A house-warming party for the world's costliest home
It needs 600 staff to run it – and September's electricity bill was £98,000
A multi-storey house which has a monthly electricity bill of £98,000, needs a staff of 600 to run it, and looks like it was designed by a blindfolded architect may not be most people's idea of home, sweet, home, but it is for Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani. And, to celebrate moving into this, the world's most expensive home, the man who paid £630m for it to be built threw a housewarming party on Friday.
One of the guests, Indian novelist Shobhaa De, described the 174 metre (570ft) building as the "Taj Mahal of the 21st century", and told the BBC that it has "what has got to be the biggest, glitziest ballroom in India – the Palace of Versailles is a poor cousin". But despite being designed according to Vaastu principles – an Indian tradition similar to Chinese feng shui – some might question the architectural harmony of this new rival to such legendary buildings from the past.
According to The Times of India, one of the guests observed, "This is not a home, it is a statement," a comment which refects the surreal quality of a house named "Antilia" after a mythical Atlantic island.
The skyscraper is said to have a cinema, swimming pools and a helicopter pad, and will house Mr Ambani, 53, his wife and three children, and his elderly mother.
Mr Ambani is reputed to be India's richest man – according to Forbes his fortune clocks in at £17bn. He is chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in the world, and also owns the Mumbai Indians, a premier league cricket team.
Around 80 people attended the housewarming reception, including Bollywood stars such as Preity Zinta sculptor Anish Kapoor, and Yves Carcelle, chairman of the luxury brand LVMH.
Anti-poverty campaigners have highlighted the contrast between Antilia and the poverty of the city in which it is built. An estimated half of the 18 million-strong population of Mumbai live in slums, with inadequate or non-existent power and water supplies. Just a short walk from the residence, on Altamount Road, entire families can be found living under a flyover and on pavements, near foreign consulates and exclusive boutiques.
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