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
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.