IN RECENT years, more and more luxury car brands have been seen moving into large-scale architectural projects with hopes that they might entice wealthy customers to carry another type of key fob. The latest marque to enter the property ladder is Mercedes-Benz, which just announced its newest project, a 341-metre tall, 65-storey residential hypertower in Dubai.
The glam residential property, known as Mercedes-Benz Places is a partnership with UAE-based real estate developer Binghatti Properties, and is slated to be built right in the middle of Dubai, with open views of the Burj Khalifa. This is the first time Mercedes-Benz has played in the branded property space, and while details are a little sparse—we aren’t even sure if the images are conceptual-only or an indication of style yet—but we do know that the architectural design of the project will revolve around ‘Sensual Purity’, as it hopes to create an oasis in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.
What can one expect from a Mercedes-Benz home? Technology aplomb, of course. Mercedes-Benz was one of the first automakers to adopt AI voice into its systems, so we can certainly assume there will be an advanced, customer-centric and utility-driven approach to technology within the home. We can expect a high-concept proposal that will move beyond everyday luxury expectations, sustainability will be imperative, as well as mobility solutions. Perhaps we might even see some exciting interiors and collaborative design cues from the many partners within fashion and luxury that the German luxury giant has worked with over the years.
“With Mercedes-Benz Places in Dubai, we are going beyond automotive to create outstanding brand moments,” says Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Marketing and Sales. “With their many years of experience in real estate development, Binghatti is the ideal partner for us. Our aim with our first branded, real estate residential tower is to create new, desirable grounds that inherit our brand’s DNA and give our customers a place to arrive, unwind and come home to.”
Beyond the car itself, luxury automotive makers have been toe-dipping into new ways of connecting with their customers and bringing their design ethos to new frontiers. We’ve already seen the rise of the branded hotel and many companies entering the hospitality and lifestyle sectors in various ways, because now it’s about getting personal. As we’ve seen in other luxury sectors, more and more companies are working on the hypothesis that it’s not just enough to have a branded object in your home (or in this case, your garage), when the home itself could be branded too.
More than just a marketing exercise, entering the real estate and domestic market presents a tantalising business case for automotive companies in creating new revenue streams. From here, we could see brands produce more objects, furniture and textiles, and offer creative ways to repurpose manufacturing materials and technology developments, as well as engage its technology partners beyond the application of a vehicle. And in doing this, they might also create long-term brand loyalty in what is becoming an increasingly crowded market.
In addition to Mercedes-Benz Places, here are three of the most ambitious projects we’ve seen:
Following its residential project debut with the announcement of its hot Miami high-rise property, Aston Martin Residences, Aston Martin also announced a design collaboration with Japanese concierge company VIBROA for the construction of a private home in Tokyo—the brand’s first real estate design collaboration in Asia and part of its wider strategy to capture the Japanese market. The four-storey property, located in the Omotesando district, will feature an ‘automotive gallery’, wine cellar, home cinema, gym, roof terrace with views across Tokyo and private spa and Aston Martin’s design team will lead all exterior and interior design, as well as the furnishings.
“The influence of Tokyo culture, with its amazing history and style, holds an important creative space within our design studio. I see fashion, architectural and even culinary references being considered by our team when developing their work, so its presence can really be felt within our practice,” Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s executive vice president and chief creative officer said at the launch.
Reaching 70 storeys and 749ft tall, the Bentley Residences building will be the highest beachfront accommodation in Miami once it is completed. With 216 Bentley-furnished apartments, ranging in size and starting from around $4 million, the building also has a games room, cinema, wellness centre, restaurant and whisky bar. Instead of a basement garage, a car lift system will be in operation to take residents (and their Bentley) directly up to their apartments. The building uses mostly naturally derived material for its features and throughout Bentley’s design DNA, such as diamond-shaped motifs and the Flying B can be seen. “One of the biggest achievements when we design a car, is to have a whole group of designers working together, but to make it look like it came from one person’s hand,” says Brett Boydell, Bentley’s head of design collaborations said at the time of launch. “We have the same exciting challenge with Bentley Residences, but on a 70-storey scale.”
More subtle than may have been expected, Lamborghini’s foray into residential real estate is a 40-dwelling development in Dubai’s new Dubai Hills gated community. Due for completion in 2026, each six-bedroom, multi-tiered villa will feature gardens and green space, private pools and futuristic fit-outs that echo the brand’s iconic design DNA. Residents can choose between having the Raging Bull take over the interior styling of their villa or do it themselves. Aimed at leisurists who want to escape the city, the development features a golf course, tennis and basketball courts, fitness trails and picnic areas. The dwellings are all sold out but according to some local market watchers, the starting price for the smallest 963sqm villa was around $11.2million.