New London Architecture

Five minutes with... Timo Haedrich

Tuesday 21 March 2023

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly

David Taylor  
Hi Timo. How are you?

Timo Haedrich  
Hi, David. I'm very well, thank you.
 
David Taylor  
Good. I wanted to talk to you about MIPIM, which we're both just back from - firstly, about the Knight Frank Cycle to MIPIM and secondly, about your observations of this year's event? Whether you picked up anything in terms of information or themes that were of note to you. So first of all, how was the ride?
 
Timo Haedrich  
The ride was very eventful. We had four seasons in seven days, and the seasons weren't particularly ordered. We started with winter, had a bit of autumn then a bit of spring, and then summer in Cannes. It was quite harsh on the first three days. As you might have heard on the first day, we couldn't ride at all because there was a thick layer of snow in the UK. So, a lot of people were frustrated because obviously there's always a bit of anticipation, built up before such a massive event. So, we all hopped onto different vehicles but not the bike and made our way to Folkestone. And then obviously, the first two days were kind of harsh as well, with a lot of rain. But you know, everyone was in good spirits and struggled through it. We had a ton of punctures on the first two days, which made it hard for the ride captains, which I was one of this year. So, it wasn't particularly easy that first two days, but you know, it soon got better. And then we're back in the swing of things. And it was brilliant as always.
 
David Taylor  
I heard basically it was the toughest ever in terms of the weather. Was that a fair assessment, do you think?
 
Timo Haedrich  
Interesting. Because I would say - this is my seventh time of doing this - it's definitely up there. And yeah, I think people are right, it was probably the toughest. Last year, we had one really horrible stage. Day five, stage five.
 
David Taylor  
Yeah
 
Timo Haedrich  
I don't know if you heard of that?
 
David Taylor  
I have. it's gone down in folklore! 
 
Timo Haedrich  
Yeah. And that was particularly tough because it was all downhill so you couldn't pedal to keep yourself warm. Whereas the first two days this year you could pedal, and you got warm, even in the wet, but it was definitely quite gruelling. The northern plains of France are not ideal for cycling. 
 
David Taylor  
Bit dull
 
Timo Haedrich  
Yeah, bit dull. Very windy. Normally from the front, and also quite cold and wet. But we struggled through it. Great team effort, as you know. Peloton work means that everyone has to struggle a bit less if you keep the team spirit and the group together.
 
David Taylor  
And how was it riding into Cannes in the sun?

Timo Haedrich  
It was delightful. I won't lie. It was absolutely delightful. As it always is. The first time you see the Mediterranean is pure delight, and then cycling down a route that many of the riders have done before, and along the waterfront is great. Also, the last day and a half, you've been through some amazing scenery. So, you've kind of achieved something already on that day. But then obviously, the bit of fun, bit of work at Cannes, cycling there; proper achievement is always good fun. 
 
David Taylor  
And do you feel you feel a new sense of joy through looking at the newbies and feeling the whole ride through the eyes of the newbies on the ride as well, the new people? 
 
Timo Haedrich  
Absolutely, very good point. Because I remember the first time I was on the ride, the anticipation of it; not knowing what's coming. It gives you another level. And you know, I'm not saying that after you've done it a few times that goes away completely. But it's definitely a bigger sense of achievement you have the first time around. And then, you know, I think it's so good that so many new people come in; this year, especially. Not a hard fact, but I'd say at least 75% of the riders were either first time or second time. Really, really good to see that there's so many new people who want to try it out: going to Cannes in a sustainable, fun way. It felt like definitely the majority were all new on the ride, which was great. 
 
David Taylor  
And so, turning to MIPIM itself, did you sense a certain atmosphere at MIPIM of, say, optimism? And could you sense it in geographical regions? I'm thinking principally of London, the London market, but did you have any observations about the differing economic outlooks and confidence levels in certain countries?
 
Timo Haedrich  
Yes. First of all, I say that my stay was cut short by a day because of the train strike – I had to get a flight instead of the train as planned. So I didn't get the best insights. But I think the UK seemed particularly strong. You get all nationalities at MIPIM, but I think traditionally there is always a strong turnout from the UK and in the short time that we had there we met a few UK clients of ours and it was a real positive, strong outlook. And you know, there's so much going on in the UK still, and that was really good to see.
 
David Taylor  
What sort of work are you doing at the moment, Timo? What projects can we look out for from you guys?
 
Timo Haedrich  
We are doing a variety of things. We're just finishing our community hub for Related Argent at Kings Cross, which is super-exciting for us. It's going to open at the end of this summer. It's an all-timber building with a timber façade, but we are also working on a large office retrofit in Kings Cross for a different client. We are a practice that has at least two countries, Norway and the UK to work in. But the UK has been quite buoyant and there's more and more coming up for our practice,  so that's really good to see.
 
David Taylor  
And you yourself - I've never asked you this before, but do you feel more of a Londoner these days? Or where do you feel you 'belong' as it were?
 
Timo Haedrich  
That's a good question, because I've been here for, or in London for 25 years. 
 
David Taylor  
Is it really? Wow. 

Timo Haedrich  
Yeah. I just checked as I started to study in Kingston in 1997. And then moved to London after the degree, UCL. Yeah, so a long time. More time than I spent in Germany. I think ‘Londoner’ is the right phrase, or the right word, because you know, UK is the big other place than London and London always attracted me more, and most, because it's full of so many diverse people, background interests, culinary experiences, etc. So it's a completely mind blowing place and I still love it for that.
 
David Taylor  
Yeah, well, thank you for being here! Thank you for being a cyclist alongside me many times. I've enjoyed your company on the road as well as off it. So yeah, good to get your observations about the ride this year and beyond. One last thing: do you think MIPIM as an event has legs, judging by your experience of it this time?
 
Timo Haedrich  
Very good question. I think there's still a lot of changing that needs to be done in terms of turnout, in terms of the property market that it represents. But I think Rome wasn't built in a day and I hope that the organizers will realize that diversity in their audience is as important as numbers. So, I think MIPIM is an interesting event on everyone's calendar still because you can meet in a nice, relaxed atmosphere. But there's still a lot of blue suits running around; that we will need to change. Yeah. But
 
David Taylor  
Yeah, but at least they're wearing trainers now with them, not shoes… 
 
Timo Haedrich  
(laughs) Indeed! Small steps, admittedly
 
David Taylor  
Yeah. Great. Thanks, Timo. And good luck with the rest of the year and training for next time. 
 
Timo Haedrich  
Thanks David. No worries. Good to speak to you. Take care!
 
David Taylor  
Cheers.
Images: The W3 community hub building in King’s Cross by Haptic Architects


David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly



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