The Fairest of Them All


Luxury today is not just about lighting or a piece of furniture or a faucet. It's about telling a story and selling a concept

In a south Delhi farmhouse, the owner wakes up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, let's say. He doesn't turn on the lights, but when his feet touch the floor, the 2ftx2ft tile lights up. Each step allows another tile to light up while the previous one "switches off". Proximity sensors with LEDs incorporated into tiles are just one of the ingenious, expensive technologies available in India. A hi-tech lighting system linked to ultra-sensitive pressure pads is now one of the many such systems adding lustre to the lights in your house, never mind the cost. Today's demand, and its not just restricted to the billionaire club, is to do with individuality and exclusivity.

"Technology has given luxury a new spin. You have sensors to turn on the lights and the exhaust in your bathroom, to the precision of the light going off 30 seconds after you leave and the exhaust, a minute later. I have clients who are movie buffs and you can extract the movie of choice from the 200-odd movies stored in your computer and play them across the five TV screens in your house. Each room has the luxury of watching a different film. LEDs too are being used in a huge way, not for wall lights just yet but for ceiling lights so that you task light more than provide ambient light. And all this is possible because you have support systems in place," says Suniil Philip, design director, PSP Architects, Chennai.

So while crystal-dripping chandeliers grace homes, and red hot international designers like Tom Dixon and Karim Rashid lend their finesse to interior products, one sees an amoebic growth of specialised luxury stores opening up in cities other than Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai or Delhi. Luxury, despite the downturn, is finding a niche from Ludhiana to Chandigarh and Indore to Kochi. vis a vis, a Delhi-based lighting boutique has introduced international design trends and products designed by world renowned professionals, costing over a lakh. Says Amit Gupta, managing director, "Luxury is not only restricted to what you flaunt, with the best of fashion, watches, jewellery and cars, but it's what you live with. Self actualisation is the name of the game and what better place to start than your own house. The Indian audience is well travelled, design discerning, well read and well exposed. Therefore, lighting has become aspirational, adding another layer to the luxury interior design world."

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