Emad Khashoggi, founder of Paris-based luxury property developer COGEMAD, on its plans to move into the UK high-end residential market
What kind of development are you known for?
For more than 25 years, COGEMAD has fashioned a new dimension of haute-couture living by creating dream estates that range from historic French chateaux to 21st-century architectural masterpieces, characterised by bespoke French design, superior craftsmanship and cutting-edge home comforts.
Our most well-known development is the Chateau Louis XIV, nestled in a 23ha forested park between Versailles and Marly-le-Roi. This is a project that I conceived and designed over 15 years ago. I kept it in the hope that one day I’d find the ideal location and client who would give me the opportunity to fulfill this dream.
How has the luxury residential market been affected by the recession?
Lots of property owners left France, leaving behind them all their assets. Many apartments went on sale, and therefore generated a price decrease for all the French market.
However, I remain confident as France stays one of the top destinations for foreigners and a lovely place to have a home in.
Why is COGEMAD coming to the UK?
The UK has always been an amazing market for high-end residential real estate. And now with our years of experience, we are very keen to bring our savoir-faire in terms of French architecture and quality of designs to the UK.
Are all your schemes traditionally inspired?
Our main strength is the French classical style, but we also master contemporary styles.
How do you find your architects?
They come from very different backgrounds, and have all had extensive work experiences.
I like the diversity and dynamic of our team, and find it extremely interesting to have people with different backgrounds working together.
When working on the Chateau Louis XIV I teamed with a great architecte en chef des monuments historique, who helped us in the material choices and architectural details in order to build a chateau with the look and feel of a 300-year-old monument.
Which of your projects is your favorite and why?
By far, it’s the Chateau Louis XIV. I really enjoyed seeing fine craftsmen with traditional skills work in harmony with state-of-the-art technicians; this is how I envision luxury property development today.
Do you have any favorite architects?
I love the works of Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster. And of course I adore the works of the 17th-century architects such as Louis Le Vau, François Mansart and Claude Perrault.
Who has given you the best advice and what was it?
My father, a developer in Saudi Arabia in the 70s and 80s, told me that no matter how small or how big a project is, no matter what it costs, the most important part will always remain the quality and finish of the workmanship.