Dutch brands

March 22nd, 2017

Dutch Brand - Heineken

You may not be aware of it but there are Dutch brands around you all the time. The familiar, multinational names behind them are the icons of Dutch industry and testament to this trading nations’ commercial tradition.

Words: Michel Cruz

 

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Modern Families – what does the future hold?

December 21st, 2016

Modern FamiliesFrom the extended family to the nuclear family and now quite often the single family, the core structure of our society has been undergoing a metamorphosis for some time now. What will the future concept of modern families look like?

American TV series appear to have a fascination for families. For decades they espoused ‘family values’ and how family is one of the cornerstones of life, but more recent hits such as Modern Family indicate just how much the goalposts have moved even in the US.

The popular sitcom follows a familiar feel-good approach in tracking the lives of an all-American family – but this is a family with its feet firmly rooted in the 21st century. The patriarch of the family is not only remarried, but his younger wife is a gorgeous Latina with a teenage son from an earlier relationship, while his son is married to a man and only his daughter’s family still fits the mould of what once, not so long ago, would have been as a typical, desirable heterosexual nuclear family. At heart not that much has changed, for the underlying message is that – different, diverse and with warts and all – family remains an important anchor in one’s life, and in a way it’s hard to argue with that. Read the rest of this entry »

El Nido – A new standard of home in Marbella

March 21st, 2016

El Nido Michel CruzIf you can choose between Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and the pick of the world’s architects your home is sure to be something truly special. El Nido is just that.

Amid the grand villas and mansions of the Golden Mile, La Zagaleta, Los Monteros and other prime Marbella addresses there is one property that takes residential architectural design to a new level. Set in the peaceful surroundings of La Cascada de Camoján, in the hills above Marbella, El Nido is unique in its aesthetic and practical appeal. It is a home of outstanding qualities that can be described as a masterpiece of modern Mediterranean architecture, and as such suits its Marbella setting so well.

“I wanted a villa that would make a true architectural statement as well as be a comfortable home,” says Lisa, who has played a leading role in the creation of her signature home. “A leading architect would naturally form an important part of this process, so I flirted with the idea of commissioning someone like Zaha Hadid or Norman Foster but in the end fell in love with the work of Joaquín Torres.” The Madrid-based architect is a leader in the field of villa design and has the main residences of many prominent Spanish and international clients to his name, including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Penelope Cruz. Read the rest of this entry »

Marbella development in the 21st century

February 2nd, 2016

Words: Michel Cruz
Photography: Kevin Horn

Marbella development and project management

After a hiatus of several years, construction activity has recommenced in Marbella. We spoke to some of the leading developers in the area about a new era of development.

The construction sector was one of the biggest victims of the global financial crisis and Spanish property crash that hit Marbella at the end of 2008. In its wake, no new projects were launched and building gradually ground to a halt, while recently finished developments found it hard to find buyers. Many promoters had to abandon ship, leaving half completed construction sites behind as the banks inherited an unwanted portfolio of real estate.

By 2010 the once flourishing sector was in dire straits, its main activity now the construction of luxurious individual villas in spots such as La Zagaleta and the renovation of old properties by specialist small-scale developers. In the midst of this, however, a few companies had the foresight and confidence in the local market to approach the banks and begin to finish projects, upgrade and market them, and add post-sale management services not seen here before. Read the rest of this entry »

The state of the market

October 5th, 2015

Words: Michel Cruz

Images courtesy of Diana Morales Properties and Callum Swan

callum swan, marbella propertyExactly two years ago I wrote a report on the state of the property market with feedback from leading real estate agents. Here I analyse the prevailing market conditions and look to developments in the near future, drawing as always from the expertise of some of the most experienced agents in Marbella.

Two years is a relatively short period of time, but one in which a lot can change. In my June 2013 report we were still talking tentatively about early signs of recovery and hoping that this was a sustained movement out of the doldrums of the preceding years. We have since received confirmation that this is indeed a true recovery, and now the question we ask ourselves – amid a market that is visibly gaining in momentum and confidence – is whether we should already be speaking of growth instead of just ‘recovery’. Read the rest of this entry »