The Good Life

Home is where the ramp is

Four marquee designers come together to create one fashionable residential address

A designer home is a notional term. Does it imply a house styled by a designer or a home replete with designer accouterments? Or, does luxury imply designer creations? With luxury homes becoming the norm in big cities — the Lodha and Trump towers in Mumbai, DLF’s Magnolia, Aralias and, now, Camellias in Gurgaon — homeowner aspirations are constantly on the rise. The Lodhas’ World One boasts of Versace interiors inside what is being touted as the world’s tallest residential tower in Mumbai; Tarun Tahiliani has designed villas in Goa; architect Mohit Gujral’s project in Kasauli features premium cottages; and, of course, homeowners appoint the best-known or, at least, celebrity interior specialists in India (Suzanne Roshan, Raseel Gujral, Gauri Khan) and overseas to fit out the home of their dreams. Even Sabyasachi has designed interiors — for a hotel suite in London — while other renowned fashion designers have offered their inputs to furniture and interior projects on a selective basis.

 Riding on the back of this trend, a Gurgaon residential tower has brought on board four fashion designers to design all its apartments and public areas, making it India’s first fully designer-appointed project in the country. Labelled Cattaro, the 24-storeyed tower owned by Advance India Projects Limited (AIPL) has 84 boutique apartments featuring interiors styled by four marquee names from Indian fashion: Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, and Shantanu & Nikhil. These designers all have varied aesthetic sensibilities, so getting them on the same platform could hardly have been easy for the promoters. And it’s got potential buyers talking, too, for interior design, like fashion, is subjective. Tahiliani has been tasked with designing the project’s public spaces, which include a sky lounge, business centre, a café, a clubhouse and fitness centre, salon, spa and swimming pool, and the entrance lobby and porch, while the other three teams will work on the interiors of the ₹4.5 crore-5.5-crore residences.

Sanjay Sachdeva, executive director, AIPL, sought to decipher the relationship between design, designers and luxury, especially in the context of spaces. “Across industries, luxury has been defined by design; it plays a very obvious role in giving the product and its consumer a visible personality,” he says. Naturally, its reflection in living spaces, where consumers of luxury products put their feet up, “has fast caught up in India, where the passion for fine living and appreciation for art and architecture now go hand-in-hand”. 

In the West too, fashion houses have a history of extending themselves to create furniture and furnishings, and offer bespoke design services. While there are obvious synergies between fashion and interiors, the result can often be overwhelming. The Cattaro team worked around this issue by offering the designers a clean slate on which to experiment within the larger context of visualising a space for contemporary India. 

Sachdeva talks of these apartments as ‘trophy assets’, though they are clearly more than that — a home evoking an emotional response in the Indian mind. If anything, the group has conceived of the apartments as a couture offering rather than a prêt one, with eight duplex apartments and three- or four-bedroom residences set within a landscape of gardens and driveways with fountains and sculptures. The designers will ensure that each apartment is fully finished, though some aspects — such as soft furnishings and some appointments — can be customised to individual requirements. Designer and bespoke in one go — could things get any better?  

Sense and Sensibility

JJ Valaya

As a fashion designer, he tends to be lavish, with a sophisticated palette and love of embellishments. His work embodies contrasts in his dimensions, choice of colours and timelessness.


Shantanu & Nikhil

Their fashion styling is contemporary without being over the top. They take their inspiration from India’s rich cultural heritage and architectural designs and give it a modern outlook.


Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla

 Known for their splendid detailing and neutral colours, their story is about unveiling. As you move from one place to another, there is an element of surprise, complemented with traditional Indian art.


Tarun Tahiliani

 His work is an ode to elegance and his muse is the royalty of a past generation. His public spaces will make use of his passion for art and the grace with which he imbues his models and, now, spaces.

—The author is a Delhi-based writer and curator