The rise of socially conscious stakeholders in luxury real estate has shifted the definition of aspirational living from the visibly extravagant to a unique brand of inventive, culturally relevant and thoughtful design. This trend is increasingly prominent in contemporary architecture in India.
A growing niche of forward-thinking developers, architects and home-owners are disavowing the idea of blinding opulence like imported materials, imposing structural features and manicured gardens. This new experimental and progressive canon of work prioritizes the use of local materials and artisans in reimagined ways. For instance, placing Mangalorean-fired red bricks in a sculptural format to create textured, geometric walls or experimenting with the process of pouring concrete floors to create inlaid accents of bronze and glass.
Indigenous materials and processes are augmented to create spaces that are striking yet thoughtful of both the environment and local communities. This innovation tests the more noble tenets of luxury craftsmanship and expertise while creating an entirely fresh format of aspirational living.
Defined by social and environmental sensitivity, these immersive and bespoke spaces draw from historically influential green architects like Renzo Piano, Frank Lloyd Wright and Geoffrey Bawa. Each of these great minds was among the first to seek harmony between human development and the surrounding landscape.
Renzo Piano’s acclaimed building – The California Academy of Science in San Francisco includes a 2.5-acre green ‘living’ roof that counteracts the greenhouse effect and gathers 2 million gallons of rainwater each year. Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture is epitomized by the renowned Fallingwater residence, which artfully synergizes the contours and material palette of a natural waterfall. Geoffrey Bawa’s tropical modernism, the emphasis on pulling the outdoors, indoors and vice versa, is an especially relevant inspiration for architecture in India’s coastal belts.
Their work is memorable not only for its far-reaching ingenuity but for marking the salient recognition that aspirational developments can afford the privilege of rapid progress. They can pioneer experimentation, spur innovation and influence the future of design.
Their work, much like the emerging ideas in India’s luxury real estate market, was made possible by an ongoing alliance between developers, architects, designers, and the end consumer. This joint coalition is essential in establishing best practices that will make eco-conscious features like rainwater harvesting roofs, solar panels and micro-climate controls a common fixture in more residences, commercial structures, and public spaces.
A discerning buyer has always had the choice to exclusively possess a rare and exceptional home defined by all the sheen, conventional glamour of imported accents and plush fabrics. Today, a highly informed, discerning buyer can choose a residence inherently structured to enable conscious living. These homes feature indigenous plants in the garden. They employ recycled rainwater for landscaping. They also include internal courtyards designed to avoid cutting down trees while channelling natural light to limit energy costs.
At the root of this ongoing shift from conventional to conscious luxury is an important question Is aspirational living defined by expense or experience? Increasingly, we find the latter to be true. The art of crafting bespoke experiences observes the way humans interact with the space around them. As those interactions take accountability for the environment and communities affected by development, the spaces themselves begin to transform.
We stand at crossroads, we can, as a market of diverse stakeholders – buyers, architects, designers, developers, writers, and activists join the growing contingency of forward-thinking minds that will shape India’s own signature of conscious and aspirational architecture. As conversations of social and environmental sustainability grow louder in every sector, the industry marks the cornerstone of human development must lead the dialogue towards strategic and widespread change.