Mukesh Ambani, head of India-based petrochemical giant Reliance Industries, and the fifth richest man in the world, is having a 27 floor skyscraper home built in Mumbai for approximately $2 billion.
Forbes estimated Ambani’s net worth at $43 billion in March. Reliance Industries was founded by Mukesh’s father, Dhirubhai Ambani, in 1966, and is India’s most valuable firm by market capitalization. Mr Ambani and his wife, who have three children, currently live in a 22-story Mumbai tower that the family has spent years remodeling to meet its needs.
Like many families with the means to do so, the Ambanis wanted to build a custom home. They consulted with architecture firms Perkins + Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates, the designers behind the Mandarin Oriental, based in Dallas and Los Angeles, respectively. Plans were then drawn up for what will be the world’s largest and most expensive home.
The architects and designers are creating as they go, altering floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building is constructed.
Nine elevators dot the lobby floor: Two are designated for parking areas, three for guest quarters, two for the Ambani family residences and two for service. The lobby opens to numerous lounges, reception areas and powder rooms. Dual stairways lead from the lobby floor down to the ballroom, which is designed in an open layout with a two-story roof.
The most striking features of the Antilla ballroom are the crystal chandeliers that will take up approximately 80% of the ceiling. The silver stairways lead to a central landing, behind which two retractable doors can open to display works of art. There is also a stage for entertainment or speeches, with a projection screen behind it. A kitchen, about the same size as the ballroom itself, can service hundreds of guests.
Ambani’s home features countless lounges, offering Reliance Industries guests a quiet escape. Chandeliers and mirrors are a common feature of these rooms, as are finely woven Indian area rugs.
Each space and floor uses materials not seen anywhere else. The idea is that spaces will blend into one another, giving the impression of consistency and flow, while at the same time displaying different influences and traditions. This furniture, floors, lines and dark woods of this lounge have a more minimalistic approach than the home’s other lounges.
The indoor/outdoor health level features a lap pool and Jacuzzi that take in views of the city skyline, as well as lounge chairs shaded by trees. Yoga and dance studios, changing rooms for men and women, gyms and a solarium with a juice bar fill out the interior space. There are plans to include an ice room in the center space, where the Ambanis could sit on a hot Mumbai day to cool off in a man-made snow flurry.
It’s very common in large homes to have a theater or screening room, but usually they’re just large projection screens with a few nice seats. The Ambani’s theater is more like those seen in George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch or Frank Pritt’s Portabello Estate–a full-fledged theater, indistinguishable from a cinema. A wine room, snack bar and entertaining space, including couches and tables, fill out the room.
One of Antilla’s key design themes is the mix of lavish features seen in worldwide homes and elements that are distinctly Indian. The Gingko-leaf sink designs are a good example. Native to India, the leaves in the sinks are shaped in such a way that their stems guide water into the bowl created by the basket of the leaf.
The first six floors of the residence will be dedicated to parking for the Ambani family, guests and employees. Hanging vertical gardens dot the exterior. While they make for good decoration, their key function has to do with energy efficiency: The hydroponic plants, grown in liquid nutrient solutions instead of soil, lower the energy footprint of the home by absorbing heat and sunlight and providing shade that helps keep it cool.
The top floor features a covered, outdoor entertaining space with panoramic views of the Mumbai skyline as well as the Arabian Sea. On those days when it’s too hot, or cold, an interior space with floor-to-ceiling windows provides the same luxury.