Margaret Hirsch, executive director of the Homestore group in Hirsch, with the DArte Smeg FAB28 refrigerator currently on sale for 1.3 million rand. Image: Supplied An iconic Smeg refrigerator, brilliantly hand painted by Sicilian artists and branded by Dolce & Gabbana, has sparked a bidding war that could see it sell for more than R1.3 million.
The brightly colored appliance is one of only 100 retro art refrigerators from the exclusive brand created in collaboration with renowned Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana, and is currently on display in the new concept store run by Hirsch's Home Store Group, which has opened this month in Constance, Cape Town.
The bespoke refrigerators, described as working works of art, are hand painted (at least 260 hours of work) by Sicilian artists. Margaret Hirsch, executive director of Hirsch's Homestore Group, said the refrigerator was unveiled as the centerpiece for the opening of the first independent Smeg store in Africa.
Natasha Pallotta of Smeg South Africa said that a second refrigerator from the iconic range - this one with a donkey - was currently being shipped to SA from Italy and would be on display in Sandton's Smeg showroom in Johannesburg.
Hirsch said that the Cape Town store refrigerator sparked a lot of interest and that there were at least two serious customers ready to challenge each other. "I suspect we will end up selling for more than R 1.5 million than R 1.3 million," she said. According to Hirsch, other items from the D&G Smeg "Sicily is my Love" collection have been extremely popular with customers attracted by the brightly colored works, priced at R25.999 for an Espresso coffee machine, R10.499 for the kettle or R12, 299 for the matching four-slice toaster.
According to the latest Africa Wealth Report 2021, a growing number of super wealthy people on the continent - at least 130,000 US dollar millionaires and 22 US dollar billionaires - are fueling the continent's burgeoning luxury segment.
With private wealth in Africa estimated at over $ 2 trillion (29 trillion rand), cash-seekers spend huge sums on high-end fashion brands, luxury homes, cars fast, yachts, designer watches and flashy vacations at upscale hotels and resorts.
They drive Porsche, Bentley, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini and wear global brands like Zegna, Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Dolce & Gabbana, according to the report.
In April, reality TV star Shauwn Mkhize of the show Kwa MamMkhize - which owns a football team and a construction company - made headlines by purchasing a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The British brand's first designer SUV sells for around R16m.
The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2021 indicates that as of December 2020, SA had 44,605 dollar millionaires, with the number expected to rise to 63,400 by 2025. In stark contrast, the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group's most recent findings are that 13.8 million people in SA live below the food poverty line, calculated by Stats SA as surviving on less than R624 per month. .
Those wishing to see the new designs at the Smeg concept store or in the showrooms in Cape Town, Durban and Joburg will be offered a freshly brewed coffee in a Smeg machine.
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