Graham Prentice, real estate partner, Dewey & LeBoeuf
The London pavilion was packed this afternoon, probably because Boris Johnson made an appearance.
According to Boris, MIPIM stands for May I Push you Into the Mediterranean. There were a few other phrases his speech-writers dreamed up for him, which I might have been better able to recall had I not carried out my inspection at Morrisons the previous evening.
Boris was characteristically upbeat for the long term future of the London property market in particular - as was Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, whom I bumped into looking at the model of London developments.
Come to think of it, while London model is an excellent display of projects completed, planned and under construction, it’s puzzling that it still omits one of the most architecturally interesting and important developments of them all, the new Rothschild’s headquarters redevelopment at New Court in St Swithin’s Lane – maybe next year?
For once, MIPIM got its opening party right this year. It’s often a dire event in some distant and uninspiring barn, but this year it was in the Carlton Hotel on the Croisette, spilling out on to the beach. The Carlton’s magnificent ballroom is a lovely venue in itself; the use of the whole ground floor and the roadside terraces had differently themed areas, and the music was far enough away that anyone who who wanted to talk and mingle could do so without having to yell themselves hoarse. And there was plenty of champagne.
But the party wasn’t nearly as crowded as previous years: there’s no disguising the downturn in numbers. You can even get to the bar of the Martinez without a battering ram and get a drink within a time which can be measured with a watch rather than a calendar. The beach pavilions aren’t throbbing to the sounds of dance music or sending lasers across the sky. But there’s only been one full day of the main conference so far – will more find their way here for the latter part of the week?