World’s first billion-dollar home

Mumbai property boasts three helipads, a 50-seater cinema and 600 staff

Mr Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and the world’s fourth richest, is having a few friends round to celebrate moving into his new Mumbai pad. But as the home has 27 storeys, soars to 173m and is worth an estimated £630 million ($1.3 billion), it will be a housewarming like no other.

Experts say there is no other private property of comparable size and prominence in the world.

The building – named Antilia, after a mythical island – will be home to Mr Ambani, his wife and their three children. It contains a health club with a gym and dance studio, at least one swimming pool, a ballroom, guestrooms, a variety of lounges and a 50-seater cinema.

According to Forbes magazine, Mr Ambani, who owns much of Reliance Industries, is worth £18 billion. Those lucky enough to have received an invitation to the housewarming later this month will be able to choose from a variety of means of transport to get there.

If they want to avoid Mumbai’s gridlock, there are three helicopter pads on the roof. If they do drive, they will not have any trouble parking – there is space for 160 vehicles on the lower floors.

Once in, nine lifts will take the guests from the lobby to upper levels, where the festivities will take place.

On the top floors, with a sweeping view of the city and out over the Arabian Sea, are quarters for the 53-year-old tycoon and his family. Overall, there is reportedly 37,000 sq m of space – more than the Palace of Versailles. To keep things running smoothly, there is a staff of 600.

Antilia cost an estimated £44 million to build but, because of Mumbai’s astronomic land and property prices, will be worth about 15 times that amount – £630 million.

An asymmetric stack of glass, steel and tiles with a four-storey hanging garden, Mr Ambani’s new home has been built, reports say, with local materials as far as possible. According to Forbes, the plants save energy by absorbing sunlight, making it easier to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter.

Billionaire’s bling is not absent – hence the glass and gold chandeliers hanging from the ballroom ceiling. Interior design of Antilia is described as “Asian contemporary”. It has apparently been influenced by vaastu, an Indian tradition close to the Chinese feng shui, which supposedly allows positive energies to move through the building.

Mr Shiny Varghese, deputy editor of the Indian magazine Design Today, said the Ambanis’ house was the ultimate expression of a much broader trend.

“It’s so obscenely lavish that I’m not sure too many people will go all that way, but we are heading into the sort of culture where money is not a question when setting up a home,” he said. “The lavishness is huge.”

Source : Today – 15 Oct 2010

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