Exclusive WAN report on day one of MIPIM
Around 30,000 property professionals from all over the world are expected in Cannes this week for the annual MIPIM rendezvous. MIPIM 2008 is in its 19th year and provides the commercial property world with one of the largest (certainly THE largest in Europe) platform for networking.
The show officially opened its doors a few hours ago. There is the usual queue of people waiting to pick up their badges to enter the Palais des Festivals, which hosts MIPIM and is world famous for hosting the International Film Festival (unfortunately a far cry from an architectural icon…). Walking around the stands one can imagine the time and money spent on each one, it is very hard to believe that a recession has hit the market. Or was it just a rumour..?
Within a matter of hours, delegates have already taken over the charming town of Cannes. Cafés were packed this morning with suited people, enjoying their coffee and croissants before heading off for some serious networking, hand shakes, selling their schemes, their buildings, searching for new locations and business opportunities… Developers, investors, agents, architects, end users, the whole property spectrum is here. And I am told today is a “quiet day” with Wednesday and Thursday being the busiest days of this four day property extravaganza!
The majority of the world is represented at MIPIM. The UK has the highest number of companies (1,733), closely followed by France, Germany and the Russian Federation, whose presence has exploded in the last few years.
Whereas the main thrust is happening in the Palais des Festivals, MIPIM is spilling out all around it into specially built marquees, yachts, apartments, restaurants. The list of functions in and out of Cannes, both private and official, seems never ending.
MIPIM is not only a private sector gathering. Cities and regions are very much in force with local authorities displaying both their achievements and plans for the future. According to the official figures, more than 140 mayors from 25 countries will be visiting MIPIM this week, to help promote their cities and attract outside investments.
Architects are certainly not under represented (over 900 practices are listed). Walking through the exhibition, architectural input is very much evident. The walk is a real feast for the eyes with a myriad of models. Towers are clearly still very much in vogue. The “Shard of Glass” tower, by Renzo Piano, 310 m high and 73 floors, was the first vertical city to be proposed in Europe and will be built in London in 2011 becoming then the tallest building in the UK. The “Russia Tower” in Moscow, a Lord Foster design (who is speaking on the Russian Land stand tomorrow) is destined to be the highest in Europe at 600 metres. A “city in a city”, the tower will include shops, offices, apartments, hotel, fitness centres.
A much awaited event this afternoon is that of the unveiling of the five top designs for the Signal Tower in La Défense, Paris. The tower is expected to become La Défense’s new iconic building and will be of mixed use. Rumour has it that this could be another win for Lord Foster… we won’t know until April!
Talking of competition, CABE is launching an interesting initiative by holding a live Design Review on Thursday, aimed at those unfamiliar with the process to come and see a scheme being reviewed “live”. Paul Finch, chair of the London 2012 design review panel will chair the session.
While sustainability is very much at l’ordre du jour, I have yet to find an entirely sustainable or recyclable stand. As for the carbon footprint of 30,000 people and more flooding into Cannes, not to mention the armada of lorries and cars delivering all the stands, brochures and other paraphernalia, this, perhaps is one topic that needs a little more work on within the property world?
Cannes is buzzing. Publicity stunts and PR exercises abound. Everything is done to attract attention and demonstrate involvement in an array of projects. If anyone needs an update on regeneration and property developments in the world while rubbing shoulders with some serious players, then this certainly is the place to be.
Sibylle Clucas reporting for WAN.
Sibylle is a director of specialist property marketing and PR agency, Clucas Communications. She has 15 years PR experience and worked for numerous property developers and professionals in Europe and the UK.