CANTU, ITALY — To convey just how important Made in Italy production is for the Roberto Cavalli brand, chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris on Wednesday presented the group’s new residential project at the headquarters of its interiors licensee, Jumbo Group, based in Cantù, a one-hour drive from Milan and one of Italy’s main furniture production hubs.
Ferraris revealed that Cavalli has inked a partnership agreement with Bin Faqeeh Real Estate Investment Company S.P.C. to exclusively design the interiors of the Eastern Tower at the Waterbay project in Bahrain Bay in the capital of Manama. The project includes three tower buildings for a total of 600 apartments and Cavalli, under the lead of creative director Paul Surridge, will create the interiors of 247 apartments in one of the buildings, with a possible customization service. The completion of the entire project is expected in the second quarter of 2019 and the delivery date is set for the fourth quarter of next year. The apartments will begin to be sold on Jan. 16.
Bin Faqeeh was established 10 years ago and is the first real estate developer in the Kingdom of Bahrain to collaborate with an international fashion brand. The complex will be located in the upcoming luxury development located at Bahrain Bay in front of the Four Seasons hotel overlooking The Avenues Mall.
The Waterbay project, which will be developed in partnership with Paramount Hotels & Resorts, includes the Waterbay Middle, the Eastern Tower Waterbay Residence by Roberto Cavalli and the Western Tower, named Paramount Residences Bahrain.
Since his arrival at Cavalli in July 2016, Ferraris has stepped up the brand’s home business, said Jumbo Group ceo Moreno Brambilla, whose family established the company 40 years ago. From classic style furniture, Jumbo Group began to diversify its product offer by linking with fashion brands seven years ago, explained Brambilla. In addition to Cavalli, it produces for Etro and Ferré Home. Cavalli, whose home line was launched in 2012, counts home licenses also with Mirabello Carrara for linen; Compagnia del Cristallo for tableware; Ricchetti for tiles and Emiliana Parati for wallpaper.
Faisal Faqeeh, chairman and founder of the real estate company, which in 2016 developed projects for a total value of $1.4 billion, said this initiative was “a first of its kind in the Kingdom of Bahrain” and it is expected to raise the luxury and glamour content there.
Faqeeh said that in his role, his “prime goal was to put Bahrain on the international map” and he sees the partnership with Cavalli in line with this objective. He touted the “distinctive and unique” brand elements and the “highest Made in Italy quality” of Cavalli, which is an established and top brand in Bahrain, he observed. There is one Cavalli store in the country’s main complex, Moda Mall. Faqeeh is targeting clients from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from China, Europe and the U.S.
“The apartments are seen as an investment and can also be rented out,” he explained.
Prices for the residences, including furniture, range from 200,000 euros to 2.2 million euros. Ferraris noted that the partnership will involve a full contract business for the apartments and not only the common areas, further adding visibility for the brand in the region and neighboring countries, he said.
Cavalli’s staple exotic prints and wild animal motifs stood out at the Jumbo Group headquarters — wallpaper with a palm motif; modular bookcases and sofas mixing leather and precious fabrics; capitonné armchairs adorned with golden snakes; chairs decorated with Kidassia goat or Arapaima fish skin, and wardrobes lined with tropical prints. A standout was a coffee table with a stunning pattern of agate. Artisans at the plant showed their expertise sculpting by hand decorative elements in wood and one craftsman applied gold foils on a leafy pattern — one leaf at a time.
“A strong fashion point of view breathes life into the home collection,” said Ferraris. To wit, Franco Mariotti, Cavalli’s head of interior design, showed how a patchwork cushion was inspired by a patchwork jacket from the fall/winter 2017 season, mixing patches of wool, shearling, goat and silk.
Furniture represents 80 percent of the brand’s home sales and Ferraris said he is also thinking of expanding the range with kitchens. The home line accounts for around 8 percent of Cavalli’s sales, which last year totaled 152.4 million euros. Ferraris said he has other interiors projects in the pipeline “in the West,” without disclosing details.
In October, Ferraris said Cavalli was entering the hotel business in a partnership with Dico International, the strategic investment arm of the Dubai-based Damac property developer. The Florence-based company’s first hotel, called Aycon, is expected to be completed in 2023 in Dubai. Work on the five-star hotel tower that will comprise 220 rooms will begin in the first quarter of 2019. This is the first of at least five hotels in 10 years.
Damac is also building Just Cavalli villas in Dubai. In Dubai, the Italian brand has teamed with Dar Al-Arkan, Saudi Arabia’s larger listed real estate developer, to design the interiors of the 34-story “I Love Florence” tower, which will be located on the Dubai Water Canal in the Business Bay area. As reported, Cavalli in May inked an agreement with Dar Al-Arkan to develop Mirabilia, an upscale residential district in the Shams Al Riyadh development. One hundred sixty villas are expected to be completed in 2021.
Ferraris said the company needs further investments to compete in the current scenario. As reported in July, Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR, which took control of the Florence-based brand in 2015, is said to be open to bringing in other investors to inject fresh capital and expand the fashion house. Asked about any development, the executive declined comment.