Dezeen Magazine

Property fair MIPIM to go ahead as Geneva Motor Show cancelled

Property fair MIPIM to go ahead as Geneva Motor Show cancelled

The Geneva Motor Show has been cancelled, while the MIPIM property fair will happen despite numerous withdrawals, as coronavirus continues to disrupt events across Europe.

The organisers of the Geneva Motor Show, which was due to open on Tuesday 3 March, announced today that this year's fair has been cancelled due to a government ban on large events.

"We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors' top priority," said Maurice Turrettini, president of the Geneva Motor Show foundation.

"This is a case of force majeure"

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the world's most significant auto fairs where car manufacturers unveil new models and future concepts. It was expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors.

The show was forced to cancel its event after the Swiss Government made the decision yesterday to ban "large-scale events involving more than 1000 people" until March 15, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva," continued Turrettini. "However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision."

The statement from the Geneva Motor Show could mean that car manufacturers and attendees will not be compensated, as force majeure clauses are commonly included in contracts to release an organisation from liability in extraordinary circumstances.

"We re-confirm that MIPIM will run as scheduled"

In neighbouring France, the organisers of MIPIM, which is described as the world's leading real estate market event, announced that the property fair would take place as scheduled on 10-13 March.

It will go ahead despite around 10 per cent of architects and developers deciding not to travel, according to the organisers.

"Whilst we appreciate the situation is continually evolving, as of today more than 90 per cent of companies remain committed to attend MIPIM," said a spokesperson.

"Therefore, we re-confirm that MIPIM will run as scheduled on 10-13 March."

The fair takes place in Cannes in the south of France and was expected to attract 23,000 people to the city.

BDP and HOK among architects to withdraw

Although the event is going ahead, numerous developers and architects have made the decision not to attend the fair.

The UK's second largest architecture studio BDP is among the studios that have decided not to attend. As is architecture firm HOK.

"The health and safety of our employees is our top priority and we have taken the decision not to attend this year’s MIPIM due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 in Europe," BDP chief executive John McManus told Dezeen.

"We had planned to send 12 representatives to the event from eight different studios and we are concerned about the potential impact on the wider BDP community and their families."

Other architecture studios including Grimshaw and Herzog & de Meuron told Dezeen that they were currently intending to attend, but were monitoring the situation.

"France and Cannes are not identified as areas of concern"

MIPIM said its decision not to delay the fair was based on the latest advice from the World Health Organization and the fact France was not an "area of concern".

"Our decision is based on current facts and guidance from local, national and international authorities including the World Health Organization," its statement continued.

"There is no travel ban in place across France, and France and Cannes are not identified as areas of concern."

The coronavirus outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In total more than 80,000 people have been reported as infected by the virus in around 50 countries.

It has impacted numerous events across Europe with Salone del Mobile in Milan the most significant event that has been postponed. The furniture fair will now take place in June, while the Light + Building fair in Frankfurt has been postponed until September.