MIPIM 2014

Blog — 18 Mar 2014

It took us a long time to understand the value of networking.

Peter Murray is the ultimate networker. When I bumped into him and his family at The Museum of Modern Art, New York 1981, it was more than a happy coincidence. It was a piece of serendipity that helped us on our way as young architects. I think anyone who knows him would agree that Peter is still the network king. Most recently Peter set up the NLA, and we find we use it more than the RIBA, why? Almost certainly because it offers better opportunities to meet other property professionals.

Stiff + Trevillion had not been to MIPIM for about 10 years, in fact the last time we went it was on the back of another Peter Murray initiative. At the end of that trip Richard Blandy and I spent a very memorable day in Marseilles, enjoying a harbourside Bouillabaisse and a visit to the Unité.

A decade or so later and MIPIM felt very different. The optimism in the London property market was very evident, and there is a real sense that the London projects will happen, but can the same be said for projects like the La Defense expansion in Paris?

The optimism is, as ever, tempered by the reality of what is being proposed, the mediocrity of the towers and stumps that will be scattered across the globe is depressing. Computer generated blobs, that despite coming in all shapes and sizes, all do the same thing, a relentless bravado that ignores context, climate and culture. The global solution to the world's working and living environments.

Most of our work is in the UK, and most of the people we met and spent time with we knew from London, and that is I suppose the point of MIPIM. You meet old friends, chat, reminisce and laugh, and best of all the weather is usually great.

Two days was probably enough, at least that’s what my liver told me, but I have to say I enjoyed it and would go again.