OMNIYAT’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Mahdi Amjad, talks about going that extra mile to create unrivalled bespoke luxury offerings Video Credit: Produced by Irish Eden R. Belleza and Esha Nag

For two years OMNIYAT’s Founder and Executive Chairman Mahdi Amjad was looking for that ultimate plot of land that would offer inimitable luxury with unparalleled views of the coast of Dubai. His philosophy was simple; he wanted to deliver an unrivalled bespoke lifestyle, a creation that would have a lasting impact on Dubai’s majestic skyline. He visualized a “villa in the sky”, an urban architectural masterpiece with staggered balconies, huge outdoor terraces and open spaces - a striking high-rise that would offer residents a luxurious resort feel with sweeping skyline views.

In 2013 Amjad finally found what he was looking for as he drove across The Palm Jumeirah. It was the first plot that held the promise of a global address, had ease of access and perfect connectivity, and sat in the epicenter of luxury. Without much ado, he chose Plot number 1 to build his dream project, One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai.

Mahdi, who has been steering OMNIYAT since 2005, is a name synonymous with attention to detail and top-of-the-line quality. Fifteen years ago, when OMNIYAT acquired its first plot of land in Business Bay, he identified a unique opportunity in the market. “When everyone focused on large masterplans, there were limited developers who offered bespoke quality solutions. We wanted to stay focused on the luxury product segment and be top of the line, that was the vision. We aimed to work with the best designers of the world to transform this vision to reality,” says Amjad.

Finding a bespoke solution

Fifteen years later, with a portfolio worth US$5 billion, the founder of OMNIYAT wouldn’t have it any other way. Today, the philosophy of OMNIYAT resonates in its flagship projects, such as One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, as well as The Opus by OMNIYAT and ME Dubai. Even during his early days as a developer, Amjad made sure he worked with the best architects and designers globally. The young developer approached Pritzker prize winners Zaha Hadid, Sir Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Santiago Calatrava, Rem Koolhaas and Richard Rogers and liaised with them to work with OMNIYAT. “I spent a lot of time convincing them and four of the six eventually agreed,” says Amjad.

“There were lessons to be learnt working and associating oneself with such top global architects and designers”, Amjad says. “It helped us understand our customers better, understand their needs, and a cutting-edge design philosophy. Our buildings are different from each other… Finding a bespoke solution is difficult and time consuming, and that is something we have learnt the hard way. It’s a phenomenon and I think everyone is a winner of that outcome – the city of Dubai as we contribute to the skyline, our investors and partners for they reap the rewards of such unique properties and the families who finally call such properties their home. The value of our projects only grew with time,” he says.

Attention to detail

One at Palm Jumeirah is now over 94 per cent completed Image Credit: Supplied

“At a time when most developers in Dubai focused on large developments and multiscale projects, the attention to detail was missing”, says Amjad. “We have focused on producing bespoke property solutions for a particular customer segment through design, location and delivery and by paying attention to every detail. We did that while working on One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, as we wanted to secure and produce the ultimate residential address in the city.”

OMNIYAT invited entries from top global designers in a design competition to secure the right concept for One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection Dubai. “We wanted every apartment here to be bespoke. The homes needed to have the exclusivity and privacy of a villa, but with the comfort of a high-rise, whereby every floor is almost dedicated to one or maximum two units. We followed this plan with attention to detail at every touch point – even with the building façade, interiors, kitchens, walking closets, selection of marble – we looked at every detail to address the ultra-high net worth segment of the market. It is a joyful process, but extremely time consuming. And there are only a handful of people who would go that far out to create this kind of a product, and we are one of them,” says Amjad.

One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, is now over 94 per cent completed. The exclusive residences hit news headlines in 2017 and 2019 by securing the title for the first and second most expensive penthouses sold in Dubai for a record-breaking Dh102million in 2017 and Dh73million in 2019 (these titles are still held). The units here are carefully designed by top international renowned designers. They are sophisticated, layered and opulent, with a timeless, elegant look, highlighted by classic detailing and rich materials.

OMNIYAT’s attention to detail is also evident in the tailored hospitality services that its projects enjoy. It has been the first developer to collaborate with the legendary global hospitality brand Dorchester Collection. “Dorchester Collection enters Middle East through Dubai to manage One at Palm Jumeirah and also The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai. OMNIYAT will also developing the 10th iconic Dorchester Collection Hotel globally and first in the region. The element of bespoke tailored services is an ultimate residential experience and we have touched upon these elements in our offerings for the international global elite,” explains Amjad.

The Dubai factor

Dubai, Amjad says, is one of the top cities of the world that offers an unparalleled lifestyle. Today more and more global ultra-high-net worth individuals look at Dubai as a safe haven to live and grow their business. “The impact of the government’s handling of the pandemic has also sent out a positive message to investors and we are seeing the market getting better. People believe in the long-term value proposition of Dubai, they believe in the value of our properties and this confidence of the global community has helped us to push ahead with best practices despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

“The key message for me is that change is inevitable, and the UAE and Dubai’s handling of change is a perfect example of how leadership can turn risk into an opportunity,” says OMNIYAT’s founder. A strong believer in the long-term potential of real estate, Amjad sees horizons of growth in the next two to three years with population and tourism numbers going up. “This will naturally result in better real estate investments.”

“The UAE market has matured significantly in the last few years,” he says and, “like in any matured market if you don’t select the right product for the right customer base at the right price point and location, then you don’t get the right solution. Your product needs to have a level of uniqueness, the investment should be able to handle the stress and enjoy the growth at the same time,” he says.

A massive portfolio

Ariel view of The Residences Dorchester Collection, Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

In the next 18 months, OMNIYAT will deliver its massive portfolio with more than 1,000 units being handed over. Besides One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, is 60 percent complete. These 39 ultra-high-end residences in a 32-storey building are designed by international-award winning architects Foster + Partners and will be managed by the Dorchester Collection. The first ME by Melia Hotel in the region, located in The Opus by OMNIYAT, also reopens this month and will be the first Dame Zaha Hadid-designed hotel in Dubai.

Set to redefine the future of luxury living and luxury lifestyles, at the heart of OMNIYAT’s projects lies art and design. The developer’s consistent and bespoke approach to all projects and its philosophy of attention to detail, from design to delivery, gives its portfolio a superior value proposition. Amjad’s journey, which began in 2005, has reached an enviable point in 2020 as he has been able to push the boundaries of luxury. The road ahead looks full of possibilities as he “keeps a keen eye on regional and global experiences, tailoring products more selectively to cater to the demand of its bespoke customers.”