Saturday, November 27, 2010

World's priciest home

 Mukesh Ambani's house
Today I am going far from Italy to another enchanting and fascinating country, India, where Sonia Gandhi, an Italian born politician (she was born near Vicenza but lived in Turin until she married Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indira)  is currently the President of the Indian National Congress Party and the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

Sonia Gandhi

Having said that to justify this post in a blog mostly on Italian design (do I need to justify? well not really) I continue saying that I was struck by these news: Indian billionaire and one of the world's richest men, Mukesh Ambani, has hosted a lavish house-warming for his new 27-storey, (twenty seven...with 11 high speed elevators of course) residence, in Mumbai, believed to be the world's most expensive home, named Antilia and considered "the Taj Mahal of the 21st Century" and a "Versailles rival".
Mr. Ambani, his wife Nita and three children will be taken care by 600 members of staff.
Reports suggest the residence is worth more than 1 Billion dollars! But as the "proud" owners pointed out, this is their one and only residence, they insist they do not own villas secluded in exotic destinations around the world as many other billionaires have.
The ground floor and  five floors are the parking area that can accommodate as many as 160 cars and the Ambani family will occupy the top four floors of the mansion, below the three helipads of the mansion.
The skyscraper has a cinema seating 50, swimming pools, gardens, a temple.

The private residence has sparked controversy, with anti-poverty campaigners pointing to the contrast between the luxury of the house and the misery of those who live in Mumbai's slums. 

Shobhaa De

Shobhaa De an Indian writer and columnist, who was at the inaugural party said "It is already the most controversial building in the world, for reasons that go beyond its unconventional architecture (...)There is a lot of marble, there is a lot of mother of pearl. There are areas and gardens and lotus pools and absolutely beautiful Krishna temple. There is art, there's sculpture, there is a huge bar, there is a swimming pool," she said "and people should not grudge him his indulgences (...) he generates a great amount of employment for those very poor and contributes to the economy."
The house was designed according to Vaastu principles, an Indian tradition similar to Chinese feng shui. It is important to know that in India a home is considered a "human temple" not just a shelter to rest and eat. For centuries the Vaastu system of design, mainly used for shrines and temples, was based on 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. When designing a building Vaastu doctrine says it is important to understand the relation between these five natural forces. The system combines all the five elements and balances them with the person and the material and lately has been applied increasingly to public and private buildings, like this incredible one.

The floor is now open for comments...

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Images from Internet various sources


Claudia Juestel said...

One can never stray too far from home when covering something of interest. It really gets you thinking. Two thoughts that come up:

1. Money & Power: I believe in balance. So if someone can afford to live extravagantly they also should give back generously. The seven year construction surely provided lots of jobs, and a staff of 600 compares to work offered by a hotel. But I wonder if Mukesh Ambani and his family really do much else for the community around them still living in severe poverty.

2. Design: Perkins + Will specialize in public architecture and Hirsch Bedner Associates are known for hospitality design. Considering the size of the project the owners may have felt that your average residential architect and designer could not have handled a project of this scale. But this can have a downside, which I feel shows in the building not giving the sense of a true home. They may have applied the principle of Vaastu, but judging from the photos it feels more like a skyscraper hotel than someone's home. I am not sold.

I think comparing Antila to the Taj Mahal is a bit of a stretch. I have been to the Taj Mahal twice, and I find it hard to believe that this building could evoke the same sense of awe.

What do you think Albarosa?



Marcus Design said...

Wow, this is a very interesting topic, something you very often see in poorer countries is such an extreme gap between the rich and poor. And the rich are often extremely rich! I think others cannot judge whether he should have such a home or not, but I do agree with the idea that if we are given so much we must be wise with it and we must be responsible in giving back generously.

Maria Killam said...

Have you seen the letter to the Editor you wrote in the current Elle Decor magazine? That was fun to see. . .

home before dark said...

I would file this in the trash under the heading: just because one can, should one? To compare this to the Taj Mahal illustrates how far we have come to create hideous and call it great architecture. Great architecture needs no warning "this is great." It simply resonates in our hearts and souls. To have 600 people "care for the family" is an entirely different rant.

Mary Ann Pickett said...

So interesting. However, it makes me thankful for what I have.


The project just makes me sad - I don't like the building, the interiors or the concept.

This is clearly a show off property where money is the prime object of the owner. The saddest part is that is located in one of the poorest countries in the world. I am not saying that the owner can't have a beautiful home following the Vaasta, but that he also could do more than show off his wealth and help the development of his own country.

Anonymous said...

I doubt if Sigfried Giedion was to write a new book on architecture, this would be included.

Personally I find the idea of 600 people serving one family, morally obscene no matter where they live. There are other ways one can create employment without being self-serving.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your far-reaching interests, it gives the rest of us a glorious cross section of the design process world wide. I love your thoughts and writing style, Ruth

Anonymous said...

To each his own. Personally I would feel extremely uncomfortable displaying my wealth so prominently for all the world (and it's slum inhabitants) to see. The image of the tower brilliantly strung out and blazing in lights amidst the pall of it's impoverished neighborhood makes me shudder. That said, it could very well inspire millions caught up in the daily grind towards a better life and future for their children. After all Mukesh Ambani's father was an entirely self made man.

Monnaie said...

Great!Nice architects design and interior designing!

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