First look inside the world's most expensive house

Is towering Antilia a symbol of growing inequality, or the Taj Mahal of the 21st Century?

Not very many private homes in the world have their own Wikipedia page. Antilia, named after the mythical Atlantic island of Antillia, certainly does.

For the first time since its 7-year construction, the Ambani family is speaking about the house.

Built by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, the home is reported to cost more than $1bn.

Visitors have described three helipads, a yoga studio, swimming pool, mini-theater, health club, and snow room.

What is a snow room you ask? Don't worry, I googled it for you: an ice room infused with man-made snow flurries.

"The land of Mahatma Gandhi may have long eschewed ostentatious wealth, but that started changing after 1991 when an era of greater entrepreneurial opportunity gave rise to a generation keen to strut its stuff," writes Mark Magnier of The Los Angeles Times. "And these days, there is lots to strut."

"It's a stupendous show of wealth," said Hamish McDonald, author of Ambani & Sons: A History of the Business. "It's kind of positioning business tycoons as the new maharajah of India."

The Indian novelist Shobhaa De attended the house warming and referred to the home as the "Taj Mahal of the 21st Century".

"The Taj Mahal was considered one of the wonders of the world, this is...I'm sure it's going to be one of the wonders of modern India," Ms De told the BBC, adding that Antilia was built to the taste of Mr Ambani, and that people should not "grudge him his indulgences".

Ambani's wife, Nita, complained to the media about the attention the house is taking - or more precisely - taking away from the more socially conscious projects she is involved with. But it's a little hard to see past the shadow cast by the towering billion dollar home that houses a total of (drum roll) six people.

Is it not spooky to live in a 27-story mansion overlooking the neighboring slums of Mumbai?

Let SmartPlanet know what you think. Is this house a glaring reminder of inequality built in poor taste, or an architectural contribution for generations to come?

The June issue of Vanity Fair Magazine published the first interview with Nita Ambani along with photographs from inside Antilia.

[via: BBC; Los Angeles Times]

Images: Creative Commons; Jonathan Becker for Vanity Fair

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