Do big-brand developments sell faster?

We’re looking at a rooftop pool like no other. It’s made entirely of see-through plastic. It spans the distance between two neighbouring buildings, like a bridge made of water. There’s a woman in the pool, floating on her back. If she were to look down, she’d be able to see the ground, hundreds of feet below her.
Sky Pool, Nine Elms. Building big brands brick by brick. Image sourced from The Guardian.

In a bid to win the hearts and minds of buyers and renters, developers are collaborating with big names in the design world.

Insta-famous interior designers in exchange for insta-kudos, insta-style and (hopefully) insta-coin. But are people swayed by names? Can a sprinkling of luvviness add zeros to the price tag?

Well, yes. According to the ineffably affable Phil Spencer, just giving a house a name could boost its value by £5,000. Apparently, regal-sounding monikers, like Crown Cottage and Clarence Estate, appeal to people’s inner Little Lord Fauntleroy. …

Inspiration from Britain’s leading entrepreneurs

Hand-drawn illustration of a blue rocket surrounded by a bag of dollars, a business chart, a handshake, a brain, a megaphone and the words ‘Start Up’.

We’re back with more industrious insights from a plethora of pinnacle-topping entrepreneurs.

Where Part I explores the importance of timing, tenacity and big thinking, this edition focusses on trust, teams and self-belief.

By the end of the article, we hope you feel a little lighter on your feet, a little better informed and a little more optimistic about what you can achieve.

Stay grounded

A cubist-inspired modern mansion with white walls, large square windows and large louvred panelling on the top floor. In the driveway sits a black Rolls Royce. To the right of the Rolls, there’s a graffitied statue of a gorilla standing on a plinth. Blue skies and tall palm trees indicate that this house is somewhere hot.
£25M Dubai mansion sold with super cars and mega art. Sourced from Luxury launches.

Swedish fashion tycoon and uber-luxury property developer, Michael Adam Alibhai, recently sold a 14,000sq ft mansion on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah for around £25,000,000. It was the most expensive home sale in the city — and one of the most hotly anticipated.

This wasn’t your usual Million Dollar Listing extravagance. This was a fully furnished, fully art-curated, fully champagne-stocked, Ferrari-festooned force of nature. And in case you’re wondering, the Ferrari (599 GTO) shared the driveway with a Rolls Royce Wraith. The champagne was Cristal and Dom Pérignon. And there was even a vodka bar dripping with ice-cold magnums of Stoli and…

We’re looking at the inside of a large building. Skylights flood the space with natural light. The walls are covered in fresh green vines and leaves. There’s a swimming pool in the middle of the space. There are loungers at the far end of the pool and tables and chairs at the end nearest to us. People are sitting at the tables.
Building green, BREEAM-approved. Image sourced from

Over the past few days, we’ve immersed ourselves in emissions-reduction pledges, multilateral environmental agreements, stats on human-induced climate change — the lot. And it struck us just how fragmented and impenetrable it all is. Some of it even seems a bit…puny. Morgan Freeman’s bee sanctuary? Meh. Suzi Amis Cameron’s CO2-busting plant-based diet? Been there, done that, bought the Linda McCartney t-shirt.

We’re not being sneery when we say this. But when you look at the brutal realities of environmental ruin — melting glaciers, plastic-choked oceans, soil infertility, rampant deforestation — we struggle to see how the global community has failed…

Large communal space filled with abstract wall art and partition shelves filled with succulents, Giacometti-inspired sculptures, ceramic plates and models of clay horses and sharks. Large sofas and lounge chairs fill the rest of the room. Floor-to-ceiling doors open out onto a vast roof terrace.
10,000sq ft of communal space filled with art, curios and bespoke furniture, specially designed by Angel O’Donnell. Image sourced from own library

In the blink of an eye, the UK Build to Rent (BTR) sector has shot from embryo to foetus to rampaging toddler.

Though still in its infancy — compared, say, with our broad-shouldered American cousins — there are several British BTR developers who have emerged from this nationwide growth spurt fully fledged, bearded, and leading the pack.

What makes a BTR development stand head and shoulders above the rest?

It’s simple(ish): A friendly and hardworking management team. State-of-the-art facilities. Great value for money. Cracking location. And — here’s where we come in — intelligent and beautiful design.

To compromise on…

Part I

“The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur”.

George. W. Bush

A friendly image on a podium with President Bush and President Chirac
Who knows more about entrepreneurship: President Bush or President Chirac? Image by Paul Morse, sourced from The White House.

Bof! Besides making fun of George Doubleyah, the joke also underscores people’s misconceptions about what makes an entrepreneur. If the French don’t cut it, allegedly, who does?

The word itself conjures up many images — from the shrewd and sharp-suited judges on Dragons’ Den to hippie tech billionaires performing sun salutations at Burning Man.

It’s a mercurial mix, which doubtless adds to the mystique. But what separates entrepreneurs from regular 9-to-5ers? Are they uniquely gifted? Rabidly ambitious? Slavishly hard working? Impervious…

Richard Angel

A keenly curious, commercially-minded chartered surveyor with lots of opinions on design, property development, technology — you name it.

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