it’s clear we have a long way to go.
Will Murray eating Oysters. MIPIM. Fresh.
At Roger Zogolovitch’s relaxing lunch with Rory Olcayto, Phil Coffey, Cathy Slessor, and William Murray.
At Roger Zogolovitch’s relaxing lunch with Rory Olcayto, Leanne Tritton and William Murray.
The new London model: a Vision for London that stretches from Silvertown to Old Oak Common
Notably absent participants: didn’t there used to be a large tent here filled with Russian projects?
New participants at MIPIM. Smaller stature than the London equine force.
Breakfast with Jenny Coe Design and His Royal Zogness of Solid Space. The best ideas happen round the dining table.
On the plane. Again. Third time at Heathrow in three days, This time off to an action-packed MIPIM. My diary consists of; two lunches, two dinners and two parties. It may seem like paradise, but as any old MIPIM hand will tell you; it’s a tiring, relentless footslog that seems awful in anticipation, tiring in the moment and enjoyable in recollection. The weather helps of course. Today is one of my regular MIPIM experiences (actually, they’re all regular. I do the same things at the same places at the same times every year), a (long) lunch with Roger Zogolovitch and friends at Astroux & Brun. It’s a collection of MIPIM outcast stalwarts - those who dance on the periphery, openly complain and criticise it, but secretly can’t avoid its siren call. Once again, we shall break open the rose, eat sea urchin, winkle, langoustine and other such delicacies and set the world to rights.
It’s a hazy yet sunny morning in Cannes and I may have just had a meeting that paid for my trip here and then some. It’s all happening here right now. Really good leads flying back and forth.
First night over. Hosted an impromptu dinner for 24 at the Marriott after drinks at the Savills tent and Elliott Wood party. Finished at the Manchester bar, who didn’t? Cannes has an electric buzz about it this year…best since I starting coming here in 2011.
Six days, 1,500km and the entire length of France covered on a bicycle saddle. My posterior has taken the brunt of this extraordinary effort, which makes MIPIM for me so special. The ride itself enables you to gather pace in your dealings with the hustle and bustle of meeting clients, colleagues and contemporaries when you arrive at La Croisette. The first night involves the not so easy task of organising your key and access to your apartment (this year I appear to be located above the eponymous Manchester Bar!), whilst at the same time celebrating with fellow cyclists, firstly at the Savills Tent (burgers and beers flowing freely) before regrouping at the Elliott Wood party. Wednesday is the first day proper. I’m looking forward to catching up with many familiar faces and to listen to the brilliant schedule of events and speakers on the London Stand.
I’ve arrived. Lovely cab driver called Christian. Best friends now. Sat now in my dodgy apartment in a beach resort with no internet and no piscine because they say it’s too cold! Where’s the true grit gone I say! So swimmers re-packed. And my lift core is called Policier. I’m not joking it has a name. When did lift cores acquire names? I mean pets and cars that’s fine. But lift cores? Could I possibly be in the wrong place? Are these bars on the windows for a reason I wonder? So end of day one. Rumour has it booze ran out at the MIPIM party at the Carlton but the band played on. So far the myth is alive and kicking. Well.. good night and thank you for listening. I’m saving myself for tomorrow.
P.S. For inciteful observations on the architectural scene out there don’t give up. They’re coming. Maybe tomorrow. Now there’s a song in there somewhere.
Exciting first day at MIPIM. Lunch at the impressive BNP Paribas tent. Definitely feeling the energy while welcoming the cycle to London group at the finish line. Then visiting the stands ending up at the London stand bar overlooking the water. Extremely proud to be part of London at MIPIM and looking forward to dinner tonight. It’s such a great atmosphere over here and I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Managed to sneak onto the Arup yacht party - full of architects though!! RIBA should have MIPIM espionage as part of Part 3 training. Thinking on your feet and a bit of blag can open doors or should I say gangways!
Just arrived in Cannes and amazed that my digs are not a total dump! God bless Airbnb. My roomie’s passport expired so she couldn’t get here - sad not to see her would have been fun…
Day one nearly done. Has been fun. Lots of interesting people to speak with and always good to see our role form other professions’ perspective. Watched The New London Model launched, put the Cornflake model days into perspective. Delivering Homes for London talk drew my attention. I found Mark Farmer’s comments on micro units, trading square footage for location and off site fabrication really interesting. Just listened to Terry Farrell speak of his vision of London. Delivered so eloquently, his enthusiasm infectious, made me proud to be an architect.
Brilliant first day in Cannes, helped by overhearing that the Cardiff model is ‘the greatest I’ve ever seen at MIPIM’! Our interactive model of current and pipeline developments was unveiled with all the bells and whistles, including a touch screen which brings the individual elements to life. Stop by the R7. A4 for a chat and a play!
Stocked up with business cards and making last minute appointments as I arrive in Cannes. MIPIM fills me with part dread and part excitement. Croydon has a lot to talk about and we do MIPIM to talk to as many people as we can so we have choice – choice about who we work with and the type of development we want to see. We’re constantly hammered in the local press about selling off to overseas investors at these things. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about raising the profile about what kind of place we want Croydon to be and getting other people to join us on the journey. Over 30 appointments with people who are interested - not a bad start.
My colleagues are miffed. Cannes. Beautiful, warm sunshine. Croissants and coffee. Evening parties aboard yachts. No, I tell them, this is a work event for MABs and VICs. And I fall into the first category, in case you were wondering. So, it’s day 1 of MIPIM and I’m still in London. Why do I feel like Rita has already had the green light and I’m still in the queue? To make up for my tardiness I decide to use my time well and plan my trip. Is there a Wallpaper Guide to MIPIM I wonder? You know, 24 hours in Cannes, nightlife, architectural highlights, that kind of thing. No, there isn’t one! So I resort to the highly illuminating MIPIM Planner and sit down to plan. What is it that PMs always say to me? Julian, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. Give me strength! I’m planning, I’m planning! I don’t have a cigarette paper sliver left in my diary! Anyway, I may be a day late, but I am ready. I am mentally and emotionally prepared. Like a rabbit out of a hole. Like a greyhound out of the trap. Like a … Oh, sod it! See you on the other side.
At a late breakfast this morning a client we’ve worked with for years confessed that ‘the election can’t come soon enough for us’. Apparently a number of his retail and residential clients have put projects on hold choosing to wait and see what the election brings on 6 May. Concerns about mansion tax and other forms of taxation that could potentially make it more difficult for foreign investors to buy property in the UK will effect what they decide to do. The good news is that it seems there is no question that projects WILL go ahead but it’s in what form that is in question. Off to lunch shortly. It’s a hard life.
Sun is beginning to peek through the clouds at Gatwick. It’s an ungodly hour to get up for a 7:25am flight but looking forward to a quick power nap on the plane before hitting the Croisette. Hoping it will be sunny in Cannes and looking forward to seeing the rest of London at MIPIM.
Slightly alarming to get on a plane and you realise that half your client base and your colleagues are on board - the management handbooks would call that a ‘core business risk’. Thankfully we all arrived safely and headed straight to the JLL drinks reception with chief of staff and deputy mayor for policy and planning, Edward Lister. Then to dinner with MIPIM ‘virgin’ Rab Bennetts and Julian Lipscombe from Bennetts Associates. I tried to engage him in deep and meaningful conversation about sector analysis and target markets but alas all he cared about was the results of the Man U/Arsenal game. Apparently Arsenal won.
This year’s MIPIM has seen the latest round in the battle of the models. At last October’s MIPIM UK, representatives from Cardiff were lapping up the plaudits after their model of the city effectively stole the show. The good folk from Wales were confident that their 32m2 effort would be bigger than London’s annual showstopper.But forewarned is forearmed, and London turned up at Cannes this year with an even larger representation of its streets and buildings – a 1:2000 model covering a whopping 42m². A pat on the back to both, but these plucky efforts have been shoved firmly into the shadows by a brand new behemoth created for Istanbul. The massive 96m² model which sits proudly in the huge tent in front of MIPIM’s Palais de Festivals [the bunker] is being billed as the ‘largest model ever’.
Awakening to the Mediterranean light. Who couldn’t be curious about what the day will bring? Mustn’t miss this morning’s unveiling of the new London model. Will it reflect what’s new about London? Or provide clues to areas of London’s future growth? Will it be sufficiently larger, to encompass zones where epic urban transformation is already a hot topic? Perhaps set a dramatic stage for the follow-on presentations entitled, ‘Delivering Homes for London’, ‘Vision for London’, and Ed Lister’s keynote address?
About to depart Aix-en-Provence on final hilly stage into MIPIM. At supper last night Cycle to Cannes CEO Nick Hanmer spoke along side Coram chief exec Carol Horman and confirmed that yesterday we passed our target having raised £2million for charity since forming 10 years ago. Standing ovations all round, a few bottles of wine and on our table a very happy group including FCBS managing partner Geoff Rich, Joe Morris and Crosstrees Matt Mason to name a few.
Midnight journey from Nice airport to Cannes. The Croisette has been transformed by a continuous strip of red light; empty, anticipating the hordes who will promenade here this week.
A night of talking cycling and architecture. Tonight Coram described the exceptional work they do with children (check them out) and it was announced through sponsorship etc. that the Cycle 2 MIPIM has raised £250,000 for the cause. A small sum of this has been raised through our idea to offer caffeine to riders at stage breaks…Coffees Coffey is born.
A long day travelling over and registration for both MIPIM and the London Club could not have been more efficient. London stand looking great by the way. Place buzzing with last minute finishing touches and lots of chat as to what to attend and what stands to check out over the next few days. Off now to meet some fellow architects for some pre-match pep talking and drinks. As for Cannes…….well it had me at Hello.
From San Francisco to the South of France…it could be worse. I’m especially looking forward to Wednesday, when I’ve been invited to be attend the Future Project Awards. Afterwards I’ll catch up with my Wordsearch colleagues at Le Cirque, before they start preparations for the Carlton Club, where I’ll be holed up for the next two nights. For us, being at MIPIM is mainly social, and business comes second; we host the Club to support our clients, colleagues and friends by providing an environment where people can network, meet old and new friends and relax after a tough few days MIPIMing. And YES, continuous lunches, dinners, and parties are tough.
Today has been spent trying to cram five days of work into one. I’ve been told some pretty tall tales by MIPIM veterans about the hangovers that follow a week in Cannes, but the one I fear most is in my inbox. This is my first MIPIM and it’s a new balancing act. There’s so much on offer that coordinating my itinerary has begun to compete with making sure my team has enough to do for the rest of the week and that all the loose ends are tied up before I leave. I’m expecting the unexpected, but will be glad to arrive in Cannes to see MIPIM for myself and begin sorting the truth from the hype. I’m also looking forward to being able to tell the story from a woman’s point of view. Passport – check! Boarding pass – check! iPad – check!
So …today summed it all up. One meeting. Two conversations. My learned colleague from G&T reckoned MIPIM is the Ayai Napa for Middle Aged Blokes (MAB’s). Consider that. My other learned colleagues (Very Important Clients) also jested that it was nothing but one continuous drinking session. Imagine my consternation! After a few years away my rather blurry memory seemed to agree. So, has anything changed in my absence? Or after day one will it matter what I had said or who I had met because I wouldn’t remember a thing. Hold on tight folks, if rumour and memory serve me right I am about to step into the construction world equivalent of ‘Rita’, the fastest rollercoaster ever at Alton Towers, which leaves you Dazed and Confused. Or shall we all be proved wrong?
It’s G&Ts all round at 35,000ft on the 12.05 flight from Gatwick. Eavesdropping I overhear conversations centred around who’s going to the BCO conference in Atlanta, difficult clients you don’t want to work with (sorry I can’t say who they are) and the merits of sticking to spirits this week. It’s rare to see people this upbeat on a Monday but the view from my window seat certainly looks a lot prettier than it did back in Blighty.
Grim at Gatwick
MIPIM is always a busy time but with the arrival of Tony Danaher as ING’s executive chairman, my diary has gone into overdrive. After a lifetime spent working across every aspect of the built environment, the man is well connected. Hoping that I can keep up and learn from the master. The vibe on the street is that MIPIM will be awash with investors with money to spend but also under heavy media scrutiny as the housing crisis continues to be one of the greatest challenges we all face. With an election weeks away, who will provide the answers?
I’m just boarding a BA flight on my way back from a pretty full-on weekend in Berlin. Poor diary management I know! Anyway, the skyline of Germany’s capital was littered with cranes so I’m looking forward to visiting their stand down at MIPIM this week. I’m also looking forward (with a degree of trepidation) to hosting 2 breakfast meetings, 2 x lunches, 3 x dinners and to co-hosting the infamous Carlton Club Party with Wordsearch on Wednesday night. In addition, I will be attending parties as a guest of PRP Architects, Price & Myers and ‘Teatails’ hosted by Morrow & Lorraine. So, on reflection sampling Berlin’s hedonistic nightlife was possibly not the best plan this weekend. Time for an early night.
In 48 hours the Cycle to Cannes peloton will be enjoying a few celebratory drinks courtesy of Savills on the Croisette. That will kick off the first of many opportunities for meeting old friends, clients and consultant and surely making some new ones too. My top-tip for newbies is keep it loose-fit and go with the flow.
Gearing up for second time around at MIPIM, if you haven’t been, it is like an upmarket stag do for the property industry, vast groups of suited men flooding Cannes - many unfortunately by the end of the day quite pissed. With all the parties, the trick is to have fun, socialise, watch your intake and hopefully create some inspired opportunities. It’s a testing event. In one way the experience is a great leveller - ideal for a growing practice to try its luck.
Sat on the bus after a 46km stage (yes, you can sit on the bus) we pass the Peloton. The ladies are setting the pace for this first outing after an early lunch. Keeping it steady is an art in conserving energy for later stages and of course the hills on day 5. It’s pretty much the cycling equivalent of MIPIM. Don’t peak too early…there’s plenty to see and do on Thursday and Friday. Chris Dyson cheerily notes from the seat behind me that, on Thursday, he has lunch and dinner with a QS who is possibly introducing him to a new client. Case in point.
After what has been a very busy start to the year I have never felt more like escaping Northern Ireland for some spring sunshine on the French Riviera…though from what I can gather a week spent at MIPIM has the potential to make things a whole lot crazier. As a ‘first timer’ I feel a little like a fresher about to set off to Uni, apprehensive, excited….where do I go? What do I do first? Who will I meet? Have I got every thing I need? am I prepared to wow? Oh and I am so with Karen Cook on the shoe issue. I guess the next few days will tell the tale.
Up at 4.45am, ready to experience the wonders of Champagne. Looking forward to doing the same in reverse at Tom Bloxhams End of MIPIM BBQ next Friday. Lots of fizz and bed at quarter to 5. Plenty of meetings, lunches, dinners and talks in between. Tired and carrying a chesty cough, Jennifer Ross of Tibbalds when asked ‘What’s the best thing you are doing at MIPIM?’ replies ‘Coming home’. With such longing for MIPIM to begin and end it seems Cycle 2 MIPIM is not the only endurance test on offer in the south of France this week.
Winter’s over, Spring’s here! Which city will be best represented? What nature of projects are other cities envisioning? Whose seminar will debate new ideas? Whose yacht will be in the bay? Which shoes will cause me the least pain? Will my flight be overbooked, the plane malfunction, and the airline lose my luggage while the French go on strike and have no taxi to meet us at the other end when it’s after midnight?
Will it pour down rain with no possibility of cover on that long walk to the Palais? Will I manage to be on time to all those early breakfast meetings, especially with the time difference? Will I remember my swimsuit in case it’s gorgeously hot and sunny and I manage to escape? Well, I can dream about the last one, anyway…
I’m still in London, commiserating over the fact I couldn’t bike to MIPIM with my Cycle To… counterparts as planned. Then it’s a quick jaunt to San Francisco, before I descend into sunny Nice. For now, I’ve managed to take my mind off of the sorrow of not being part of the peloton, by looking forward to the Carlton Club, the networking soirée which Wordsearch has hosted for the past 15 years. I’ll get the chance to catch up with old and new friends; it’s always very fun, and quite a late night. Since the success of last year, we’re hosting two nights at the Carlton hotel. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to buy tickets, or risk your luck and turn up on the night from 10pm.
We’re all set for next week, a fantastic opportunity for the team to get alongside 21,000 delegates including 4,500 investors, putting Cardiff firmly on the international investment map and competing on a global scale.
We’ll also be unveiling our brand new 350ft² interactive city model for the first time - and all at our new MIPIM home – a bigger and better stand in a new location (R7. A4.). It’s going to be a very busy week!
So here we go again. Initial estimates put the number of architects (from around the world) attending this year’s property jamboree in Cannes between 1,600 to 1,800 - potentially the highest ever. For completeness, these are the exact totals for architects in previous years.
Mipim 2014: 1665
Mipim 2013: 1650
Mipim 2012: 1469
Mipim 2011: 1471
Mipim 2010: 1390
As a result of this apparent increased interest in design, the proferssion has now been given its own ‘business, networking and showcase area dedicated to architecture’ at the Gare Maritime.
Still, with more than 21,000 attendees due to visit the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès - affectionately known as the bunker - architects still make up less than 10 percent of those officially regisitered for MIPIM.
More than 100 riders, including architects and developers set off on the annual charity cycle ride to Cannes #CYCLETOMIPIM10
MIPIM 2015: As it happens by the AJ bloggers in Cannes