There was a surprising optimism at this year’s event given the number of countries around the world faced with all sorts of issues. The much talked about economic recession or slow down, as some like to call it, in Europe certainly did not come across as a worldwide trend. In fact four days of MIPIM led us to believe that the credit crunch seems to be purely a European and North American phenomenon with the rest of the world left unaffected.
The Russians and East European countries very much confirmed this. The Russians were there in force with huge stands most of which were promoting whole regions. The quality of the stands for those so called emerging countries was impressive. No means was spared. Walking around the exhibition, the sound of East European languages was omnipresent. It was also interesting to note a real emergence of East European specialist press, which could easily out number the longer standing international titles if it keeps growing at this rate.
Although still very present and impressive, the Middle Eastern stands were slightly less lavish than in the previous three or four years when they first appeared in force like the Russians today.
One clear message from this MIPIM is that sustainability seems now fully integrated in the property and architectural world. The notion of sustainability has gone beyond just words, conferences and promises. A lot of developments are reportedly far more sustainable especially in markets such as the Middle East, with fewer tall buildings compared with previous years. Sustainability was visibly ticked on a majority of developments exhibited, with a number of speakers encouraging design to become the key to sustainability.
MIPIM offered one of those great unplanned moments which deserves a mention. Two big names in the world of architecture came to MIPIM…
Lord Foster came to help promote four schemes which he is working on with RussianLand, which has one of the largest development portfolios in Russia, the main one being the 600m tall Russia Tower in Moscow. He was particularly concerned with the reduction of energy consumption and use of devices and techniques to make it highly sustainable.
In a back to back presentation, on the same day, traditionalist and classicist Robert Adam attended MIPIM to present his energy and environmental assessment of buildings. Looking at modern and traditional buildings, he spoke against glass skyscrapers and modern designs producing not only “dinosaurs”, but also far less energy efficient and sustainable buildings.
The architectural models on display at MIPIM leads to believe that there might be a new generation of model making in transparent plastic. Some were real works of art linked to all sorts of technologies. One particular model (reportedly cost $1 million to build) was one representing an area of Dubai. It was so precise and detailed that it even included cars head - and tail – lights, street lights, and other minute details and all were individually lit. Beautiful, but hardly sustainable.
MIPIM is not only about messages, trends, and entertainment. All this hard networking could go to waste within no time if contacts made in Cannes last week are not followed-up. Something which, thanks to the buzz and optimism of MIPIM, can be done with greater faith in the months to come and belief that we are not about to face a repeat of the 90s.