Inside a Billion Dollar Residence
The fourth richest man in the world and Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s new 27-story glass-fronted residence called ‘Antilla’ in south Mumbai, India, which is touted as the world’s first billion dollar home, welcomed its owners at the end of 2010. The only remotely comparable high-rise property currently on the market is the $70 million triplex penthouse at the Pierre Hotel in New York, designed to resemble a French chateau, and climbing 525 feet in the air.
It all started back in 2005, when Nita Ambani (Mukesh Ambani’s wife) was visiting New York and was deeply impressed by the contemporary Asian interiors in Mandarin Oriental hotel, overlooking Central Park. She consulted with the designers behind the awarded NY hotel, architecture firms Perkins + Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates and the outcome was a $2 billion, 27-story sky scraper standing tall at 550 ft with 4,000,000 square feet of interior space.
Antilla, the Ambani residence, cost more than a hotel or high-rise of similar size because of its custom measurements, architectural and design elements. While a hotel or condominium has a common layout, replicated on every floor, and uses the same range of materials throughout the interior space, Antilla has unique elements on every floor. Moreover, the architects and designers constantly altered floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building was being constructed. The idea was to blend styles and architectural elements as to deliver the sense of consistency, without iteration.
Antilla’s shape is based on Vaastu, a Hindu traditional design that is known to move energy through the building by directional alignmencontrast that delivers unique sensations. Chandeliers, mirrors and traditional carpets are specific Indian decorative elements that designers used throughout the entire residence.
The house implements a certain environmental awareness by hosting an open-air atrium of gardens, flowers and lawns. Gardens, whether hanging hydroponic plants, or fixed trees, are a critical part of the building’s exterior adornment but also serve a purpose: The plants act as an energy-saving device by absorbing sunlight, thus deflecting it from the living spaces and making it easier to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter.
Opinions vary – there are people that severely criticize the residence’s excessive consumption, extreme wastefulness and opulence; on the contrary, some consider it a matter of personal taste and finances. Irrespective of the public opinion, Antilla is an architectural presence that is worth being mentioned.
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