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MIPIM 2016: The clients every architect should meet

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The AJ’s guide to who you should be talking to at this year’s MIPIM - the international property trade fair in Cannes

Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash

Tom Bloxham of chairman and co-founder Urban Splash

’Our big focus [at MIPIM] is hoUSe - a modular family housing concept which will bring an alternative to mass house building (see below).

’We want to work in collaboration with designers on hoUSe - like we have already successfully done with shedkm in Manchester and soon in Salford and North Shields - so welcome thoughts, ideas and the chance to chat to architects about that.

’We are also working on Plymouth Civic Centre, Mansion House - our modular apartment building - Stubbs Mill in Manchester, phase II at Park Hill in Sheffield and lots more.

’Ultimately we want architects who can work with us on these developments. We want architects who share our passion and whose ambition is to use great design to make fantastic spaces in which people can live, work and play. They must have a love of the project and want to work hard either us to create something very special.

’A lot of our developments involve using disused and unloved spaces and we want architects who think like us, who relish the challenge of taking on something difficult and celebrating the past by fusing it with the present.

’What we don’t want is new business people. I want to deal direct with the people who are going to be part of our design team.’

Urban Splash, Springfield courtyard view [HoUSe]

Urban Splash, Springfield courtyard view [HoUSe]

HoUSe concept

Alllied London's Mchael Ingall

Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London

What forthcoming opportunities do you have?
Our St John’s development in Manchester is brimming with design challenges. As always, designing and developing quality buildings and environments in a Beta City needs an architect who can see through those challenges,

We want to push boundaries and are very aware of sustainable trends. We will only develop a place or a building where the design will be award winning. You will get industry recognition working with us.

What do you want from an architect?
A combinations of form follows function and a bit of form follows fiction. We want our places and buildings to tell a story - in fact create a story. We really can’t afford to do vanilla.

What don’t you want?
Want we don’t want is what we don’t get, we don’t want the same. We don’t want design for design sake, design must have a purpose. ‎We don’t want someone else’s story.

Child Graddon Lewis

Child Graddon Lewis

Charlie Green of The Office Group

Charlie Green of The Office Group

What forthcoming opportunities do you have?
We have a new build in Shoreditch we’re working on and a huge part new-build/part refurb in Vauxhall. We’re also just starting two category B fit-outs, one in the West End and one in Paddington.

In terms of the office sector, the flexible, design-led office with a focus on a real sense of place is an accepted way of taking space, mostly for small businesses employing less than 50 people, but also for more established businesses. With the sharing economy becoming more established, the benefits of sharing space in terms of value and work/social consequences is very compelling. Demand will continue to increase and we hope to continue to lead the way.

What do you want from an architect? Obviously creativity and fresh thinking; being able to articulate our approach; and really understanding how to address behavioural changes at work, both in the aesthetic and how the space flows and functions. The space is our business - if we get it wrong it’s not just a case of our employees sucking it up.So we really care about getting it right.

We’re a pain to deal with sometimes because we get heavily involved in the design process. So our architects need to tell us when are ideas work and not be afraid to tell us when they’re crap ideas. We need architects who are commercially astute and who are protective of their creative process but not to the detriment of the budget and programme. And we need to be able to have a beer with them.

What don’t you want? Architects that are too stubborn. And who are slow with their information delivery. And who get too upset if we make changes.

Buckley Gray Yeoman's Henry Wood House for The Office Group

Buckley Gray Yeoman’s Henry Wood House for The Office Group

Source: Hufton + Crow

Buckley Gray Yeoman’s Henry Wood House for The Office Group

Nick Searl, partner at Argent

nick searle

What forthcoming opportunities do you have?
As a business we like to work with a broad range of designers and their creative input will be vital to us as we seek to expand our interests into various new projects over the coming years.

We’ve many long-term relationships with architects that we value deeply. At the same time we also look to fresh thinking and ideas to keep us on our toes. We still have four or five years to go at King’s Cross where there’s a handful of buildings yet to be designed. In addition, we anticipate bringing forward phase two designs at Paradise in Birmingham and expect to be evolving designs for specific building projects at both Brent Cross and Tottenham Hale.

What do you want from an architect?
We expect a lot from our architects. First and foremost we want them to really understand what we are trying to achieve and to focus their creative energies on achieving those objectives. We like architects to listen, to challenge, to collaborate and ultimately to inspire. We also place great value on the ability of architects to communicate their ideas and rationale clearly and credibly. As a business we need to take multiple stakeholders along with us as we progress designs for places and buildings and we can only do this if our designers are able to convey these messages effectively.

What don’t you want?
We are turned off by arrogance and pre-conceived ideas of what is right and what is wrong. Equally, we don’t want designers that lack conviction and too easily compromise their ideas just to try to keep everyone happy. Finding the right balance is key to a successful relationship with any thoughtful and educated client. And coming back to effective communication, presentations and language that only other architects can understand does not help anyone’s cause.

Pancras Square in London's King's Cross

Pancras Square in London’s King’s Cross

Pancras Square in London’s King’s Cross

Jo Negrini, executive director – place at Croydon Council

Proud to be an AJ MIPIM 2016 blogger

What forthcoming opportunities do you have?
We have one of the biggest council-led development programmes in the country, including a wide range of projects from small sites suitable for family housing through to the large scale central Croydon metropolis

What do you want from an architect?
Innovative and creative solutions – delivery of a high quality and efficient product. We also want practices that we can develop a relationship with.

What don’t you want?
Practices which are in and out. We want to develop our ideas and sites with practices who want to go on a journey with us.

Croydon Metropolitan Centre

Croydon Metropolitan Centre

Croydon Metropolitan Centre

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