25 Degrees
Luxury property development at the next level

25 Degrees – How to build a trusted brand for luxury villas

The art of true entrepreneurship is to anticipate business opportunities and market niches just before anyone else, especially when it comes to luxury and its highly discerning clientele.

This is exactly what is happening in Dubai, where David von Rosen has just taken off with his latest venture: the luxury property development company “25 Degrees”.

We spoke to him about how he has found a niche in the development of ultra-high-luxury villas in the best locations in Dubai, his plans for the future – and Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck sweater.

»We want everything in each of our villas, down to the stone, to be a conversation starter.«
David von Rosen
When researching your career, the name Steve Jobs comes up, among other things. What happened there?

I’ve been lucky enough to launch a number of businesses around the world in my career, and I’ve learned many valuable lessons through these experiences. But perhaps the most valuable lesson came from an interaction with Steve Jobs when we were growing the luxury fashion label which I founded – VONROSEN.

It was in the early days, and we were looking for a high-profile testimonial to take us to the next level. Over a bottle of wine, we decided Jobs would be the perfect figure – he and Apple aligned perfectly with the modern, sleek, and timeless brand we were building. So, we took a long shot and sent him one of our best pieces, a black turtleneck sweater. A few months later, to our surprise, he appeared on stage to an audience of millions to announce the launch of the iCloud for the first time. And he was wearing our sweater.

We then sold out of stock within two hours, with orders coming in from across the globe. The brand, unfortunately, is no longer active. But it was an incredible experience, and it taught me never to hold back. To always take that long shot, no matter how likely it is of failing, because you might get lucky, and it could turn out to be a huge success.

How did you come to currently focus on the Dubai market?

I grew up in Germany, studying there, as well as in Prague, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Paris, and San Francisco. So, I’ve always had a strong international focus, both for leisure and for business. I’ve founded businesses in Germany, Gibraltar, Sweden, and elsewhere, and I most recently founded a luxury property developer, 25 Degrees, in Dubai, where I spend an increasing amount of my time.

I first explored Dubai for the lifestyle, buying a property here a number of years ago. But I quickly found that it’s, in my opinion, the best place in the world right now to launch a business. There’s a culture of entrepreneurship here which I rarely find elsewhere, and it’s backed up by a huge international talent pool and a government that’s doing everything possible to support a thriving business ecosystem.

The Beach Villa at Palm Jumeirah by 25 Degrees
Telling stories through exquisite interiors
Bold yet elegant shapes
What inspired you to found 25 degrees?

When I was searching Dubai for a property to buy for myself, I realised pretty quickly that Palm Jumeirah was the best location in Dubai to live. It’s famous around the world, and it’s super convenient – it’s in the centre of Dubai, but it’s quiet and offers privacy at the same time. What I noticed was, many of the villas on The Palm were in quite a bad shape.

High-net-worths are flocking to Dubai right now, and I don’t see that stopping or slowing anytime soon. Many of them will be looking for spacious villa homes, built to the standards and specifications they’re used to elsewhere – which are currently in short supply.

So, when my business partner and I spotted this gap in the market, that we’d have to move fast to fill, we saw it as a challenge, and we took it on headfirst. It’s been a fantastic experience so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing the business grow over the coming years.

Tell us about the specialists you’ve partnered with for 25 Degrees?

To ensure we’re developing each property to the highest specifications of luxury design and European style, we’ve partnered with various leading industry specialists in interior design and architecture. These partners are chosen on a case-by-case basis, depending on the requirements of each property, allowing us to develop truly unique homes.

We’ve made a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s International Realty, a global leader in luxury real estate, who we can trust to provide the most exclusive experience to our clients as they consider and purchase our properties.

We’ve also partnered with Carter Hones Associates, a real estate project consultancy, given their deep understanding of Dubai’s property landscape. This partnership will be key to delivering top-quality homes at fast pace over the coming months, to match the growing demand for villa-living in Dubai.

One would think that there are already enough providers in that customers can fall back on. What still has prompted you to found 25 Degrees?

There’s a huge market for branded properties in Dubai, with players like Armani and Bulgari on the scene, it’s currently dominated by apartments. Our focus is on delivering best-in-class villas for the growing influx of high-net-worths to Dubai. There’s currently no trusted brand for luxury villas in Dubai – so that’s the niche we are carving out, and what makes us unique in the market.

There’s also an historic lack of modern, European-style and grade homes in Dubai. Many of the villas on Palm Jumeirah and elsewhere in Dubai were developed a while ago, and don’t live up to quality and specifications the global elite are looking for in Dubai.

Yes, Dubai has a very busy real estate market, but it’s currently lacking a brand that can develop modern, European-style villas at scale. We are confident the real estate market in Dubai will continue to thrive, and we’ve found a niche where we can make our own mark and grow with the wider market.

When the afternoon gently passes by
Creating spaces and settings ...
... that bring joy.
Highest quality materials from renowned suppliers
Bring on the night!
What are the biggest challenges in making customers genuinely more than satisfied?

Since tastes and preferences are always evolving, the greatest challenge is undeniably ensuring that the properties we develop remain timelessly desirable. We had to do extensive homework, in partnership with our architects and interior designers, to deliver villas in styles and finishes that will stand the test of time.

Beyond this, providing satisfaction to our clients comes down to the attention to detail. We’ve positioned ourselves at the top of the market, developing ultra-prime villas for the wealthy elites – and they want perfection.

We’ve held nothing back when it comes to the finer details – designing the layout not only for aesthetics but for functionality, fitting each house with smart control systems for complete convenience, and importing materials, furniture, and fittings from across the world, to create a stunning finish. We want everything in each of our villas, down to the stone, to be a conversation starter.

Inner beauty meets mesmerising silhouettes
Lights and shapes in tune
25 Degrees will initially focus on Palm Jumeirah properties?

Often named ‘the eighth wonder of the world’, Palm Jumeirah seemed the obvious location in which to launch 25 Degrees. It’s just a short drive from all the major landmarks in Dubai, while offering secluded beach-front living at the very same time.

That’s why our first villa, which went on the market in January this year, and our other in-progress developments, are all based on The Palm. However, we’re already eyeing up other locations in Dubai, where we find a similar level of convenience and infrastructural maturity, and we hope to make an announcement about new locations soon.

Further down the line, we may expand further within the UAE and the MENA region, where we believe we can make a similar mark on other real estate markets.

Now all that's missing are the guests ...
... just let them in!
What are the plans for the next 12 months?

Our key priority over the next 12 months is to scale our offering, placing several more unique properties on the market, with a focus on Palm Jumeirah. We’re a new brand with a new offering, and we need to establish ourselves as a key player and a trusted name within the industry and our client base.

We’re getting a lot of interest in our first villa, and expect to sell this very soon, with many more to come. By 2030, it’s our ambition to have sold 100 properties. It’s an ambitious target, and it will take a lot of hard work and investment. But we’re confident we can hit it and making our mark over the next 12 months will be crucial to hitting that goal.

Thank you, David!

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