Jul '12 - Jan '13
Along the western coast of Mumbai is Cumballa Hill, a district of mixed socioeconomic classes. It is here where millionaires and billionaires live harmoniously together, and it is on the crest of Cumballa Hill where the world’s most expensive single family home rests. Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire business tycoon, commissioned Perkins + Will to design the 27 story home, which was completed in 2010.
My cab driver stopped in front of her gate, as though I had a meeting with Mr. Ambani, and I collected the welcoming eye of the well-clad security guard. Gazing upwards from amongst the passing cars on Altamont Road, the façade was a bulwark, closed and uninviting, protected from the neighbors by a shield of greenery. She opened instead to the west, towards the splendid views of the Arabian Sea.
She is of the ribbon family. That point in one’s design career when it is decide the time is right to take one elongated plane, fold it over itself repeatedly and fill the void with glass and steel. Its execution here, I must say, is adequate, administering a proper and varying narrative. A colossal slanting hypostyle hall, a terraced patio, enclosed by the ribbon, terraced again, but open to the sea; a shielded and dark cantilever, the full block, shielded again, and finally a grand terrace.
But the most intriguing aspect is the manner in which Antilla displays her unprecedented wealth. As Mies withdrew Seagram from Park Avenue in a display of its prosperous, yet cordial demeanor, Antilla cleaves her plaza into pieces, placing them intermittently throughout, but denying to the public their affable occupation. For it is not the mass itself, which demands obeisance, but its lacking, which displays such abundance, that one may afford a lack thereof.
Antilla and context (an unapproved shot from an apartment roof)
Proper ad placement by Architectural Digest
Antilla from Kanchanjunga
An Indo Inquisition is a thirteen-week train expedition across India. The journey will document the influences of international modernism and British occupation, as well as compare the effects of wealth accumulation, culture, religion, and poverty with economic growth and their effect on the built environment.