News - Interview with Abhishek Lodha
YOO speaks to Managing Director of Lodha Group Abhishek Lodha, developer of Lodha Evoq, Mumbai about the value of branded developments.
Q: What do you think are the main attraction of branded developments for customers?
There are two significant benefits for the consumer. The first is an exclusivity that comes from the limited stock available and this creates a badge value from living in the branded residence. The second benefit is the belief that brands focus heavily on design and execution so the end quality will be high.
Q: What aspects of the design appeal to the luxury consumer?
Different designers have different strengths so the question is a little difficult to answer. I’m not sure that there is a singular element that is more important than others. It comes down to the quality of the design and if it meets the expectations that comes from being a quality brand.
Q: What are signature aspects of public space in a branded development? Is there anything special that appeals to people?
Public areas have a lot of prominence in branded developments – designers focus a lot of time and energy on things like lobbies, libraries and pools, so they become a real feature for the residents. These tend to be common features in branded developments that are done well, with a lot of thought.
Q: What is it about living in a skyscraper that people like?
Coming from Mumbai, I’m not sure if it’s a matter of choice – the limited availability of land makes skyscrapers a necessity rather than a choice as it is the only realistic mode of urban living. After making this choice, you need to make up for the fact that you are not living in a landed property by ensuring the living space is good, there is privacy and your views are good. Most important is the feeling of community – you are not isolated in a skyscraper; you are interacting with your neighbors in the building.
Q: Are there certain aspects of a community that you get in a branded development that you don’t get elsewhere?
I think branded residences tend to be polarizing as they have a strong statement to make and they go out and pitch themselves in a particular direction and a particular manner. For example, an apartment by Armani appeals to a certain type of classical, evolved and older buyer than one by Stark which might appeal to someone more experimental. Each designer has their own USPs. This can lead to a group of quite like-minded people and so the community can be less diverse than in non-branded developments.
Q: What aspects of sustainability do skyscrapers help with?
Skyscrapers tend to consume a higher level of energy per person on account of the vertical transportation requirements. On the other hand, because of the density of people’s living conditions, they can ensure better consumption of things like water through recycling systems and also there is a good opportunity for use of solar or even wind power due to the high-tech nature of some developments.
Q: How important are gardens and green space when designing developments?
I think people have a very strong inherent connection with the ground and with green space. People prefer developments with large open spaces, whether they are on the ground or a sky garden.
Q: What are the challenges of providing this space? Will a sky garden ever be a replacement for grounded green space?
A sky garden will never feel like you are on the ground but it can provide a space for social activity and tranquility just as a garden would. There are of course technical challenges with sky gardens – for example the temperature at a certain height falls too low for growth of certain plants and trees and can impact on the user’s experience. On the other hand, the views available from sky gardens could never be afforded by a traditional garden.
Q: Do you think demand for prime property will continue to rise in your home market?
We believe that good quality property that is well designed and maintained will continue to be in increasing demand in India.
Q: What are the main challenges facing the property market over the next 12 months?
Obviously there is a global softening of the economy and there is always the question of how the Indian economy will do in this context? There is a sense that construction is generally challenging and the supply chain is not as important as in the West.