“ROCAD is organized for the first time in Bucharest but we hope to repeat it every year” – Cătălin Neamţu, president of DK Group.
There is probably no other event to better fit the Bucharest scenery than ROCAD. Even the mayor of the capital city, Sorin Oprescu, took stand and spoke at the opening gala, on May 15th, about the need of organization in this city. “Bucharest takes impressive development leaps” Oprescu said, but also according to him, without implication we may just walk through the same capital we have now and, according to the mayor, “it cannot take the step forward to the league of European capital cities without preservation of it’s patrimony and without ceasing development in political cycles”; an interesting declaration coming from someone who aspires to be voted again by the citizens of Bucharest. The most impressive recently built public construction in Bucharest, the Basarab underpass connecting two agglomerated districts in the center, was inaugurated under the administration of Oprescu, but was discussed under the mandate of three former mayors. The present day mayor remains optimistic though, that the citizens of Bucharest will have someday”the European city they will love to live in”.
And why not daydream when given the opportunity? An important step towards this dream is ROCAD, at least from the prospective of the organizers, who strived to shape this event. It wasn’t easy, since they didn’t receive the expected support and trust but they still managed to get together in Bucharest 16 architectural world famous personalities; each of them a guru to other hundreds or perhaps thousands of architects worldwide.
A larger attendance was expected from producers of construction materials, but even so three exhibiting halls were filled by producers and representatives of companies who understood how important it is to be present at such an event even as with its first edition.
We met representatives of companies coming from seven different fields: furniture, lightning, landscaping, kitchen and bathrooms, textiles, eco design and retail.
When we visited the fair, on the second day, 2700 people had already stepped over its threshold. The degree of interest is explicable, given the key speakers of the event. Let’s just mention Mario Botta and it suffices to fill up a room with 200 people, all eyes and ears. His studies focus mainly on the importance of using light and primary geometrical forms, and he left his print on hundreds of buildings around the world.
On the list of those who spoke to the participants there were also Eduardo Souto de Moura (Pritzker Prize 2011), Gottfried Bohm (Pritzker Prize 1986), Mies van der Rohe Prize – Esteve Bonell (1992), Peter Bohm, Antón García-Abril, Matias del Campo, Rene Davids, Sandra Manninger, Gaetano Pesce, Kostas Terzidis, Elia Zenghelis and Carlos Ott.
THE ROAD TO FUTURE CLIENTS
It’s them who the hundreds of students came to listen. They were thirsting to hear from them things they wouldn’t hear in the lectures at the university. They were eager to find in their eyes the inspiration they are themselves in need for.
On the other hand, the exhibitors regarded students with interest. They are Romania’s future architects, their future partners, who may or may not recommend them to their clientele someday.
Florin Crivtulencu, from Rug Vity – a company that offers a wide range of flooring solutions openly admits: “For us the event is important because it attracts all architects and designers and then, together with them we can reach to clients, to offer them what they wish”. Also Adriana Văduva from Kludi Romania affirmed that the presence at such events it worth all the money. “We too have collaborators among the architects here and it is important that they see we are attending”. It’s here were contacts are established, here there is time for all the PR actions. As it was the first time when such an event was organized locally, the opportunity could not be missed. “We consider that in interior design the sanitary facilities segment is very important”, adds Adriana, and she can’t be contradicted, with the eye on the awarded products Kludi proudly presents this year.
It was maybe the high set-up cost of a stand in the halls of the Palace of Parliament that kept many companies away. But the location was a perfect choice for ROCAD. We are talking though about the most imposing building in Romania, second largest in the world, after the Pentagon. It has 1.100 rooms, two underground parking lots, 12 floors above the ground and 8 floors under the ground. Its total surface sums up to 340.000 m². Not to neglect the fact that it is also the most expensive building in the world to maintain.
What better a place to welcome the ones who changed the face of Dubai, have raised impressive buildings all over the world, and have found innovative solutions to capture natural light or have modernized whole cities at the time? They all brought to Bucharest an idea, valid in fact for the whole Europe: As opposed to the rest of the world, here on the old continent the need of new buildings is completed by a need of renovation, rehabilitation, conservation and recomposing the scenery from the old elements, that give a specific savor to cities in this part of the world.
REASONS TO CELEBRATE
The timing of ROCAD was excellent. The Architecture and Urbanism University “Ion Mincu” in Bucharest has turned 120 years of existence and the event was celebrated by a festive dinner, even before ROCAD was inaugurated.
It was the opportunity to award its elites, collaborators, supporters and all the ones who made it renowned everywhere they went. The room was filled by foreign guests and by students, delighted to be so close to their idols and perhaps steal from them just a little bit of inspiration.
Author and Pictures: Lupoian Raluca
Translation: Ioana Giurgiuman