Yousef Al Shelash’s name has become synonymous with haute design and the ultimate in luxury living. As the chairman and founder of Dar Al Arkan, he has partnered with some of the most sought-after brands in the fashion industry, including Missoni and Versace Under Yousef Al Shelash’s tutelage, Dar Al Arkan has expanded its global footprint with projects in Europe and China and has set its sights on England and Spain.
As a Saudi national, Yousef Al Shelash says he takes pride in showing the world another image of Saudi Arabia. He adds that being successful in countries like Oman, Qatar, or the U.K., Spain or China, and flying the Saudi flag outside of Saudi Arabia has been very meaningful to him. “[It’s] showing the Saudi values in delivering on promises, and delivering on quality, and delivering on time,” Yousef Al Shelash says. “This is what we are trying to do very hard and very actively in our real estate projects outside Saudi, starting with that very first project that we’ve done outside Saudi, which is the Urban Oasis with interiors [by] Missoni, which was topped out [several] months ago.”
According to daralarkan.com, Urban Oasis by Missoni Home is the world’s second distinct residential tower with interiors by Missoni. The $217 million residential project features designs by the famous Italian fashion house whose colorful zigzag patterns have been spotted on Michelle Obama, Katy Perry, Amal Clooney, and Nicole Richie, among others. In addition to home designs, Missoni has branched out for collaborations with luxury luggage line Tumi, Converse sneakers, and Target.
The Urban Oasis features a plethora of posh amenities, including a lobby emblazoned with Missoni’s signature geometric patterns, an infinity pool and a state-of-the-art gym. Equipped with studios, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments, and penthouses, Urban Oasis offers the sun-soaked Miami vibes Will Smith romanticized in his 1997 song about the Magic City. And it brings that feeling to the center of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Regarding which brands Yousef Al Shelash will ultimately partner with, he says it comes down to matching clients with brands they admire.
“We look at the profile of potential customers, and we see what kind of brands those customers [would] like to wear and have an affinity to,” Yousef Al Shelash says. “We’d like to expand these brands into their houses. So if you dress up in Missoni, and you have some Missoni furniture, and you attend Missoni fashion shows, why not live in a Missoni apartment also?”
Bringing Saudi Arabia Beyond Borders
All eyes have been on Yousef Al Shelash and Dar Al Arkan’s latest projects. Dealing with close to 100 nationalities, Yousef Al Shelash says they assess which foreign citizens would buy a certain type of product in a particular area. The brand has been producing residential experiences for 27 years and has more projects in the works. Dar Al Arkan’s website states it’s also in the process of developing Sidra, an exclusive vacation and housing project in Bosnia. This will be Dar Al Arkan’s first European luxury residential project.
“We put a list of brands [together] because convincing those brands to work with you is another challenge,” Yousef Al Shelash says. “Mainly what those brands sell is image, so they’re very much worried about the image. So they would only work with real estate developers who deliver, who deliver on time, who deliver up to the standards, the quality that was agreed with the brand, or else they would lose their brand image.”
It’s been a partnership that Yousef Al Shelash says is a win-win for Dar Al Arkan and the designer collaborator.
“At the same time, we not only elevate the status of the image of the company that we are, not only trusted by our customers over the last 28 years, but we’re also trusted by brands that are mega brands, who trusted us with their brand to put on our project,” Yousef Al Shelash says. “It expanded our customer base, because now we are able to deal with economic classes from the mid-economic classes to the ultra-high net worth [people].”
Designed To Align With the Times
Another A-list brand collaboration in Yousef Al Shelash’s portfolio with Dar Al Arkan is the Dar Al Arkan Pagani Tower, which has gained global attention for being the first residences in the world with interiors designed by automaker Horacio Pagani.
“Every detail is crafted to obsession, every material is of the finest quality, every line is designed with taste and harmony, resulting in the unique experience of inhabiting a masterpiece,” according to the company.
Dar Al Arkan is also known for interiors crafted with gold and marble accents, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and automated technology — a first in the Kingdom.
Yousef Al Shelash says Dar Al Arkan is also the first on the planet to feature villas with Versace interiors, in Shams Ar Riyadh, the Saudi capital city. Shams Ar Riyadh has been deemed “a city within a city” for its expansive amenities, which include a grand mosque and a shopping mall.
“This is one of the many developments that the group developed over the years as communities,” Yousef Al Shelash says. “They developed many communities, but because Shams Ar Riyadh was close to the Riyadh, we had the option of developing in that area some of the most luxurious villas, interiorly designed by Versace, and Elie Saab. We were able to create more premium products because of its proximity to the city center. This was one of many master plans that the company does.”
Elie Saab is the latest fashion powerhouse collaborating with Dar Al Arkan on new villas coming to Shams Ar Riyadh. The Lebanese fashion designer who has dressed everyone from Rihanna, Halle Berry, and Mila Kunis to Blake Lively, Angelina Jolie, and Jennifer Lopez will lend his designs to the interior decor of this posh new property.