Dubai is among the top five markets in the world for Rolls-Royce Motors, according to Chief Executive Officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös. The brand opened its first ever experiential showroom in Dubai in October 2016.
The showroom located in Jumeirah, is similar to the brand’s Summer Studio in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. It is a multi-million collaboration between Rolls-Royce and UAE brand representative AGMC. Spanning 7,300 square feet, it includes top-to-bottom pixel-animation screens on external windows.
It also features a number of experiential areas including an Inspiration Studio, Bespoke Atelier, interactive Spirit of Ecstasy, Pinnacle Café, virtual reality configurators and staging for bespoke one-of-one motor cars or newly-launched collections.
Aficionado caught up with Jamal Al Mawed, PR and Corporate Communications Manager at Rolls-Royce Motors, for this week’s five-minute interview:
What is your favourite travel destination?
I love Salzburg, Austria for its character; Montreux, Switzerland for its beauty and Makkah, Saudi Arabia for its spirituality, but my absolute favourite is my mother’s hometown of Royal Tunbridge Wells in the Kent countryside of England.
There is an incomparable sense of calm and belonging you get from being connected by blood to somewhere so quaint, seeped with history and breathtakingly scenic. When I’m there the world and its problems melt away.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
John Lennon’s answer to this question as a child was “happy” and it’s probably the best answer anyone can give!
While growing up I spent very little time in the real world as I was always entrenched in a book or a videogame, visiting Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth, 19th- century Missouri and medieval England; skipping between Indian jungles, chocolate factories, secret (and midnight) gardens and hundred-acre woods, or living out childhood fantasies in virtual form as Razor Ramon, Christian Vieri (FIFA 99 people!), Crash Bandicoot, Ryu and Cloud Strife.
At the time there was nothing more magical to me than the idea of being a published author, and being able to contribute to those worlds and affect other people the same way I was. It’s still a vague dream for later on down the line.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
I could try to look cultured here by choosing an exotic animal like a Dodo, Sabre-Tooth Tiger or Black Rhino, but I would be lying. The one extinct thing I dream of bringing back is Championship Manager 2001/2002, the PC football-management simulator by which all management games will forever be judged.
The hundreds (ok thousands) of hours I spent on it taught me more about managing people, building teams, and strategising then any university degree could. The developers have been trying every year for 16 years to recreate the magic of that game but it’s one of those anomalies where I don’t think even they realised at the time how functional and intelligent it was, and it has rightly been elevated to cult-classic status. I tracked down a copy of the game recently but it requires Windows XP to run it, another extinct entity.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I would want some great and creative minds around the table so definitely Roald Dahl, Leonardo Da Vinci, Christopher Nolan, Mahmoud Darwish, Gibran Khalil Gibran, Mohamed Ali and Mark Twain but I would want to talk football to be honest so also Sami Hyypia, Jari Litmanen, the whole England World Cup 1998 squad (except David Batty because he missed that penalty), Jose Mourinho, Brian Clough and Arsene Wenger to make it fun.
David Beckham would be at the head of the table holding a sabre and would have first choice for all food and drink.
I just realised there are no women at this party so let’s invite Marion Cotillard and Angela Merkel too. There is a fantastic viral video from Masterfoods where they ask a bunch of people this question and get the obvious responses of Nelson Mandela, Justin Bieber, etc and then they ask their children the same question and play it back to them.
Every single child answers “mom and dad” to the question, and it makes you realize the regard in which your children hold you. It brings me to tears every time. You know what? My dream dinner party is me and my son Yousuf. That’s all. Okay and David Beckham.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I would go back to Anfield, Liverpool on April 27th, 2014, grab Gerrard before he walks out on the pitch and whisper in his ear: “Metal studs today lad, not plastic – wear the metal studs!” and then sink back into the shadows.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
“Not every enemy deserves the honor of combat” – Paulo Coelho.
I wish I had read that quote so much earlier in my life, as I would have saved so much time, effort and confusion. It gave me such a clear blueprint of how to deal with certain situations and people.
My favorite line in the Holy Quran is verse 91:15 “And he fears not its consequence” and it’s another reminder in my daily life that if you know you are doing the right thing, you should be fearless.