The world’s top architects are flocking to Abu Dhabi. To name but a few stunning projects, which are under construction, Frank Gehry, who designed the striking Guggenheim gallery in Bilbao, has styled Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim art gallery on Saadiyat Island, a new cultural hub and will also have a performing arts centre by Zaha Hadid and Sir Norman Foster will be directing the design of the Zayed National Museum. Tej Kohli considers that this dedication to quality and aesthetics shows Abu Dhabi’s commitment to become a destination where quality of life is at its focus.
Completed in 2010, the Burj Khalifa at 830m is the world’s tallest building and announces Dubai’s ambition to be a major economic force. The glittering towers of this powerhouse within the United Arab Emirates are a testament to the dynamism of its real estate and construction industries, which have successfully weathered the financial storm that hit the globe in 2008. It not only has the tallest building, Dubai also hosts Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall with over 1,200 shops. Tej Kohli believes this Emirate of superlatives has a bright future.
Tourism and Development and Investment Company (TDIC) at Saadiyat Island is developing a new cultural hub that is set to eclipse in scale and ambition similar cultural icons such as Bilbao’s Guggenheim. Its Cultural District will have major iconic cultural buildings, encompassing the Louvre Abu Dhabi (which will be the first to complete in 2015), Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum. It is anticipated that this new cultural hub will put Abu Dhabi at the top of the culture vultures list of destinations. Tej Kohli highlights that this will have a positive impact on the city state’s dynamic real estate market.
When most people think of Abu Dhabi they think of oil. But the Emirate has made great strides and diversified away from oil and is set to become a beacon for renewable energy and sustainability. Being built as a new district of the city state is Masdar City, a $22 billion planned city, principally designed by Foster & Partners, that will rely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources. This vision is close to Tej Kohli’s heart, who believes that a challenging vision is fundamental to great progress. When complete, the city is expected to use 70% less electricity and 60% less water than a conventional city. Sustainable features abound: a wall to keep out the dry desert wind, buildings are clustered together and trees planted to provide shade, passive design help keeps buildings cool and there’s an efficient public transport system, including automated pod transport cars.
Small villages on the desert shores of the Persian Gulf dependent on mainly pearl fishing 60 years ago or so, within a generation have turned into dynamic city states of glittering towers. Oil helped the transformation, but now it is only a part of the story. Businesses such as financial services, tech and now tourism are flourishing. And Dubai and Abu Dhabi are making their mark with, for example, Dubai building the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which is a staggering 830m high, and Abu Dhabi creating a new cultural hub, which will include a Frank Ghery designed Guggenheim art museum. Tej Kohli has recognised the strides made by these dynamic Emirates and set up in Abu Dhabi Ozone Real Estate to serve their strong real estate markets.
Sir Richard is a great role model for budding entrepreneurs. He started at the age of 16 with a student magazine and then developed a record mail order business. Taking selling records further, he went into retailing big time with a chain of record stores that became Virgin Megastores. Never one to stand still, this serial entrepreneur took his Virgin brand and business acumen to the airline industry, Virgin Atlantic, financial services, Virgin Money, and many more business sectors, including developing commercial space tourism with Virgin Galactic. This shows what can be achieved through committed entrepreneurial ambition. Tej Kohli recently had the privilege of meeting Sir Richard Branson at his private retreat on Necker Island.
The boldness of Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial space line, should be applauded by all. Sir Richard Branson and the team of dedicated engineers, scientists, pilots and all involved in the quest to become the first to commercialise space for tourists serves as an inspiration for those involved in business. On a recent visit to Necker Island, Tej Kohli was able to commend Sir Richard Branson on overcoming the difficult challenge of space travel and his great entrepreneurial spirit. After all, the major business success stories of today started off with one or a small group of people who decided to tackle hard challenges. And despite setbacks they won out, benefiting all of us.