Eurostar travellers arrived at this year’s Mipim event - after an extended journey - hungry and peeved

Neverending story

Another year another Mipim. But there probably hasn’t been one since the property fair begun that has gotten off to such an inauspicious start. First, hundreds of delegates - including two of my hacks - were delayed in King’s Cross on the Eurostar to France, where a Lord of the Flies-style breakdown of social order was narrowly avoided as the train ran out of refreshments for the hungry travellers. After finally leaving the station there was a scramble for connecting trains in Paris and tired Mipimers arrived in Cannes after more than 14 hours travelling. They were greeted by rain and near freezing temperatures which continued well into the week. Things did improve, but the inclement conditions led more than one attendee to question why they were all travelling so far in the first place …


Mipim is all about discussing the big issues. Thank goodness then that one of my journalists found time to catch up with Make’s Ken Shuttleworth to talk architecture, China and miniature toy pandas. Ken was preparing for his star turn at Ecobuild where he will be raising money for a Chinese charity with a Lego model of his design for Bamboo Village - a community centre to be assembled by Ecobuild delegates using Lego bricks on the stand run by Building’s publisher UBM. And so it was that the architect was keen to discuss the availability - or not - of Lego pandas. “You can definitely get Lego animals,” he said with authority. “Perhaps not pandas. Maybe we could get some other animal figures and paint them black and white?” I’m not entirely sure how long it would take to hand paint a family or two of miniature pandas in Lego form but I’m happy to leave that particular job to you Ken. Drop by the UBM stand at 14:30 on Tuesday 20 March for the launch of the model scheme.

Free ride

As Mipim wound down this year, the party of all parties was thrown by Urban Splash’s Tom Bloxham at his fabulous bubble house up in the Cannes hills. Guests were invited to meet the legendary Antti Lovag - the man behind the original design of Bloxham’s property. But who was the mystery cab-scrounger? As some of the industry’s more honest folk including Piers Gough and Penoyre & Prasad’s Phyllida Mills were busily working out a receipt between five, it became apparent that splitting it four ways would be more appropriate as our front-seat traveller had done a runner. One can only imagine he had gone to town on the expenses and was keen to avoid that final €35 euro receipt.

A wedding to die for

It’s nerve-racking enough being best man, surely, without doing the whole thing on television? But that’s what bid manager Scott Adams of Gleeds got roped into in an episode of BBC Three’s Don’t Tell the Bride, which aired on Tuesday. The show offers couples £12,000 to plan a wedding - the only catch is that the planning is done entirely by the groom and the best man, with hilarious consequences. In Tuesday’s episode the “bling” wedding dress picked out by Adams and the hapless groom was rejected by the furious bride: “I’d rather walk down the aisle naked than wear that!” she yelled.
Luckily the wedding itself went a bit smoother.

Table antics


One Mipim dinner hosted by Rider Levitt Bucknall amused guests with a dessert that came complete with a pipette of whisky. A great idea at 7pm but not so clever circa 10pm when guests were were effectively presented with mini water pistols filled with alcohol. Aecom’s Thursday-night dinner was also notable, particularly as new global chief executive of cost management Bob Pell ended up sharing his starter with one of my colleagues. I hear he encouraged our hacks to try escargot, converting them from a snail-sceptic to the point where he found himself losing most of his dish to his new dinner companion. Sacré bleu!