Friday, October 26, 2012

4 questions with MM Planners

This week, we spoke with the Mussche family about their Koi project that took home the Grand Prize at Radical Innovation 2012. 
The team comprises of Véronique Mussche-Vanwetter, Alexandre Mussche, Nicolas Mussche, Maximilien Mussche and Marc Mussche. 

What prompted your team to create Koi?

The idea was basically generated around 2 major ideas:
- How to find prime locations in city centers where land is rare
- How to create new urban links for new urban uses other than cars

We try to wrestle with how the issues of tomorrow's hospitality can bring together, on one hand, the “hosting” and how, on the other hand, the “hosted” public where urban tissue links and hotel infrastructure becomes one and the same landmark – in other words, the “KOI” project.

How do you think people would react to the change to a world-famous landscape of the Eiffel Tower?

The integration of new elements in the urban regeneration and architectural evolution of historical cities has always been and will always be a significant landmark event illustrating the economic and artistic strength of societies at a certain point in their development.
When the Eiffel tower was built, lots of people wondered whether it should remain in the Parisian city landscape. Today, nobody can imagine Paris without the Eiffel tower. The same question took place when the Louvres Pyramid and the Beaubourg Art center were built, but they are now part of the Parisian landscape and its urban uses.

What does the grand prize win at Radical Innovation mean to your team and the future of your creations?

Being awarded the first prize meant a lot to us because we were recognized as a family team (both trans-generational and multi-professional). Mixing experience and creativity have been essential to produce a strong concept to answer today’s needs.

Do you see Koi becoming a reality? What obstacles do you have to overcome to make it happen?

Through daily contacts, known demands and major urban projects, we feel that the “KOI” concept is a real answer to hospitality and city problems. It has a great chance of becoming a reality, but the main challenge is obtaining of political authorization to occupy land on both sides of the rivers in major cities throughout the world. The “KOI” project is a partnership between private and public entities, where both parties have similar interests. Since most cities are currently building pedestrian bridges, we feel that by authorizing our project, public authorities would fulfill their need for such new urban links. These public authorities have advantages such as having a prime location where others cannot compete, interest from hotel groups and investors, as well as saving huge amounts of money (that would have been spent on land) when they invest in the bridge structure.

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