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Shaping the future

Trevor Jackson for Study Gold Coast | June 2019

For more than 30 years Gold Coast company Sunland has created a portfolio of pioneering buildings and residential communities across Australia and around the world.

Some of their highest profile projects have been built in their own backyard, including Palazzo Versace, the world’s first fashion-branded hotel and Q1, up until recently the world’s tallest residential building.

Sunland sees their projects as much more than just architecture or buildings, they aspire to understand how spaces are influenced by art, beauty and human values in redefining the experience of ‘home’ while contributing to the urban fabric of the communities where their buildings reside.

Mentoring Program

As a means of both better understanding the latest thinking and in giving back to the local community where their business began, Sunland have created a mentorship program for students. Participating in the program are a group of handpicked architecture, design, engineering, project management, quantity surveying and business management students representing a number of the Gold Coast’s education and training institutions.

Over the course of 4 weeks these students will take part in a number of workshops, mentored by the Sunland team while examining a number of case studies. The program covers Design and Branding, Project Management and Funding, Highrise and Housing.

The first session started with finance, not always the sexiest of topics, yet Sunland’s Chief Financial Officer Grant Harrison delivered some remarkable insights into how large scale projects are funded and how to avoid the pitfalls through industry downturns, including external events like the global financial crisis.

Taking Style to New Heights

The second part of the session focused on brand and marketing with Group General Manager Anne Jamieson-Abedian. Anne presented a case study on Palazzo Versace, the world’s first fashion-branded hotel, which opened in September 2000.

Palazzo Versace

Prior to the partnership with Sunland, Versace was the only fashion label in the world doing their own interior design and this is where Sunland Chairman Soheil Abedian saw a golden opportunity. A deal was struck with Santo Versace with the fashion house agreeing to brand a six-star hotel on the Gold Coast.

Anne went into some detail around the complications of Versace having to translate their brand into a built form, while Sunland was required to meet painfully exacting details of the Versace brand in the development. There were fascinating revelations around some of the impracticalities of Versace’s expectations, but also the extraordinary lengths they went to in achieving the finished product, like flying a group of Italian master craftsmen all in their 70’s to the Gold Coast to lay the stonework for the paving outside the hotel, with the stones also being shipped in from Italy (naturally).

While it was a protracted and at times frustrating process, Anne Jamieson-Abedian says that Sunland learnt much from the project, with Versace’s philosophy on the level of detail now incorporated into everything Sunland does, an ethos not lost on the students in the workshop.

Future case studies to be examined by the students in the mentorship program include Q1, the world’s tallest residential building up until 2011 and the sister projects of Q1 and Palazzo Versace in the United Arab Emirates – D1 and Palazzo Versace Dubai.

This article was originally published on Study Gold Coast as Shaping the future.

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