MIPIM 2017: my first time there!


Why attend MIPIM, the international property market event, which was held in Cannes from 14 to 16 March 2017? What would an industrial do among these investors and property developers from all over the world? Are discussions not more focused on money, investments and programmes than architecture and ecology?

A market… to market!

Every year, MIPIM brings together the most influential players from all property sectors (residential, offices, shops, logistics, industrial, health sector, etc.). Two weeks ago, I attended this high mass for the first time! We had wanted to go to the event for the last two years to see how it works. Buildings are not just concepts, models or CAD drawings. They become a reality some day with bricks, glass, concrete, timber, and even zinc! In fact, MIPIM provides unrivalled access to the largest current property development projects, as well as to their sources of finance!

19,000 m² of exhibition space in 17 halls; 2,600 exhibitors; 24,200 participants from 90 different countries; 5,300 investors; 4,000 companies; representatives from 500 major cities and 400 journalists: the key figures for MIPIM are impressive, this trade show is getting bigger every year. Over four days, company directors, exhibitors and investors thronged to Cannes to attend approximately one hundred conferences, visit the various stands and generally network.

350 speakers presented original urban projects and innovative approaches in the environmental field.

For my first time in attendance I had a dual goal: take stock of this major event (is it viable to have a stand there? How to best prepare our lobbying? ) and strengthen contacts already established with directors from the Grand Paris bodies, including the CEO of Société du Grand Paris Express.

What I learned from my visit to MIPIM :

  • In Cannes, the year is already 2025, if not 2030
    This event is a means to understand the notion of time in the construction sector. Cities, elected representatives, investors, builders, architects and engineering firms think long term. Although the gestation period of a project is between two and three years, new neighbourhoods and Olympic Games are planned much further ahead.
  • Programmatic projects already well underway
    One might think that the thousands of buildings and hundreds of operations presented are abstract visions, vanishing points, sketches of boxes with neither colour nor texture, calculated investments. A contrario, I observed that the projects exhibited are already well developed in terms of form and materials, making it possible to choose which ones to opt for.
  • Business opportunities
    In Cannes, all you have to do is keep your ears open to hear the property director of France’s national railway company, SNCF, proposing to put 50 hectares of railway wasteland in inner Paris on the market, i.e. more than one third of land still available in the French capital. Or to hear that urban development projects are proliferating in large towns and cities on all five continents, each competing with the others to remain influential in the medium term. For example, a huge project in Hamburg, another in Toronto, and yet others in Istanbul. All you have to do is reach out and pick up the brochures produced by local authorities and property managers to glean the contact details of the key players for each project, accompanied by photos of facade renders and detailed plans.
  • The return of the Russians and the Germans
    This year saw the return of Russian and German investors. The presence of Turkey was also noticeable, with its spectacular pavilion (as big as that of Grand Paris) showcasing a gigantic, excellently produced model of Istanbul describing all current and future property operations in the city.
  • A rather positive result
    A lot of projects identified throughout Europe, contacts to follow up and metal envelopes observed that could become VMZINC!

Will we go back?

More than likely we will go back again as active visitors, but perhaps also as speakers if we can participate in a round table between industrials or if we can organise a thematic conference. For example on the changing constraints for building envelopes, urban densification with upward building or requalification of existing buildings.



Roger Baltus
Engineer - Architect
VMZINC Communication Director

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