Taking a break from reality (and all the sales) (note to readers – just read The Straits Times on Fri & Sat for ads!), I wanted to share my fascination with the $1 billion dollar house that Mukesh Ambani built in Mumbai, India. The video below shows the top 10 most expensive houses in the world, but at $1 billion, Antilia (named after a mythical island) is likely to remain the most expensive for a while.
I can live several lifetimes (luxuriously) on $1 billion, so it’s fairly mind-boggling… Anyway, this will not be a social critique post unlike some articles that I’ve read. Felt inspired to make a post since the first pictures showing the interior of Antilia have finally been made public in the June 2012 edition of Vanity Fair magazine.
Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh, told Vanity Fair that “It’s a modern home with an Indian heart.” Well, it’s a ‘modern home’ that towers over surrounding buildings at 570 feet (173 m), the equivalent of a typical 40 storey structure. Antilia actually comprises only 27 storeys as some levels are are double- or triple-height. The opulent residence boasts 400,000 square feet on a 4,532 square metres (48,780 sq ft) plot, and requires a staff of 600 (!) to run. You really can’t miss seeing the building if you are in Mumbai, and you may want to avoid Altamount Road if the Ambani’s are throwing a party.
Not to worry that the family of 6 (comprising the couple, 3 kids and Mukesh’s mother) who have been living in the behemoth will get lost in the house – the family only occupies 4 floors, with the remaining 23 floors taken up by: elevated gardens with ceilings so high that small trees can grow, an entertainment floor that includes a 50-seater movie theater, health floors that feature a swimming pool and gym, dance room, ballroom and guest floors. Let’s not forget parking for 168 cars, three helicopter pads, maintenance floors that includes in-house servicing for the family cars, and ‘refuge floors’ where people can be easily rescued during emergencies.
As for the building, I have to admit that I’m no fan of the oddly stacked design. But the building is supposed to have some interesting features that Perkins + Will incorporated:
Antilia’s roots also draw on the traditional Indian concept of Vaastu. Similar to Feng Shui, the practice orients a building in harmony with energy flows. At Antilia, the overall plan is based on the square, which is Vaastu’s basic geometric unit, and a garden level occupies the tower’s midsection, the point where all energies converge according to the Vaastu Purusha Mandala.
So what do you think? Dream house or monstrosity?