Developer meets designer
What is a dream home? Not the best location in town and the biggest floor plates on offer. But a dream home is one that helps user create aspace as stylishly as possible without having to invest too much time.
At least for this genre of “time poor money rich” individuals who “want to have the cake and eat it too,” as a spokesperson from DLF puts it, “Of course at an added cost. What the customer gets is a fully furnished unit with furnishing, furniture, fit outs, lights, gizmos and gadgets and home décor and the works. The homebuyer can just move in with clothes and start living.”
So far, designers and architects were roped in to do up the façade, common areas, and the building exterior leaving aside the task of designing home interiors to individuals. However today developers are providing the customer with an option of designing interiors of individual units. Developers are tying up with well-known names in interior design industry who fill in the gapbetweenarawapartment and a liveable one, besides lending their stamp of ‘aunthenticated’ designing.
Take the case of DLF Crest by DLF5 at Park Drive, Gurugram, which has three and four bedroom apartments, with private decks.
The highlight of the project is the four templates of design they have in different styles by four designers. There are four styles of apartments by designers namely Sarita Handa, Elle Decor, Apartment9 run by Mayank and Anuja and Iqrup and Ritz.
In a Sarita Handa designed apartment, every room comes in a different theme - the safari in den, botanicals in guest bedroom, French in master bedroom, Moroccan in the third bedroom et al.
She says that while designing the unit, she was aspiring to create spaces that are open and inviting, spacious and airy and essentially, a visual treat. There are over-scaled wall mirror, “worn” leather furniture, fine embroidered details on the highlighted decorative accessories like pillows, curtains, occasional chairs!
Talk about what customers want today, Handa says it’s most important to understand how people live today- “Life is very busy and fast tracked; people are on the move and have access to world-wide trends. The home needs to reflect this in combination with easy comfort and beautiful, useful design. The common spaces of the home like living room, dining room, outdoor balconies/terraces transition into each other as opposed to being separate entities. We have kept this vibe in mindandthecustomers love that!”
How much of a premium are they charging the customer? The DLF Spokesperson says that depending upon the design template that the customer chooses, it canrangeanywherefromRs60 lakhs to Rs 1 crore.
The spokesperson says their target audience is varied. It’s not just about the NRIs anymore. The Indian customers are well travelled and well aware of what they want their spaces to look like. With lives getting busier and people being more aware of what the trends are and what their ordinal favourites are, we believe that our customer today is someone who is in connect with their aesthetics and is looking to channel the same in their space.”
Other developers such as Harsh Bansal, Unity Group are also bringing on board designers for doing interiors of apartments. “We have committed about 10% of the total residences to brand Versace Home and for the rest, we are tying up with leading names in the Indian design industry for doing the interiors.”
How open is the Indian customer to such concepts and what has been the experience in the past?
An industry insider reveals how the projects launched by AIPL which roped in leading names from design industry or even FTV homes went flat. Real estate consultant Ramesh Menon who does transactions in hi end homes especially farmhouses, shares an anecdote where a top designer was enrolled for a farmhouse project by a developer and he quoted a fee of Rs 2 crore only to find no takers. Menon says – “I am not sure if the Indian customer finds value in the huge premium?”
Social scientist Anushka Chaddha aptly sums up the scenario saying – “Ultimately home is a space ruled by the diktat of the lady of the house andshegenerally does not take anyone else’ diktat. The man has broad ideas about what this space should look like, but it’s the woman who is the micro-planner and the macro-executor. Perhaps home is too personalized a space and it becomes intrusive to have someone else do it for you, that too if its replica is available right next door. However, it maynotmatter that much to a man, whose task is restricted to mainly issuing the cheque, and whether it’s in the name of wife or designer, its inconsequential. Albeit if it makes too big a hole in the pocket, it matters to himaswell.”
DEPENDING ON THE TEMPLATE CHOSEN BY THE CUSTOMER, SUCH HOUSES CAN RANGE FROM RS 60 LAKHS TO RS 1 CRORE