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38

INTERVIEW

PORSCHIST

Why are you such a big fan of the 911?

Because it is a car that embodies so much history. If you look at

how the car came about in the difficult years after the Second

World War, you can only feel admiration. Moreover, I also like

how the DNA of the 911 was passed down through the gener-

ations: from grandfather to father and son. There are few cars

in the world with such a long tradition and so much continuity.

The 911 has been the reference point for all other sports cars

for five decades now. In that time, seven generations of the 911

have entered the market and every time the Porsche engineers

have succeeded in improving the car while still respecting the

core elements. I am a purist and very sensitive to details. My son

is only 11 years old and understands why my car is so special.

This car is for me and my son. Passion must be so intense that

it is contagious. If I had to sell a piece of land to keep my 911

Porsche, I would do so without hesitation. But I would only do it

for this car, not for any other.

That is true love indeed.

Many wealthy Pakistani who buy a Porsche don’t know what

they are buying. They just have a lot of money and spend that on

a luxury car. They think of the status they acquire through the

car, the investment value of it, the resale value ... But those are

all things that leave me cold. For me, my Porsche is a source of

happiness. I know many people who buy an exclusive car and do

not even dare to drive it.

That sometimes happens in Belgium too.

But surely, that is absurd? That makes you a slave of your car.

You don’t buy it just to leave it in the garage, do you? Some peo-

ple are like that with watches. I swim while wearing my watch.

The watch is made for me and not the other way around. The

watch must please me, just as the 911 should please me.

Someone who can talk so passionately about his car, is proba-

bly also passionately involved in business.

That is true. I am an interior architect and I design furniture.

My company, The Icon Furniture Company, makes furniture

and interior pieces in several styles: from art deco, classic,

neo-classical to the sleek designs that have been popular late-

ly. We always make everything to order for the customer. In

the twenty years that we have been doing this, I have already

drawn up some 3000 unique designs. All furniture is made

by hand according to the highest quality standards and with

the best materials. We have showrooms in Islamabad, Karachi

and London. Something that is made using artisan methods

is extremely expensive in Europe. We make furniture as it was

being made a hundred years ago.

Why this explicit choice of handmade

furniture?

Mechanically-made objects have no

soul. If something is made by hand,

then the effort, the art of the furniture

maker, lives on in the piece of furni-

ture. We bring old techniques back to

life and ensure that traditional skills

are not lost. Just like the 911, my love

for the origin of something is reflected

here. We make furniture that we hope

many generations will enjoy.

Is it difficult to build up something

professionally in Pakistan?

Much less so these days. I studied in

England and could have stayed there,

but I deliberately chose to start my

business in Pakistan. I have built up

my assets in Pakistan, with Pakistani

products made from Pakistani materi-

al. In some way, I want to set an exam-

ple. What I have done, others can do

too. There are so many opportunities

in Pakistan now. You just have to spot

them and grab them. Of course, there

are also problems in the country. But

we have been living in the post-9/11

era for 16 years now. It is time to start

looking forward again.