Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

How storied British carmaker Rolls-Royce is reaffirming its status in the UAE

Two major new initiatives are proof of the company's commitment to the UAE: the opening of the first-ever Rolls-Royce Boutique in City Walk, Dubai, and even more excitingly, a collaboration with Emirati photographer and artist Mohammed Kazem.
The Emirati photographer and artist Mohammed Kazem at work on his sculpture for Rolls-Royce. Courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
The Emirati photographer and artist Mohammed Kazem at work on his sculpture for Rolls-Royce. Courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The Spirit of Ecstasy has long flown in rarefied circles in the UAE. Abu Dhabi Motors has been the best-selling Rolls-Royce dealership in the world for the past three years, while its Dubai counterpart, AGMC, has also sat pretty in the top five during the same timespan. On top of that, the Middle East is the second-largest region globally in terms of sales, but the stately British brand is far from content to rest on its lofty laurels.

Two major new initiatives are proof of that commitment to the UAE: the opening of the first-­ever Rolls-Royce Boutique in City Walk, Dubai, and even more excitingly, a collaboration with Emirati photographer and artist Mohammed Kazem, who has been commissioned to create a sculpture for the luxury carmaker’s Art Programme. In turn, Rolls is making a bespoke car inspired by the sculpture, the latest in a long line of dazzling creations during more than a century of motoring history dotted with lavish ­customisations.

“I haven’t owned a Rolls-Royce,” Kazem says. “However, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Goodwood [in England], the home of Rolls-Royce, which was the beginning of my relationship with the brand. It was the crafts­people there who inspired by the commission for the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, which will be unveiled early next year.

“I’m a bit of an explorer and currently drive a Jeep – so my dream Rolls-Royce model is actually in the future,” he adds. “I’d love to own the upcoming Rolls-Royce all-terrain vehicle, [which is] currently being called Cullinan.”

Kazem may not yet have been a Rolls owner – although even before the in-development ­Cullinan arrives, you suspect that may change after this link-up – but he has seen many of his compatriots buy into the brand.

“With a high number of ultra-­high-net-worth residents here in the UAE who understand and appreciate luxury, it makes for a strong appeal,” he says. ­“Emiratis like to own items that are limited-edition and unique, so Rolls-Royce’s ­Bespoke ­Programme is very popular – it provides customers with a chance to create a completely personal and one-of-a-kind car.”

Those customers now have even more options in the UAE thanks to the opening of the Rolls-Royce Boutique, which the company has dubbed an “experimental showroom”. It was unveiled recently by Rolls chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

The multimillion-dirham property, which is in addition to the existing Rolls showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road, is envisaged as a lifestyle outlet, open 10am to 10pm, seven days a week, with four distinct areas. The Inspiration Studio showcases cars from the brand’s Bespoke range; the Bespoke Atelier displays all manner of paints, woods, leathers and accessories such as picnic hampers, as well as a centrepiece by Syrian artist Khaled Al Saai depicting the Spirit of Ecstasy in ­Arabic calligraphy; the Affinity Area boasts unique items from other luxury brands; the ­Pinnacle Cafe completes the picture.

“Dubai is an important part of our brand’s success story,” Müller-Ötvös says. “Our success in Dubai and the rest of the world is born of an intimate understanding of the lifestyle requirements of the world’s most discerning patrons of luxury. This extraordinary space will become a social hotspot that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Rolls-Royce’s Centre of Excellence in Goodwood.”

aworkman@thenational.ae

Updated: November 10, 2016 04:00 AM

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