Mipim: Where Cities Talk To Money

A Russian speaking robot at the Krasnodar Region tent, Mipim

A quick heads up for a piece I wrote for Domus about Mipim, the annual global property fair titled ‘Where Cities Talk To Money’. Here’s a link, and below are a couple of excerpts.


Passing model after model, rendered in glowing Perspex on floating islands of live-edge or hyperreal model railway fantasies, everything begins to bleed into each other. Even worse: a combination of expo-hypnosis and low blood sugar makes it difficult to identify where the models end and the plinths, furniture and free gifts begin. Scales merge so that buffets of Belgian or Scandinavian finger food begin to look like regional development plans. The giant spindles of plants in huge abstract vases (and these ones are particularly sickening, resembling over-scaled versions of Gunther von Hagens’s plastinised veins) seem like they might be cities for 20,000 people. All this stuff delivered and hastily assembled in the Palais becomes interchangeable, transmutable, equivalent.


MIPIM reveals something you can’t really see elsewhere: that cities and regions are here not as the places you and I know as the places where we live, work and love. They’re here as brands, as investment opportunities, as businesses. mipim is where cities talk to money. They sweet talk, whisper, shout (and quite possibly also cry) to money. But it’s never clear where money is. Everyone here is selling, though exactly what is for sale seems mostly slippery. And who they are selling to remains, for the most part, unexplained.

An oil painting of a generic airport hotel, Mipim

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