What has changed in your work over these 10 years?
H&H Investment & Development, our parent company, has acquired the status of expert over these years in a broad spectrum of the sector, it has extended its business lines and, in addition to procurement, a sales activity has been added with the consequent representation of a number of brands – especially Italian – that were chosen with respect to the high level of projects that H&H follows and that are always five star. The service of Facility Management has been implemented in these activities for the post-delivery management. H&H’s growth has been truly significant.
And so you don’t only work for your properties…
The quality level attained by H&H in the development of its assets – on both Four Seasons in Dubai – has brought other players in the sector, such as, for example, Jumeirah Group, to assign the development management of phase 3 of the development of their hotel Al Naseem.
How do you manage the relationship with the designers?
The relationship is always one of very frequent interchange. It must be borne in mind that there are very few international designers who have in-depth knowledge of the Dubai market, they are more used to being linked to design in Europe and the USA and perhaps tend to force the developer, to use a metaphor, to go a little beyond the rules of the game. Here in Dubai, and especially in H&H, the palettes are clear and the designers are made to listen to the developer, who knows the market, and follow their lead.
Compared to 2007 at D3, how does the business of Dubai present itself today?
Ten years ago, it was perhaps easier to work but it was all much less organised and the approach – including by the developer – was a little amateurish, everyone was looking at a market that, in those days, had money and space but was rather lacking in professionalism and knowledge of the specific. Ten years ago, Dubai went through a major economic crisis due to the property bubble, from which it emerged very well, with the right flexibility, intelligently redesigning the intended use of the city. Before 2008, the aim was to promote Dubai as a leisure destination, today it is the Middle East’s main financial hub and attracts capital from abroad. Hospitality has adjusted the aim, creating many business structures, free zones have been created to encourage companies to open offices in Dubai. And the D3 is the example of flexibility: created as infrastructure to accommodate designers in the upper floors and, on the ground floor, the fashion and F&B brands, it changed strategy some years ago and, today, the D3 welcomes the design world, perfectly integrated with the context.
How does the sales side of H&H function?
We have around twenty companies in the stable, complementary with each other and all high quality. To mention just a few, we work with Melogranoblu, Gtv, Agape and Emmemobili and in addition we have two major joint ventures, one with Flos and the other with the contract division of B&B Italia.
Projects in the near future?
From the development point of view, we are working on two residential towers, on our new group headquarters, which will include a 40 storey tower with top level residential spaces designed by international interiors studios and on the Four Seasons Residences which will be built at the Creek. On the sales and procurement front, we have just delivered the Address Downtown, the Skyview Tower and we will probably open the Mandarin Oriental at the end of the year.