A Conversation with Claude Attala

Claude Attala: co-founder of Z.65 Vision Collaborative, ex-global managing director of Northcourse Advisory Services; leading global specialist in leisure and real estate industry research, consulting and project management; former Head of Planning and Operations for the Qatar Tourism Authority. Who is Claude Attala, really?

A long story with a happy ending—so far, anyway! The jobs—yes, they're me, for sure. I am that man! But I've always pursued what I wanted; I've always been someone looking for the right path, and have been fortunate enough to find it—so far, at least.

So it's all down to luck?

No, no—not at all. I'm a person who works at what I know—what I feel to be right. There is always that inner voice—a voice I've come to trust over the years that says 'Do this'. That's not to say though that there isn't always an element of chance in what we do.

Fate?

Yes—and no! Someone, I forget whom, said that fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like. Fate can be like that, but it can also bring you into contact with people who can make a real difference in your life—like meeting my great friend and co-founder, Marco, again—after many years in different parts of the world. I have no doubt though, that it was our determination to succeed in our own chosen careers that brought us back together in Dubai after so many years.

Interesting that you mention waiters...

Well, I suppose it's hardly surprising really given how long I've been involved with the hospitality industry...let me see...yes—nearly twenty-five years now. I've worked with leading hospitality companies in Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Luxembourg—and with some of the biggest names in the industry: Radisson SAS, Intercontinental, and Sheraton.

You say you 'worked with' companies: what specifically have you achieved?

Well, I was involved in the preparation of the nomination file of the Khor Al Adaid area in Qatar for the inclusion on the UNESCO natural world heritage list; I helped implement the Qatar Master Tourism Plan and prepared the business case for the joint venture between Northcourse and Qatari Diar Investment & Development Company—this was for sales leisure real estate solutions related to Qatari Diar's mixed used developments. There was also a design development brief and concept recommendation of four hotels within a mega—planned mixed use project in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates; a master plan creation for a major national project in South Africa, and I set up the feasibility review and business case validation of the luxury cruise liner QE2—I've been kept busy, for sure!

So now you are co-founder of Z.65 Vision Collaborative?

Yes. It's a project of a lifetime. The development of something that takes creates, designs, builds and manages ideas—ideas made real places. We tell stories with our buildings. It's something more than just a company. Our desire to look after each and every detail of what a client wants—from vision, feasibility, concept, and design and project management—their need is central. We aim to support investors and developers through every stage of their project, while working closely with our collaborative partners. Z.65 Vision Collaborative is the catalyst for ideas that will lift our clients' projects to the heights they deserve. We have the ideas; we have the imagination; we have the experts. Z.65 and our team of creative partners aim to be a force to be reckoned with.

Interesting. What do you think makes Z.65 stand out from its competitors?

Ideas. Personally, I feel that ideas are central, to who I am, and what I do, and what Z.65 is all about. I remember a quote from Steve Jobs that refers to this. He said 'Your time is limited; so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma ‐ which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.' That's how I see Z.65. Ideas, plain and simple.

Thank you, Claude.

My pleasure.

 


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