Revista - Life is Peachy with YOO
Dr Thomas Wolfensberger, Peach Property CEO and developer of YOO Berlin, speaks with YOO about the success of YOO Berlin and the value of branding.
Peach Property Group CEO Thomas Wolfensberger in the YOO Berlin show apartment.
What do you think the main attraction of brands is for consumers of high-end property?
A brand represents a well-thought out concept in every area where they play a role. They convey an element of security to the client so they can be sure the property will fulfil a certain set of criteria.
How is the social fabric of a development reflected by the brand – to what extent does the brand attract a certain type of person?
We have a very diverse clientele from diverse backgrounds. For example, they are from various industries and different nationalities. But there are some unifying aspects: residents are usually well travelled, have an appreciation of the fundamentals of design, and are knowledgeable about art, design and quality locations.
What aspects of design in branded developments appeal to your clients?
I think the most important aspect is that the design is functional and makes life easier for the resident who is usually a very busy person while also being inspiring and creative. There must also be an emotional appeal – when you walk into the lobby we want people to feel reminded of places they have been and to feel comforted. Everyday the residents should see a different aspect of the flat or house they are living in.
What is the appeal of living in skyscrapers?
The view grows exponentially once you reach a certain height – the higher you are, the better your perspective of the city. There is almost an inflection point when this happens – YOO Berlin is only 10 floors but I think that perspective is achieved. That perspective can be inspiring.
Do you think European cities like London and Rome need to relax about tall buildings?
I think that European cities are already relaxing on this issue. Building a tall building doesn’t necessarily contradict monument protection and if you wisely select the areas in which tall buildings can be built then you can ensure the buildings fit well with the area, without impacting on the historical parts of the city.
What are the important aspects of gardens in branded developments?
There is a mega-term in Europe: re-urbanisation. People went back to the country in the 1970s and 80s and these people are now moving back into the cities. Of course cities have very limited means and space to build parks and gardens so these must be built into the projects. In YOO Berlin we have factored this into the equation by giving the all the town house apartments an individual entrance and garden, despite being in the middle of the city.
What should people expect from gardens these days?
Expectations are very diverse: some people like elaborate gardens and other prefer wilderness. There is no average in expectations. What is important is that we ensure people have access to green space in the dwelling and that they can impact on the design.
How do you make gardens work in tall buildings?
I haven’t done that so I don’t know! It would be fantastic to try.
Do you think demand for prime real estate will continue to increase in Germany and across Europe?
The demand pattern is relatively independent of the economic cycle so I believe that demand will continue to rise. There is demand from people who move into the city but also from people within the city looking to upgrade and for a new design. Demand also coincides with the success of the cities.
If you had to put a value on brands to development, what do they add?
The value of the brand is high – probably something like 15%.
Do you think its value depends on the location?
I suspect the impact is greater in less mature markets where you might be less able to rely on local developers and designers. Also, the value of the brand is not necessarily just in the name – I think the product will be better for the involvement of brands like YOO because of the quality of design.