February 26th, 2016

MIPIM and Me: Peter Murray

For the second in our special blog series in the run-up to MIPIM we spoke to Peter Murray.

Peter is the founder of the London Festival of Architecture and the NLA, where he currently serves as Chairman. Trained as an architect, he was an editor of Building Design and RIBA Journal before starting Blueprint in 1983. He is also Chairman of Wordsearch, an international marketing and branding consultancy that specialises in the design and communications of architecture and real estate. In 2005 Peter launched architecture’s premier long-distance charity cycle event, Cycle to Cannes, a six-day ride from London to the MIPIM.

When was your first visit to MIPIM? Why did you decide to go?
1990. I was advising Rosehaugh Stanhope about the communications strategy for Broadgate. I came with Kevin McGovern from Rosehaugh. There was only a couple of thousand people there. The place was empty. I stayed in a suite in the Majestic. My sleeping arrangements have gone downhill ever since.

What is your best MIPIM memory?
Arriving with the first Cycle to Cannes riders in 2006. There were 17 of us. It was the wettest and coldest of all the rides and although the MIPIM organisers weren’t very keen to see us ride up to the entrance of the Palais, there was a great sense of achievement. I still get quite emotional when the riders sweep into the Croisette, the weather is better now, the ride is superbly organised and MIPIM is glad to be involved, but the sense of achievement is still there for everyone who takes pert.

What does MIPIM mean to you?
A lot of networking; a lot of chairing of meetings; blue skies and sunshine; foie gras; and until this year the Carlton Club. I started the Club about 15 years ago when I was running Wordsearch as there was nowhere for people to go after dinner. It started at 11.00 and went on till about 4.00 in the morning. The first few years we did it three nights on the trot, which was tough, and then cut it down to two. Now others have borrowed the idea and the team at Wordsearch have thrown in the towel so they can enjoy other people’s parties instead.

What drives you to continue going?
I used to go because I was designing stands; for a time I put together a joint display of architects in the days when the RIBA wasn’t interested. Now the London Region put on a very good show in the London Stand. Which is a good thing – I kept telling them that there are more clients per square metre in MIPIM than anywhere in the world at any one time.

What is your forecast for this year’s show? 
London will be awesome. There is so much happening, so many issues to discuss from the impact of the Housing and Planning Bill to the next Mayor.

What is the one event in the Tough Guide you wouldn’t miss?
The arrival of the cyclists at the Palais on Tuesday afternoon.

One piece of advice to a first timer?
Don’t overplan your days in advance – serendipity plays an important role in a successful MIPIM.


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