Capita Symonds' Andrew Pryke reports back from MIPIM 2011
A 1 hour 50 minute flight to Nice sees a change in temperature and a bright sunny day.
More queues for the bus to Cannes reminds me that people don't queue here and it's every man and woman for himself to attempt to get that precious double seat and space for themselves. I get a call from David Matthews from Building magazine, he is flying in tonight and would like to meet up. I will try and get him on the number of lunches and dinners Capita Symonds is hosting. Fingers crossed, we are already over subscribed!
However the journey is quick and painless.
A quick check in at my hotel, and change and out for lunch at a Beach Bistro with my Capita Symonds colleagues. There is much calm before the storm, with the Croisette virtually empty. The locals enjoying a day amongst one of two weeks in the year when an event is not happening in Cannes.
Walking to Cafe Roma, the much frequented cafe/ bar opposite the conference centre, is quiet. Not the place it will be from tomorrow onward.
Work is going on in the conference centre. This will go on through the night to prepare Cannes for its busiest week of the year. It is rumoured that more champagne is drunk (to secure deals!) at MIPIM than at any other time. I believe that this is the myth of better times long time gone.
Registration is painless and after dealing with e-mails the evening beckons.
Cafe Roma is the central meeting place for the number of Capita Symonds architects, structural engineers, services and agents to meet. MIPIM is very much a place for chance meetings. Exquisite collisions with key industry leaders that could never happen back in the UK. People are more relaxed at MIPIM and that person you have been trying to meet for months suddenly has time to talk.
Today is no exception for chance meetings. I bump into two architects from my Stirling Wilford days, whom I haven't seen for about ten years - Chris Dyson and Iain Clavedetcher. Both with their own practices and still surviving.
Dinner is with Capita Symonds. A small restaurant in the old town. As the restaurant begins to fill up, there is much anticipation this year. The commercial market appears to be optimistic. All delegates appear to be going through their rehearsals for the oncoming event. Like Olympic athletes, they are limbering up and going through their last minute routines before the race for that crucial deal, the win that will make their 2011 season.
Returning to the hotel I am grabbed by Richard Payne with his Turner and Townsend colleagues who accuses me of stalking them! Very rich as everywhere I have been they seem to follow later! They offer a drink and a review of their campaign.
Things are looking good for the forthcoming week...