Last year, business magnate Mukesh Ambani finally moved into Antilia, the towering Mumbai palace that cost more than $1B to build, by most estimates, making it the most expensive private residence in the world. That figure becomes even more astounding when one considers what Ambani, the richest man in India, paid for the plot: a mere 215M rupees, or about $4M. He was publicly criticized for buying land at a fraction of its market value, and, of course, for building such an ostentatious tower in a city where so many live in extreme poverty. Not everyone saw it that way, though: "The Ambanis, and their house, reflect the epic changes in the whole social order of India, with its complex strata," the daughter of a prominent Indian family told Vanity Fair's James Reginato last year.
Antilia, perched on the most expensive street in Mumbai, protrudes from the city's skyline like a stack of toy blocks, each glassy cantilever serving as a visual division among the home's many functions: private, public, play, and, of course, maintenance and support. Here now, Antilia's most impressive stats:
10. Antilia, home to Ambani, his wife, Nita, and their three children, is staffed by 600 people.
9. Since some of its 27 floors are double- or triple-height, the home has the feel of a 40-story tower, rising 570 feet tall.
8. "The whole house is based on the lotus and sun," Nita tells Vanity Fair. Artisans were tasks with creating these shapes throughout the home from rare woods, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other luxurious materials.
7. Antilia has six full floors dedicated to parking; Ambani famously owns 168 cars, and there's capacity to store all of them here.
6. The home also has a private car-service center, which is located on the 7th floor.
5. A 50-person theater has a garden on the roof, one Antilia's many terraced gardens.
4. There are nine high-speed elevators that access different floors. The guest floors have their own elevators, Ambani's family has their own, and so on.
3.There's something called an "ice room"—where the family can experience artificial snow smack in the middle of Mumbai.
2. Topping off the structure is a private four-floor residence for Ambani's family. "We made our home right at the top because we wanted the sunlight," Nita says of the quarters, which have views of the Arabian Sea. "So it's an elevated house on top of a garden."
1. In addition to the three helipads on the property, there's also an "air space floor," which serves as a helicopter control center.
· The Talk of Mumbai [Vanity Fair]
· For Wealthy Indian Family, Palatial House is Not a Home [New York Times]