Heir of the Lamborghini dynasty on why the UAE is hub of all things luxury

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have become major attractions for international finance


Sandhya D'Mello

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Tonino Lamborghini
Tonino Lamborghini

Published: Thu 26 May 2022, 7:48 PM

The UAE is many things to many people. For some, it is home; for others, it is a place of visit; for the rest, however, it is the destination to move your business to. Heir of the Lamborghini dynasty and founder of a global lifestyle brand, Tonino Lamborghini says the UAE is a world of possibilities. “After the crisis of the last decade, the Emirates have regained the sceptre of an international luxury hub,” says the 74-year-old entrepreneur. “Abu Dhabi and Dubai have become major attractions for international finance and the flow of visitors for both commercial and tourism purposes have increased, thanks to progressively ambitious projects, like the Expo 2020 Dubai, and its multicultural society. Dubai is the perfect combination between the largest commercial hub in the world and the tourist destination with the most particular attractions. Abu Dhabi is a much calmer, more traditional city, with a better work:life balance and is more family- and community-oriented.”

Sensing an opportunity, Tonino has put forth two proposals for the region. He plans to develop at least two new buildings under the Tonino Lamborghini brand, which will also feature an all-Italian ‘lifestyle brand experience’. He says he is in close contact with renowned architect Shaun Killa to bring the best concepts to the region. “I would love to introduce a new concept of residential or commercial real estate with special green areas. In Italy, we have vertical gardens, and this market is ready for more ‘green concepts’,” he says.

For another initiative, Tonino is looking for partners to set up a new museum inspired by what he created in Italy, and which is dedicated to his father Ferruccio, the famous Italian automobile designer who established Automobili Lamborghini in 1963. That, however, is a “futuristic project”. “I want a multifunctional big venue for large events — fashion shows, concerts, business meetings — which will witness works that use augmented reality and large interactive three-dimensional digital oleographic images with which public can interact in mixed physical-holographic immersive events. I consider the holographic museum to be a project for the future,” he says, adding that he believes in this country and wants to participate in its evolution.

Resourcefulness and creativity are at the heart of Tonino’s family business. After dabbling in tractors, hydraulics, burners and cars, in 1981, he founded Tonino Lamborghini Style and Accessories company. “Just as my father Ferruccio challenged the engineering world in the 1960s by creating legendary tractors and cars, 40 years ago, I decided to propose to the luxury sector a lifestyle concept based on a very innovative brand extension strategy. Inspired by my passions — design, Italian art, mechanics and engines — I created a ‘lifestyle experience brand’, drawing inspiration from my family heritage: watches, eyewear, leather goods, smartphones, perfumes, furnishings, clothing, sports accessories, golf cars and utility carts, beverages, branded five-star hotels, real estate projects, cafes and restaurants,” says Tonino. “An all-round Italian, bold and recognisable lifestyle brand, highly evocative of the values that characterise my family history: the passion for mechanical engineering and the Italian spirit. My collections are dedicated to a bold and confident consumer, both men and women with a daring character.”

In recent years, the business model of Tonino’s company has seen an evolution, with the in-house management of luxury accessories — watches, eyewear, leather goods — and the birth of new joint ventures especially for the production and marketing of electric vehicles (bikes, golf carts and utility cars for the premium segment).

“For over 20 years, we have been in the market with ‘Made in Italy’ furniture collections and a branded food and beverage line. One of our greatest assets is the hospitality project, with four five-star hotels in China, residences and apartment buildings under construction all over the world,” says Tonino.

With accessories, the brand had a strong retail presence in the GCC for several years, and this year it aims to establish Tonino Lamborghini retail concept stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “With our stores we intend to do much more than sell luxury products; we want to tell an Italian story of passion, beauty, and elegance. UAE is at the forefront of such retail concepts and there are plenty of outstanding partners capable of supporting us in such a plan. We are looking for the ‘perfect match’,” he says. In terms of business, he expects a significant increase in the accessories, watches and eyewear sector as plans are underway to expand the range with new design collections. “In addition, we expect an even greater development of branded real estate, with new projects coming up in Brazil, Kenya and Pakistan, while others are still in the scouting phase.”

Tonino has been visiting the country for many years and says it is always a pleasure to experience the reality of such a constantly evolving country with a dynamic economy. “Quality of life, premium services, luxury real estate projects and top design proposals are some of the things I love most, along with the ability to tackle new business issues very quickly,” he says. “I also appreciate Arabic hospitality, history, scents, food, music, etc. In addition, I greatly admire that safety, in every field, is the emblem of the UAE; there is absolute respect for the rules by citizens, residents and tourists, and compliance with the professional commitments undertaken is an absolute dogma,” he concludes.


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