CARLOS RODRIGUEZ – CEO OF SIERRA BLANCA ESTATES
Talks about his new project ‘KARL LAGERFELD Villas Marbella’.
A few months ago, it was announced that KARL LAGERFELD’s legacy would be embodied in yet another creative domain, that of architecture and transforming spaces.
The Karl Lagerfeld brand has teamed up with the Marbella developer, Sierra Blanca Estates, to make its first luxury residential project a reality. The unique aesthetic vision of the designer thus transcends the world of fashion to the creation of 5 luxury villas, in which every detail will reflect the holistic approach of the Kaiser of Fashion when interpreting the world around him.
The location chosen for what will be KL’s first residential project is Marbella. Our city, specifically the Golden Mile, will gain an additional touch of glamour, thanks to these five exclusive villas that will be situated in an area of more than 9,000 m2 of land. Each of the properties will boast a plot of between 1,400 and 2,500 m2, and a living space ranging between 500 and 900 m2.
One of the most experienced developers in Marbella’s property market, Sierra Blanca Estates will be the firm in charge of posthumously concretising the designer’s dream of creating homes, while the creative direction will be carried out by the KARL LAGERFELD brand, with the support of The One Atelier, the international firm specialised in the real estate sector who collaborate with the most exclusive luxury brands. (The architectural design will be directed by the prestigious Italian architect, Andrea Boschetti, along with Estudio TC.)
The knowledge Carlos Rodríguez (CEO of Sierra Blanca Estates) has of luxury residential matters is innate, thanks to the trajectory of the family company which he now directs, along with his father and its founder, Pedro Rodríguez, and his brother, Luis. This background is what has led a firm like KL to choose his company to execute a project which has such worldwide relevance that it has enabled the Marbella firm to further promote the image of our city as a favourite destination for high end residential tourism on an international level.
Today we are talking to the entrepreneur in order to learn first-hand about this new project in Marbella:
Why do you think the KL brand has chosen Marbella to develop its first residential project of this magnitude?
For two fundamental reasons: the first, KARL LAGERFELD has found the perfect partner in Sierra Blanca Estates; a partner not only with experience in this type of branded luxury projects, but also with expertise in the Costa del Sol; a developer who knows their clients demands, basically because they are ours too, and who is absolutely determined to invest in real luxury at the highest international level.
Secondly, everyone wants to be present and form part of what Marbella means today. Never has there been such a demand for homes, and this positive rate of sales greatly reinforces our destination as the epicentre of luxury residential tourism on an international scale. There has been a paradigm shift, and working remotely is now an option, so why not do it from a setting that offers such a wide variety of options as this? Marbella is no longer a seasonal destination; people want to live here all year round. And in my humble opinion, Marbella is the best residential destination in the world at the present time.
Sierra Blanca Estates has previous experience in residences designed by luxury brands after the agreement with Fendi Casa. Now comes KL Villas. What is it about Marbella that attracts such high quality residential developments? Are there plans to continue growing in this residential concept?
CR. The reality is quite different, given that the brands are coming to Marbella due to the unwavering commitment of our company, of our family having absolute faith that these collaborations with top-level brands would be a guaranteed success, but above all, it was my personal quest. It was a challenge that I set myself several years ago, observing how other cities were developing in the world, and I feel it is an enormous achievement to have managed to make it a reality, and that today there are already several highly prestigious international brands interested in carrying out projects with our company. In short, the reason why there are collaborations with fashion brands coming to Marbella is that we have brought them here.
That said, it is obvious that Marbella’s numerous assets appeal to people who want to live in places that are favourable in different ways. Marbella has a recognised international reputation as a destination with an extraordinary climate all year round, and an unsurpassed quality of life within our country. We have practically everything, and it has already been demonstrated that we can improve and achieve what we do not have.
This results in a unique lifestyle that many want to embrace: working from the garden of their homes; having a coastline to enjoy and go sailing; a medical and educational infrastructure for their families, adapted to the highest international standards; a close network of international connections, and the presence of the best brands in the world of luxury, all concentrated in a relatively small area. Marbella is no longer simply a place to visit; people want to relocate here, and that is an opportunity for this type of branded real estate and residential developments.
We most certainly have plans, and we hope to announce a signed agreement with a third designer brand at the beginning of next month.
The only five villas in the world signed by KL is already a remarkable claim for this project, but what is it that really makes KARL LAGERFELD Villas Marbella special?
I like to refer to them as five jewels, because of how exclusive this project is. A home of these characteristics in the heart of Marbella’s Golden Mile is something that is unlikely to be found again, it is quite unique.
It must be understood that this project stems from the creative genius of an artist as versatile as Karl, who was the designer of such emblematic brands as Fendi or Chanel. He wanted to carry out a project like this, and the fact that it can now become a reality at the hands of Sierra Blanca implies a transfer of his talent to a concept of sustainable luxury housing. The attention to detail, the diligence in the development of the project and the meticulous execution of each house (as if it were a unique work of art) are what make this project totally unique.
Tell us a little more about these houses. How many bedrooms and bathrooms will each of them have? Will the design depend on what the buyer wants?
Each villa can be adapted according to the criteria and tastes of each buyer, always respecting the design and imprint of the designer’s legacy for this type of product. This is standard practice for our firm; we have high level clients, and our mission is to create the house of their dreams. They will receive completely personalised attention, not only from the Sierra Blanca team, but also from the teams of Karl Lagerfeld and The One Atelier.
Each of the five villas will be different, not only because of the architectural project itself, but also because of the extent to which the interior design allows each one to be adapted. The smallest villa will have 5-6 bedrooms and 5-7 bathrooms and toilets, and the largest, 8 bedrooms and 8-9 bathrooms and toilets.
In each of the villas, there will be a multitude of details reflecting the essence of Karl Lagerfeld’s life, such as the famous bookcases or shelves where he would place his books horizontally.
Regarding deadlines: when will the villas be available for sale, when will construction begin, and what is the predicted delivery date?
The project has already generated a lot of interest among real estate agents, serious clients and some former buyers of Epic or other Sierra Blanca projects, therefore we could say that there is a waiting list. However, the villas will be officially put up for sale after the project presentation event in Marbella, in February / March 2022. This will mark the commencement of the construction work, which will last until 2023.
The most important thing now is to promote the project and the product category it represents. This is something that we have been doing since last November, when it was presented at Maison KARL LAGERFELD along with the brand in Paris. Now, first of all, I want our potential buyers, and there are many interested parties, to understand why we have created something like this and what it implies. Only in this way can we later explain the economic rationale of the project.
The price of these villas has not yet been set. Will it depend on how much the buyer is willing to pay? What expectations do you have in terms of sales figures?
These five jewels are the first residential project of this kind designed by the Karl Lagerfeld brand in the world. We would not like the price to be a signifier of what this project is, in the same way that the price does not set the value of a piece of jewellery or a work of art. The price of a Picasso could not be known before it was painted, and even afterwards, its price is not something that depends on one single factor. In this case, with such special homes, we want the value to be determined by the finishing touches of each villa, which, as I have mentioned previously, will be customised.
How will you choose who will live in KL Villas and what target buyer do you expect?
At Sierra Blanca Estates, we have always placed great emphasis on creating exceptional residential communities, which is a very attractive added purchase value for our buyers; knowing that their neighbours will be people they may admire, or with whom they can develop high level networking opportunities. This also forms part of the experience.
If we specifically consider the KARL LAGERFELD Villas Marbella project, we already have a list of clients who are very enthusiastic about it, world leader entrepreneurs of different industries.
We have even had one investor interested in buying the five villas, but we have not accepted the offer, because our aim is to create residential communities that are unique in the world.
We will therefore try to select the best buyers, with the objective of them forming a group that will be as exclusive and unique as the five villas themselves.