Translating his experience with design and gems into real estate, jeweler Pavan Anand’s first villa is nothing short of a sculpted precious stone, which has been perfected over years
By: Veronique Poles, Fashion & Luxury Consultant
Posted on: October 9, 2020
Recent years have seen drastic changes in luxury real estate in India, and in particular, in Mumbai. The current diaspora of home buyers, that has an eye for taste, exquisiteness and art, has led to the emergence of modernistic projects. This has, in turn, contributed to the metamorphosis of the luxury real estate landscape in India.
However, as the pandemic has put us in long isolation at home, the lockdown has created an indelible impact on our lives. With the change of pace of life, home has become an important sanctuary of safety. It speaks even more of ‘us’ than before, becoming an icon of our style and personality in the absence of other markers. The search for a safe haven of family and community has never been more urgent than now.
The propensity of buyers for a strong appreciation for nature and the need for personal space is accelerating the demand for estates in the suburb or even in the countryside. Unsurprisingly, Pavan Anand, a celebrated Indian haute jeweler and an incredible visionary of his time, had anticipated this trend a few years ago, and immediately started working to fill this gap in the luxury real estate industry.
In 2012, when he first visited Alibagh, Mr. Anand fell almost immediately in love with it for its tranquility and vibes. Alibagh, a small coastal town located south of the “Maximum city”, the fast paced metropolis of Mumbai, is a haven of peace. Once upon a time, Alibagh was an exclusive lifestyle destination for industrialists, film stars, HNWIs, evolving fast to become the most sought-after weekend destination now, and an emerging lifestyle destination for second homes too. No wonder that Alibagh is abuzz with all kinds of real estate projects now.
Anticipating various infrastructure projects that would make connectivity to Alibagh easier, Mr. Anand began to work on a new idea from 2014-15. His aim was to reinvent the residential typology, to bring about a new real estate category, which is flawless and very upmarket. An estate with an architectural and design purpose, resolutely turned towards art, relaxation, comfort, high level of privacy, and soothing inside-out living.
A jeweler primarily by profession, Mr. Anand is an architect by education. With his inimitable talent and vision, Mr. Anand excels in creating unique and exciting designs, always with an edge to them, breaking stereotypes and pushing boundaries. One of the first Indian designers to have achieved international recognition, his maverick gene allows him to anticipate, and not just respond to existing demand, which is a key factor in success.
With his fondness for everything he creates, his multidisciplinary approach, his own injection of style and fine details, Mr. Anand took a new challenge to express his talent, and to work his magic on his unexplored second passion: architecture and design.
To epitomize luxury and art in design and architecture, Mr. Anand conceptualised and created an inclusive project, a modern interpretation of a home in Alibagh, envisioning the future of this retreat destination, thus highlighting India in the world of architecture and design.
“The architectural art I create will entail a completely finished, designed, fitted out, accessorized, landscaped estate! I would not ever repeat the design: a unique villa, a unique lifestyle, for one lucky owner who will treasure it!” states Mr. Anand.
For this new chapter in his series of unmatched credentials, he teamed up with Sushma Kilachand, his long-term friend, partner and designer, both of them passionately creative. They are the careful curators of content, design and art in their unparalleled projects. To collaborate with them on this exclusive curatorial project, they selected the Singapore-based luxury estate curator Anubhav Bhushan, and Muse Lab as the interior architect and landscape designer.
The several wondrous art installations and pieces, placed meaningful by Mr. Anand, are all originally conceptualized in detail by him, thereafter refined and finalized by the design firm Muse Lab. “Those art elements engage and interact with the inhabitants, like living beings would,” comments Mr. Anand.
A through and through Indian at heart and promoter of the wonderful genius this country harbours, Mr. Anand, had a clear and determined vision to highlight the strength and skills India is capable of, to show the world that super luxury can exist without necessarily importing international products. He explains, “There is so much talent in India. People are willing to do hard work, they are willing to do something extraordinary, but not everyone gives them an opportunity or supports them.”
Thus, to create this wonderful sense of true luxury with authentic meaning, they very carefully selected talented Indian fine artisans and craftsmen to give life to his vision.
In March 2020, just a few days before the national lockdown, Mr. Anand unveiled his residential concept, his first Architectural Art villa, and the first of a series to come with each of them being unique - “designed like an artist produces art”.
This first villa is secluded, nestled in a luxurious and peaceful setting, surrounded by a lush tropical landscape fenced and guarded continuously in Mandwa/Alibagh, with the destination being perfectly connected to the speedboat jetty.
An exceptional space with dramatic and luxurious elements, showcasing sleek elements of modern architecture, the ‘Pavan Anand’ villa is a regeneration project cultivating a sense of exclusivity. It is an extension of Mr. Anand’s fabulous, inexhaustible and meaningful repertoire, perfecting luxury with a determination of soaring higher. “Everywhere in the home there is an installation of some sort,” specifies Mr. Anand. Each installation, with surprising details, is unique and commissioned for this one villa only. You will find each piece in this location only. And nothing is incidental.
Every element of the design spells high fashion and experiential drama, while unfolding a story, a specific meaning.
The project's landscaped area is in appropriate correspondence with the artful atmosphere of the interior. The specific geometric configuration of the plot thoughtfully selected for this project serves to create distinct spaces that favor privacy and flexibility of social gatherings. Each space is designed with one distinctive eye-catching art installation, and with a specific lighting scheme. The result left us awestruck in multiple ways.
To describe it in one line, the breathtakingly avant-garde villa is a disruptive and innovative project focused on aesthetics, for very discerning, aspirational people.
“It is a very complex design that unfolds in layers as you walk through it,” explains Mr. Anand. “When we began the project, the vision was to design a home which is basically a series of glass blocks, on water, which you enter through fire.”
Fostering a seamless design, navigation and flow of space, the glass design of the home is the most complex part of this project, The three glass elements, a spatial gem, offer a unique art experience and an uncomparable scale of views on the outside, and an open-air lifestyle.
Incorporating Earth, Water and Fire through architecture, the three elements have also been interpreted via several statement art pieces, to unify the man-made structure and nature, and to overcome the tight boundaries of the city life.
“I love fire! I am all fire! Everything about me is fire! The fire elements not only balance out the water features beautifully but add that air of drama and theatrical appeal to the narrative. The scale ensures it feels cohesive and not obscene,” says a visually excited Mr. Anand!
For the element Earth, they have curated nine exotic marbles, rare and provocative kind of stones from Italy and Brazil, used in a very modern and interesting way in the home design. From the special bar counter to the floors, the stones have been featured in thoughtful ways. From the walls to the ceilings in the six bathrooms, each bathroom has been outfitted with a different stone, including an almost monolithic looking large sink and vanity.
The first glass element is the most important. It is the home with a water feature right at the entrance. An uninterrupted glass goliath with generous proportions and clean lines, it houses three bedrooms, a powder bath and a very spacious living room downstairs, and a master bedroom with a wide attached terrace upstairs.
Level one, designed as slender form design, is a perfect place for an independent and exclusive luxury experience: the master en-suite, outfitted with a dramatic bed as a centerpiece of the room, a private bar, created in fiery onyx brass and black onyx stone, leading up to the bathroom walls, has its own terrace, a spatial area for a unique sense of being both inside and outside. The terrace offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and three artful eye-catching installations.
One of the installations is ‘The All Seeing Eye’ by the artist Nirvaiir Nath. It is a multidimensional contemporary art block which reveals itself as one walks through the kadappa stone pathway towards the living room. Inspired by Cubism, this block creates a beautiful juxtaposition between Zen and the rest of the elements, as it is positioned in front of the grand and lively living room. This spacious living room, creating the main inside-outside design dialogue, is an apt area for family or social gatherings.
A swimming pool on one side and its adjoining water elements on two other sides, essentially make the living room seem like its floating on water, adding to the Zen-like feeling. The team has managed to imbue a luxurious atmosphere in this uniquely-designed living room with a thoughtful selection of lighting features and furniture that reveal Mr. Anand’s taste for art and design.
The sophisticated neutral undertones contrast with a beautiful wall art created by Rachna Toshniwal, and a luxurious continuous onyx flooring, running on the ground floor, to elevate the experience of the home. Mr. Anand gives a mysterious description of the wall art: “This wall art is a mirror textured wall that represents the light and the dark in each of us. Yet it reflects whatever you wish to see in it.”
The spectacular corridor, the backbone of the home, connects the living room to the private spaces. It is adorned with layered mirrors and two clusters of deep red vermillion acrylic boxes of varying heights. This remarkable visual achievement, named ‘Maze of Rubies’, is made of 34 cubes which required four months of work and was commissioned to a glass artisan: Abdeali. “It’s a walkway that adds energy to you at every step!” enthuses Mr. Anand. It was made as per his vision to give the illusion of walking under an infinite cloud of rubies after dusk, akin to being submerged in a sea of red or walking into a very high fashion bar!
For the corridor, Mr. Anand again commissioned Ms. Toshniwal to create the contemporary piece: ‘Boule de feu’ (Fire ball). “The idea here was to carry forward the concept of fire, power and ignition of passion along the length of the almost 80 feet long beautiful corridor with its high ceiling and all glass,” describes Mr. Anand.
The second glass element is a geometrical transparent glass structure at its finest, enveloping the green jade staircase leading to the master bedroom. This architectural wonder, an artful installation in itself, runs around the periphery of the whole staircase, giving you a sense of grandeur as you walk up to level one.
The third glass element is the dining pavilion, a stand-alone cuboid glass structure standing independent of the main structure, with a reflective pool of its own. An island style block, for Mr. Anand it is “the jewel box of the villa, the design heart of this estate”.
The beautiful pavilion is a huge 15 feet glass ‘box’, housing two spotlights: a rare teal colored amazonite dining table, from one of the rarest kinds of interior stones in the world, with bronze elements, and hanging above it is a sculptural, bespoke, chrome-coated, multi-faceted deep red canopy made of steel, evoking the warmth of the fire, but also “the layers and dimensions of ambition, power and glitter that we live in these times” as per Mr. Anand. This art installation, named ‘Supersonic’, was commissioned to a modern sculpting artist ‘Mutation Lab’.
At night the mood of this space changes as a single source of light suspends from this faceted canopy, projecting playful reflections around as it hits the reflective portion of the installation. It is a remarkable visual statement!
The Dining Pavilion is flanked by another piece of modern art - ‘Dimension of You’ - an art installation designed by a local steel artisan. Fabricated out of thin steel sheets, it is almost camouflaged in its settings, as it reflects the structure, the lawn, the foliage around, and forms linear shadows onto the ground.
The Modern Oasis
The glass geometrical shapes define the architecture of the home, while at the same time filtering the space with natural light throughout the day. Though simple in design, the intricacy behind the meaning and vision make it a home with tales to tell. The dichotomy of this project is not lost – it’s a private sanctuary while being absolutely open.
“When you walk through it, it essentially flaunts you in a plethora of multiple reflections. It is like walking through layers and layers of yourself,” Mr. Anand translates the concept behind this impressive home.
As the doors of this starkly modern, Zen, elegant property close, the exceptional visual experience is magically enhanced with night falling slowly. The lights come on transforming the estate into a very provocative one, with a dramatic atmosphere, offering a powerful and complex feeling of being transported to another world.
Veronique Poles is a luxury lifestyle fashion consultant based in Mumbai, with more than 15 years of extensive experience with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Givenchy and Waterman/Gillete Pen Company just to mention a few. Bespoke creations, however, are her first love.