Before we enter the debate of luxury residential development and boutique apartments which are booming in India’s real estate market, let us ponder a little on the idea of luxury and how something is categorized as a luxurious apartment.
In the city of Mumbai, it is claimed that only 5% of the population owns a residence, and if you do, you are in the privileged slab of the population. Thus, in a city where having a home you can call your own in itself is a luxury, the adjective luxurious becomes a rather unfortunate and subjective one to talk about.
With the clamouring economical divide in the present-day Indian society, luxury to some may just be four walls and a small window, and chasing anything beyond that would be going on a wild goose chase.
But here as I speak about luxurious apartments, it definitely and automatically narrows down to probably those topping the 5% that can afford ‘not just the house.’
Let’s see what more they seek.
Space and volume
In the present and post Covid-19 world, work from home is going to be a new culture and with almost every member of the family trying to attend meetings and phone calls at the same time, who doesn’t need space? An average 2000-2500 sq. ft. house forming a decent 4-BHK apartment, is spacious enough for an average family of 4-6.
In metropolitan cities, it would cost an arm and a leg to be able to afford this size of an apartment. Large spaces, uncompromised natural light, and cross ventilation are undoubted features of space that not just speak luxury but also superior quality.
A double-height living room, full-length French windows, large balconies overlooking the sea with simple whitewashed walls and brown furniture, may sound simple, that life is but a dream for many.
Real estate prices are strongly governed by the location of the apartment and what it overlooks. It is almost as if you’re paying not for the apartment itself, but for the setting, it is in.
Imagine sitting on the swing in the balcony and overlooking the sea with your hair flipping by the sea breeze or watching over the horizon at the time of sunset and sipping your favorite coffee after a long day at work and on the other hand, having a balcony but nothing worthwhile to look outside.
Luxury is also what is the backdrop that is being fed to the eye and its impact on the mind, body and spirit. Apartments are ranking higher on the chart of luxurious apartments based on the extent of indoor and outdoor experience that they provide.
Locating and orienting the building and the habitable spaces in a way that allows optimizing the natural and indirect sunlight to having well-lit spaces speaks a lot about the architect’s prowess of space planning and analysis which can make space either rich and vibrant or dull and quaint.
Luxury is often synonymous with ostentatious
An architect is often a promoter of simplicity and minimum decor to allow the volume to perform the experience. But for many clients, less is bore. Enamoured by expensive decor and rarity from across the globe, albeit it subverts the architecture, but screams luxury for the common man.
Clients love to create ceremonious backdrops, emulate classical styles and create themes out of things they admire. For some, it would be a collection of antiques, while for others it would be glistening crystal ware and creating that jazz with bright chandeliers, all driven by the purpose of creating an at-home experience and making it worth the while for one’s stare.
God forbid, but any damage to these objects, fallen or broken would cost you an organ.
One size fits all
The current trend in high-end luxury apartment buildings is having everything under one roof. Curating an experience for the user right from the onset, having a 5-star hotel-like lobby, porte-cochere for the vehicles, maximizing the integration of nature in the form of roof-top and poolside gardens, courtyards, and much more.
Many clients today want exotic experiences like spa and steam rooms, splash pools, and bar tables all in their apartment. Buildings have opened up business models of offering initial floors to the retail industry, making the building truly one size fits all for the residents.
God is in the details
We testified luxury to have many connotations. But to me, luxury is about the quality of materials and the craftsmanship of space. A product speaks luxury for itself if it has the right balance of quality and detail.
If space is tailored for the needs of the client in a way that enhances intuitive movement and fluid living, explored efficiently with the palette of colours that gives its user the right balance of warmth and vibrancy, it feeds not just the eye, but the mind and the spirit and who doesn’t see that to be luxurious.