Antila Demystified

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Antillia, a phantom island in the Atlantic, originates from an old Iberian legend. First appearing in the portolan chart of Zuane Pizzigano and tales of the Fortunate island were sung by poets like Homer and Horace whereas Plato articulated the dystopian legend of Atlantis. However, in the present, Antilla (now Antila) is known to be the house of the business mogul Mr. Mukesh Ambani valued at almost 3 billion dollars.

The residence is quite literally the lap of luxury. A massive 570 feet, 27 story building with a staff of 600, 9 high speed elevators, a private car service on the seventh floor, 50 seat home theatre, 3 helipads, large ballrooms with giant chandeliers, atriums with a panoramic view of the Arabian sea and a snow room with man-made snowflakes to escape grimy Mumbai summers.

One of the main reasons Antila designed by Perkins & Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates (an architectural firm based in Chicago) was causing a sensation is because of the four floors devoted to hanging gardens. These gardens, act as an energy-saving device by absorbing sunlight and deflecting it from the living spaces insulating the area. A portion of Antila’s walls have hanging hydroponic plants on the walls to add to the overall green cover fulfilling the same purpose a tree would. However, many environmentalists criticize the “deceptive green façade’’ stating that none of the materials used in construction are sustainable, it emits high carbon emissions and does not have environmental integrity.

As wonderfully luxurious as Antila sounds, it remains a testament to the capitalist sentiments, the surge of privatization in all sectors and the reason Mr. Karl Marx is turning in his grave. It remains a stark reflection of the huge disparity between most of the Indian population and the 1% in India especially since it neighbors the Golibar slums on Altamont Road, Cumballa Hill in Mumbai. It calls into question the concept of equitable distribution of wealth in a country as populous and diverse as India and whether it could ever be achieved or still be a distant, utopian dream for generations to come.