Property developers turning buildings into the ultimate in luxurious functional art

In an age of mass production, where property developments are often churned out as hastily, and cheaply, as possible in a bid to maximise profits, one Western Cape property developer has taken an entirely different stance and is developing luxurious bespoke buildings which offer living spaces that are works of art.

Da’Realty established its presence in the Western Cape three years ago when founding President Ahsan Darvesh fell in love with the beauty of Cape Town whilst studying for his MBA here, and made the decision to open a South African division of this family owned property development company, which is part of the internationally renowned Darvesh family.

At the time, Ahsan was staying at the then Ambassador Hotel, which was for sale, and this became the first acquisition for Da’Realty. This landmark old hotel is now being transformed into eight luxury presidential penthouses (one per floor) overlooking the ocean, with another 15 apartments across the road also forming part of the new development entitled “Aurum” – which means Shining Dawn in Latin. “Au” is the symbol for gold – a fitting connotation for this spectacular new property which occupies a significant space in Victoria Road on the Atlantic Seaboard, a most beautiful location in terms of serenity and nature.

Turning property development into an art form

Ahsan, who has a deep and abiding passion for art and beauty – particularly in nature - advises that whilst Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities he has ever spent time in, he found that the architecture was not in keeping with this. Da’Realty, who have undertaken to turn property development into an art form, have committed to producing buildings which are of a calibre not yet seen in Cape Town, or indeed South Africa.

“Our goal is to create properties which redefine the concept of opulent limited edition living in South Africa,” says Ahsan, who explains that Da’Realty will never develop more than one building within a given suburb or area of the Western Cape and that the company will only roll out projects as and when the right properties present themselves – those that are situated within the best landscape canvas. “Prime positioning, where all elements of nature present themselves to be woven into the artistry of the building – a focus that forms part of Da’Realty ethos.

Bespoke developments handled by artisans

“It is not about mass production or profits when it comes to a Da’Realty development. Whilst our properties are of the utmost quality and offer luxury aimed at the very top level of consumer, we do not work for profit margins but rather for passion, as is evident in the bespoke nature of the work and finishes put into each aspect of our developments.”

The Da’Realty team in South Africa is a boutique firm of experts in their fields who are very hands on in each project. Chief Operating Officer, Lily Eskandari, who is a highly experienced interior architect, personally handles all the quality control and ensures that every feature of each projects is in keeping with the standards expected from this level of luxury.

“Da’Realty has a strong visible brand guideline which brings the five elements of nature into every development – this combination of opulence and nature is what we call ‘Lifestyle Artistry’ and offers a rare level of beauty – not only in terms of the positioning of the building within the landscape but indeed in every fixture, finish and detail.”

Eskandari explains that the firm works with artisans from all over the world in all of their developments – each one in themselves an artist in their respective trade who work together to create buildings which focus on the essence of luxury in every possible aspect. “We like the diversity and creative variety that is afforded to us from using suppliers specializing in their trade from all corners of the globe. It is this pursuit of diversity that led Da’Realty to position itself as artists in the development arena.”

Other properties in the Da’Realty stable

In addition to the purchase and redevelopment of the Ambassador Hotel, Da’Realty are also developing luxury residential hanging garden villas in Clifton called Azalea. Most recently the company purchased the Adelphi Centre in Sea Point Main Road, which will be redeveloped into an opulent retail experience unlike anything seen in the Western Cape and renamed Artem.

Before founding Da’Realty South Africa, Ahsan established Elegant, a division of the Darvesh family in the Middle East which pioneered bespoke retail fit-outs for top brands such as chanel, GUCCI, TOMFORD, YSL and a 100 more luxury brands which require absolute exacting standards and uniformity along with lavishness in all finishings. Elegant is now the chosen supplier of luxury parfum counters for famous brands the world over.

Ahsan’s experience from 15 years of working with top luxury brands and their brand guidelines, which require attention to every detail and ensuring that finesse is achieved with perfection, has led to the creation of Da’Realy’s three beautiful developments in the making - namely Aurum, Azalea and Artem.

“Each name chosen for the respective developments has a significance and meaning behind it, and it took many months to visualise and conceptualise these names. Even the spacing between the logos and fonts was studied and developed over 9 months to achieve the perfect result," explains Ahsan. “True beauty lies in the details and to achieve perfection one has to strive for more. As most artists around the world start from a vision or an inspiration so is the case with Da’Realty.”

"ART is an expression of one's soul," Ahsan adds “and I, along with my team at Da’Realty promise to reflect this in all of our creations.”

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