Last year’s MIPIM was overcast (literally and figuratively) by a general sense of gloom and uncertainty about the future. This year’s overall sentiment was much brighter indeed. The early morning flight from Gatwick was packed with fellow MIPIM attendees and the networking had already commenced. This year we arrived into Cannes on the Monday to make sure we had time to acclimatise and get into the swing of things with a glass or two of (red AND bizarrely chilled?) Sancerre. We made sure to pick up our MIPIM badge that afternoon to avoid the huge Tuesday queues. After an interesting catch up with our friends from Patrick Parsons we headed to the London First Reception hosted in the JLL marquee on the beach. Mayor Sir Edward Lister inaugurated MIPIM with a positive and upbeat speech that would define the tone of the rest of the week. The London housing crisis was at the top of the agenda. Sensibly we decided to have an early night on Monday, to ensure we (at least) started MIPIM without a hangover.
Official day one of MIPIM and the sun is shining, investors are ready to mingle and everybody is keen to start doing business. After an insightful breakfast meeting with Kier we headed straight into the ‘bunker’ and were keen to visit the London stand which was bustling with activity. We had the pleasure of seeing Boris Johnson making his way around the stands, looking as jolly and approachable as usual, and heard him deliver one of his as ever captivating speeches in which he debated what the letters of MIPIM actually stand for. We are still not sure. Boris Johnson reiterated his commitment to make London properties more affordable for Londoners and urged developers to offer new homes to Londoners first. That afternoon we were invited onto Arup’s yacht, wedged in between many others so not allowing much air or sunshine, but nonetheless a yacht in Cannes so we shan’t complain. We had the pleasure of discussing the importance of apprenticeships and the current lack of university support when helping students transit from academia to the working world with Dame Jo Valentine. Irish contractor McAleer & Rushe invited us for dinner where prospects of new aparthotels and new luxury hotels were floated around the table. Many hotel developers such as Dominvs, Grand Hyatt and the team behind the W hotel were present. We had a fantastic view of the opening fireworks from our table in the bustling Le Caveau 30 and the evening was wrapped up with a digestif (much needed after the exquisite but copious food) at Caffe Roma.
MIPIM day two commenced with a convivial breakfast reception hosted by WSP, where we had a chance to catch up with Bill Price and Tom Smith about WSP’s international plans. That afternoon we hosted a lunch in conjunction with architects Hawkins/Brown where we had the pleasure of hosting several guests including Annalie York from Incasa Consulting, Jeremy Edwards from Arup and Leanne Tritton from ING. That afternoon we had a chance to have a proper look around the ‘bunker’ stands. After the RIBA reception on the beach, we were invited to a dinner hosted by Union Hanover Securities, Equity Bridge Asset Management and Southern Grove which was lively to say the least.
As the third and final day approached spirits were still running high, however several bleary eyes appeared on la Croisette. We started the day with breakfast at the Majestic hosted by Eversheds. Apart from a smashed chandelier in the entrance, possibly caused by disorderly behaviour the previous evening, it was all ties and business at the breakfast. The afternoon was a final whirlwind of networking, rushing between Pramerica, PB+PW, Consero, and Essential Living events. The evening culminated back at the Majestic with the Coutts annual Cocktail Party, with the finest champagne and even finer salmon. After a much needed relaxed dinner on Thursday, we left Cannes on Friday morning, sun shining even brighter than when we arrived. Many of the same people from the inward flight were back at Nice airport, everybody slightly glowing, partly from time in the sun, and partly from the euphoria of most probably having secured a few good deals during this very productive week.
Now let’s bring on MIPIM 2015, and hopefully RISE will be there welcoming you onto our yacht.