Brace yourself for another "only in Dubai" moment as we step inside the multi-million dirham homes at Palazzo Versace.
Buy a Versace apartment in Dubai ... and get free crockery
DUBAI // Fans of the Versace fashion label are snapping up the ultimate matching accessory - an apartment decorated and furnished in the ornate style made famous by the Italian design house.
More than three-quarters of the 169 apartments at the Palazzo Versace development next to Business Bay Crossing on the bank of Dubai Creek have been sold. Buyers are due to receive their keys - presumably attached to stylish Versace fobs - by the end of the year.
Prices range from Dh6.5million including furniture for a one-bedroom unit to about Dh20m for the four-bedroom show apartment. A two-bedroom home costs Dh7.4m, while there is a choice of three-beds ranging from Dh9m to Dh17.2m, depending on the floor size and position.
"The buyers are the global elite, and this is most likely the second or third family home," said Colin Seow, chief development officer of the developer, Dubai-based Enshaa. "We have a lot of Arabs from the GCC, Asians and Europeans ... a cultural mix."
Donatella Versace, vice-president and chief designer of the Versace Group, has taken a personal interest in the project.
"All condominiums have different floor plans and this dictates varied designs. However, all the furniture has been designed by Versace," added Mr Seow.
"This also applies to the mosaics, fabrics and chinaware design. Versace has full artistic direction in all aspects of the project. The Versace design department, led by Donatella Versace, decides on the creative aspects from the macro elements right down to the embellishments."
Patterns and designs made famous in the fashion collections on Versace's Runways are being used throughout the interiors. In the show apartment, for example, the company's signature Greek key motif is featured in the design of the air-conditioning grilles, and the same pattern recurs in balcony balustrades and wall mosaics in the showers in some of the en suite bathrooms.
Distinctive Versace design elements can be seen in the furniture too, such as the trademark gorgon's head and other patterns inspired by ancient Roman and Greek art.
Versace is known for using bold shapes and bright colours in its fashion ranges, but any potential buyer concerned about being overwhelmed by this look need not worry. The furniture and soft furnishings in the show apartment feature the subdued pastel shades that featured in the design house's Spring 2013 collection, and off-white walls help to keep it all restrained and tasteful.
The show apartment also has large balconies on three sides that have striking views over the Creek.
The marble floors and their mosaics have been produced and installed by Fantini Mosaici, the Italian company that created the intricate patterned floors of the capital's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and is currently working on mosaics for the new Presidential Palace.
The patterns on some of the apartment floors are reflected in the ceilings directly above - for example, the outlines of the golden diamond-shaped marble sections on the floor of the dining area are reproduced in the ceiling plasterwork.
Buyers will receive two sets of Versace-designed crockery - one for everyday use and another more elaborate set for high occasions. Cutlery is also included in the price.
The apartments are in two wings set on either side of the 214-room Palazzo Versace hotel, and buyers will have access to the hotel's spa, gym, pools and other facilities.
The Dubai property is the second Versace-themed hotel - the first opened on Australia's Gold Coast in 2000. The original is a magnet for actors, supermodels and other celebrities, including Beyoncé and Jay Z, Natalie Imbruglia, Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson and Pink.
"The Gold Coast hotel is famous for attracting superstars and Middle Eastern royal families," added Mr Seow. "The Dubai hotel will attract a similar clientele and, with it being situated in the UAE, it will be popular with more international royalty and celebrities.
"We are working with Versace on the plan for the grand opening."