There’s nothing like a great first impression. India’s real-estate developers know this only too well. This explains why lobbies in the city’s plushest upcoming projects are getting ever grander.
A lobby or an entrance area (often a hall or atrium) is the first thing a visitor or prospective buyer encounters when visiting a building. So developers know they have one shot at making sure your jaw drop, and are going to considerable lengths to make the areas as impressive as possible
From crystal-studded ceilings and vertical water installations to world-class interiors and air-conditioned insides that take up nearly four floors, lobbies in some luxury projects are now more than just waiting areas. For developers the idea is to create larger-than-life spaces to draw prospective buyers and make an impression on their guests and visitors for years to come.
Ramesh Nair, chief operating officer, business, and international director at realty consultancy, JLL India, says that a lobby offers a “pull factor” or a big draw for those entering. “Even more so in the premium and luxury segments,” he adds. “Home buyers want a welcoming atmosphere right from the word ‘go’. Lobbies are obviously the first port of call.”
Nishant Agarwal, managing director of Avighna Group says that a majestic lobby not only gives a preview of what is to come, but also leaves a memorable impact on the visitor.
He would know. The lobby of the 61-storey twin towers at One Avighna Park in Parel has an illuminated ceiling laden with 54,450 crystals sourced from Egypt. The installation stretches across 1.7km, weighs 5.5 tonnes and was created by DHA Design Services, a London company that also helped redesign the entrance for that city’s iconic Victoria & Albert Museum.
“The idea was to give residents and visitors a ‘wow’ feeling the moment they stepped in,” says Agarwal. It took nearly four months to complete.
In Worli, The Ahuja Towers, a 53-storey project, has a lobby lounge that features a 28-foot high water installation that goes from ceiling to floor. It is designed by New York-based Wilson Associates (who also worked on the Atlantis Hotel lobby in the UAE) and not only looks striking, but also reduces the temperature of the lobby, saving energy.
The lobby also doubles as a lounge. “There are comfy chairs, sofas and television screens so guests have plenty to do while waiting for residents,” says a spokesperson of Ahuja.
Another factor that has led to the increased grandeur of entrance lobbies is the allowance given by the Municipal Corporation’s development control rules. “The lobby is free up to a height of 7.2 metres and is not included in the FSI of a project,” says Mumbai-based architect Carl Bhesania. He says that developers are making the most of this allowance to give an impressive first-look to projects.
So when homes cost upwards of Rs 4 crore, how can a lobby reflect that luxury? With amenities that match the opulence.
The 48-storey Indiabulls Sky has a 48-foot quadruple-height lobby with local and international art works and installations. There’s also a gourmet restaurant and deli for residents and visitors.
The Lodha Group has roped in a Milan-based interior design company Armani/ Casa for their double-height lobby at The World Towers in Lower Parel. The décor in the entry zone features white gold plating, marble-paste-finished walls and a luxury-on-call concierge service.
In Bandra-Kurla Complex, Rustomjee Oriana’s lobby offers premium concierge services. The lobby staff can make restaurant reservations and travel plans, manage spa appointments and at-home services. Oriana’s 3,500-square-foot gallery-like lobby has been designed by Singapore interior designer David Tay. It also houses a lounge, a recording studio and a coffee shop.
“When residents of luxury projects expect the best, our challenge is to exceed their expectations through exclusivity,” says Percy Chowdhry, director, Rustomjee Group. He adds that Oriana’s services influence the decision-making process for buyers.
The newfound focus on creating imposing lobbies serves a twin purpose. It impresses buyers as well as serves as a vibrant socialising zone for residents. “Developers are borrowing the concept from 5-star hotels, where a lavish lobby represent the luxury that the hotel stands for,” says Pankaj Kapoor, managing director of realty research firm Liases Foras. A good lobby can become an ideal space for get-togethers among eventual residents.
A luxury home that is impressive, has world-class amenities and is a great place to chill with the neighbours – now that’s exclusivity.