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The Architects' Journal

16 March 2019

16 March 2019

MIPIM 2019 - Architects Journal blog

Leo Pemberton of Bespoke Careers blogs for the AJ

Embarking on the annual trip to MIPIM in Cannes earlier this Spring, Associate Director of Bespoke Careers,  Leo Pemberton, collaborated with the Architects Journal to offer his insight in their increasingly popular AJ MIPIM blog 2019 – a go to resource for what is the industry’s most key event.

With much of the talk, again, focussing on Brexit and how it is impacting on business and the future - Leo found that although there were many frustrations for architects and designers regarding long pauses on projects and delayed decisions, most remained positive and upbeat for any further hiring/resourcing requirements for the coming months.

Have a read to find out what went on in these excerpts from the AJ MIPIM blog below:

Pre MIPIM run through

Enjoyed my pre-MIPIM planning session this morning with the Bespoke team. For the first time in years I’m not taking the Cannes Cannes Express – it’s Jet2 this time! The forecast is looking good (no rain!) but it’s MIPIM so I’ll be taking my brolly just in case.

We’re looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues at the usual haunts (Manchester Bar is always a fave) and to joining some interesting talks in the London stand and the UK government pavilion. ‘Health, wellbeing and happiness – the search for the Holy Grail’ sounds like a good one. See you down there! 

Monday 11th March  - Touch down!

Flying in from Stansted on a far-too-early flight, we’ve touched down in Cannes and we’re ready to kick off MIPIM 2019! So far, the vibe in the town is relaxed with the best tables on La Croisette free for the taking, but I’m sure tomorrow will be a different story! Despite strong winds, the sun is out, and we hosted a lunch for friends on the seafront, got our first taste of chilled rosé and compared notes on what to expect from the week ahead. 

Our thoughts turned to the brave cyclists who we hope are being helped along by tailwinds on the final leg of their journey – we look forward to welcoming them into town tomorrow afternoon. 

Tonight, we head off to the Holistic ‘Go Dutch’ networking event and dinner, we can’t wait to get our hands on their fantastic MIPIM survival kits. Trust us on this, they come in handy. 

Fun fact about Cannes; it may come as no surprise to anyone walking up and down La Croisette that Cannes is home to more luxury goods shops than any other French location outside of Paris!


Tuesday 12th March - Some familiar faces

The suits have arrived! The official first day of MIPIM is here and the sunshine continues. I kicked off the day with a double pit-stop on the beach at Conisbee’s breakfast then headed down La Croisette to the Women in Property brekkie, which was a very welcome break from a sea of navy suits. 

Arriving at the London stand, it feels busier and buzzier than ever – a lot of familiar faces are around to chat to. The terrace is a great location to catch up with clients who are often pressed for time in London, but able to chew the fat over a coffee (or something stronger) here. Does anyone else find it frustrating to recognise a face, but find their lanyard is just out of sight? 

Fascinating to hear more about the introduction of 5G in the ‘Digital Connectivity’ talk with Cluttons. Karen Cook of PLP was in the audience and it was particularly interesting to hear that PLP’s 22 Bishopsgate is set to be the smartest in London. 

Excited to see what the afternoon brings. With the cyclists rolling into town and the opening reception of the London Stand, it’ll be a busy one!

Wednesday 13th March - What an opening!

After last night’s opening of the London stand I headed along for my annual catch up with the Eckersley O’Callaghan lot at their drinks reception, held in a great little bar with even better canapés. While enjoying the buzz I got the chance to congratulate James on his gold medal award from the IoSE. The surprise of the evening came from the official MIPIM opening party, which I’ve never actually attended before. I didn’t expect the grand fireworks and music displays — a truly opulent spectacle!

Catching the swimmers arriving on the shore of the London stand after their charity swim this morning was a highlight — all organised by our friends at dMFK and Elliott Wood. Luckily, the sun was already blasting down as they peeled out of their wetsuits.

It’s clear that collaboration is key after the ‘London: A Regional Economy’ discussion. Nick Walkley of Homes England was adamant that we don’t build enough homes to support the economy and all panellists agreed that investing in infrastructure was the way to move things forward.

Heading uphill now to the Price & Myers buffet lunch, always a fabulous event and a who’s who of architects and engineers. The view is breathtaking, especially on a day like today.

Thursday 14th March - A dog friendly approach

The final full day of MIPIM has begun, the tiredness is slowly creeping in and the thought of having a glass of vin rosé is frightening!

Recapping yesterday afternoon’s adventures, it was refreshing to get away from the craziness of La Croisette for a few hours to head into the Old Town for the Consibee and HTA drinks receptions on the beach. 

As the night drew on, I found myself at the notorious Warwick Estates party at Parc du Ville — it’s definitely not like anything I’ve ever seen before; an ice sculptor with chainsaw in full throttle and ‘cannes-cannes’ girls greeted us on arrival.

Kicked off this morning with a great client catch-up about employee retention and benefits over coffee at the Carlton, before heading back into the Palais for a fascinating and apt panel discussion on ‘health, wellbeing and happiness’ at the UK government stand.

As a dog obsessive, I was intrigued to hear that 17.5 per cent of Amazon HQ employees in Seattle bring their canine to work — not sure I can convince Lindsay to implement this! At Bespoke, we’ve noticed that if a practice allows pets it can be a big factor for candidates when weighing up employment offers. I was also surprised to hear that all wework building leases have to be ‘dog-friendly’ as apparently having an animal in the workplace makes employees feel more at home and improves their mental health. PLP’s 22 Bishopsgate was mentioned again as a great example of a workspace that encourages a holistic approach to occupying space and emphasising outdoor awareness.

Today’s meetings will be conducted outside in the bright sunshine. The weather has been perfect, if slightly chilly at night. We’re nearly there, not too jaded just yet!

Friday 15th March - an upbeat look ahead

Now that MIPIM 2019 has closed its doors, I can sit back and reflect on what my main takeaways were. The mood was upbeat and positive — fuelled by sunshine and alcohol — but much as I tried to avoid the Brexit chat, the political chaos back in London dominated. Bespoke Careers being a recruitment company, we deal directly with architects and designers, and we can definitely sense their frustration. Most people I talked to cited longer pauses on projects and decisions being held off until there is clarity, with many acknowledging that it could be ‘all systems go’ within weeks.

Conversations changed by the hour as we kept up with rolling news feeds of events in parliament, knowing that they could directly affect the very projects that we were discussing and particularly for us, any further hiring/resourcing requirements for the coming months. ‘Uncertainty’ has been a key word for the last three years of MIPIM, and it is most certainly still an overarching theme.

On another note, with last year’s emphasis on attendee conduct, I was not the only one to notice the apparent return of ‘glamour girls’ at events and the questionable behaviour on display at some of the more ostentatious events. Better female representation was evident, but I can’t help feeling that there is still a long way to go on this.

Take a look at the full AJ MIPIM blog.


Author: Leo Pemberton, The Architects' Journal

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