Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Assembly Visit the Koolest Haus in Town.....

Assembly visit the koolest haus in town, check out the leaning façade of Piano and watch a Scottish prototype amphibious coach take to the harbour – all in a day’s work in Rotterdam…

So it would appear that the European markets are picking up a bit and this week saw myself and our London head of CGI Toby Ritchie, heading over to Rotterdam for a couple of meetings – both commercial projects that are starting to get some traction and are looking to move forwards.

Transavia (Dutch no frills airline) was an early start from Gatwick and subject of much amusement that “menu item 3” of the duty free was a set of headphones and a Twix as a combo?? –bizarrely this was exactly what I needed – great stuff.

Clearly the service / airline industry is getting more and more tailored to individual tastes - how did they know?? I wondered if this gets replaced with a kebab and a packet of resolve for the return flight….

As part of our new social media activities I duly tweeted and to my delight got a response almost immediately from cheekily making sure I didn’t get the two combi’s mixed up.

After contemplating setting up a picture of me with the headphones in my mouth and a couple of twix’s in my ears – we fired out an equally cheeky response and decided to get on with some real work…

First stop was Rem Koolhaus’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture which was suitably interesting both in terms of the chat we had with a number of their team leaders about their approach to articulating their projects to wider audiences and because their offices were not what I was expecting – very understated, elegant and engaging. A very Kool Haus all in all so nice one Rem….

After finishing up swiftly we went over to see a high end developer that is heavily involved with some large scale projects in Amsterdam and Rotterdam with lots of big named practices on the masterplans – had a great meeting and potentially great collaborative opportunities there for us.

Very contemporary office space (think Lords Pavillion) which led me to another tweet which to my astonishment resulted in the Lord’s cricket ground taking an interest in our twitter activities – social media knows no boundaries it would seem…

So after watching a Shearings coach take to the harbour full of slightly alarmed tourists (seriously its one of those saga holiday type coaches that floats) and chugged past the excellent hotel New York, an original hotel at the old ocean liner terminal dating back to the turn of the 1900s when the ferry actually went all the way to the big apple - we decided to head into town to check out the town centre.

It’s a buzzing light industrial town, with bikes and everyone is friendly, with bikes. There are several vehicles (and bikes) that we don’t have in London (until today thanks to Boris and Barclays) that can hit you if you don’t watch where you’re walking – crossing the metro / tram / road / bus and bike lane is plain mental and the mopeds can ride down the bike lanes but not the motorbikes, I think??

Confused – we were, so we went for a beer in the highly recommended Café Pol.

People watching was great – people watching people on bikes was even better with their flagrant disregard for road safety. In fact, the only sign of a Helmut was a sturdy looking barman next door.

The conclusion is that Rotterdam – is easy and cost effective to get to, buzzing economy, decent architecture, lots of bikes and definitely good beer – we’re hopeful that the future is bright for us here, the future is not just Orang-e-boom…. Well not after they closed that brewery down anyway…

Matt, CEO

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