Cover Story


September 2017
Since 1984, Ambuja Neotia Group
The notion of glocalisation entails a radical change in perspective - it points to the interconnectedness of the global and local,' says Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group. 'Real estate, however, has historically been viewed as a local phenomenon. By destabilising spatial and temporal boundaries, glocalisation leads to a reconsideration of modernity. To explore the interplay among glocalisation, space and modernity, I find the thematisation of modernity is shaped by the particular historical context.'

Having delivered projects in the residential, retail, commercial, hospitality, education and healthcare segments, Kolkata-based Ambuja Neotia Group prides itself in making a difference to the way people live. The group's hotels, resorts, villas, clubs, banquets and standalone eating outlets have made a significant mark on the hospitality sector. Its healthcare facilities include specialty hospitals with a special ward for the underprivileged. The group operates in Kolkata, Haldia, Burdwan, Patna, Raipur, Khanna and Amritsar.

To explain, Neotia draws upon two of the group's projects at Raichak (near Kolkata). At Ffort Raichak, he says the idea of building a hotel in the design of a fort led to sourcing old bricks to make the fort look realistic and weaving a story to underscore the splendour of a British-era citadel. The long search for rare, old and narrow bricks led the firm to the Central Business District, where the erstwhile Imperial Bank (now State Bank of India) stood in an old mansion. It was undergoing demolition to give way to a modern headquarter. The bricks from this 200-year-old relic were sourced to clad Ffort Raichak. And speaking on Ganga Kutir Resort, created by well-known Sri Lankan architect Channa Daswatte, Neotia says the design drew inspiration from a small village or ashram community. The material inspiration came from Gangetic Bengal - terracotta tiles, timber and plaster. The property symbolises a marriage between local art and Sri Lankan architectural sensibility. For example, the dining room ceiling has batik art in Bengal jute by the craftswomen of the Matale Heritage Centre from Sri Lanka.

Since 1986, Brigade Group
'Citing the example of Brigade Orchards, a smart township in Bengaluru that has used the concept of GLOCAL, MR Jaishankar, Chairman and Managing Director, Brigade Group, says, 'We have partnered with international master planners and designers such as NBBJ, Seattle, who are the master planners of the smart township, and a host of operating partners like Age Ventures India (A HelpAge India company) for running the senior living facility, Brigade Hospitality for managing the Signature Club Resort, etc. The homes at Brigade Orchards are built with eco-friendly precast concrete technology that result in better quality and shorter time. We set up our own plant at site, hired experts from across the world to run the plant and use the technology. In fact, Brigade is the first builder in Bengaluru to set up its own plant at site.'

Bengaluru-based Brigade Group is one of India's leading developers with three decades of experience in building positive experiences and transforming the skyline of its operational cities. Its portfolio includes apartments, villas, retirement homes, integrated lifestyle enclaves, Grade-A commercial properties, software and IT parks, SEZs, malls, five-star hotels, recreational clubs and convention centres. The group has completed over 200 buildings amounting to over 35 million sq ft across many domains.

Brigade Orchards appreciates the regional context and heritage, wherein Indian mythological forms of Vayu (air), Jal (water), Prithvi (earth), and Agni (fire) have inspired an ecological approach for planning and urban design process. According to Jaishankar, the township is destined to significantly enhance the quality of life for the people of Devanahalli. The Arts Village at Brigade Orchards is envisioned to provide a platform for local artists (painting, sculpting, fabric, pottery, lithography, etching, graphic studio, etc) to practise and refine their skills, along with displaying and selling their products in an inspirational setting.

Since 1990, Godrej Properties
'At Godrej, we constantly re-imagine our homes in today's 'glocal' context by attempting to celebrate the best of Indian design and culture along with cutting-edge global technology and thinking,' says Pirojsha Godrej, Executive Chairman, Godrej Properties. 'We typically do this by creating a unique design narrative that brings the creative vision to life, is manifested in the brand proposition, and is crafted in every detail of the final product. Each project narrative also encompasses unique design and cultural cues from the city it sits in to set it apart. Apart from aesthetic sensibilities, climatic response and sustainability play a critical role in façade treatment, material selection and interior finishes.'

Mumbai-based Godrej Properties brings the Godrej Group philosophy of innovation, sustainability and excellence to the real-estate industry. Each development combines a 120-year legacy of excellence and trust with a commitment to cutting-edge design and technology. It is currently developing residential, commercial and township projects spread across approximately 13.5 million sq m (138 million sq ft) in 12 cities.

Citing a recent example of the company's 'glocal' design approach in its flagship project The Trees, Godrej says that in a development strategy more commonly seen in the West, the company has saved, refurbished and, thereby, celebrated heritage industrial buildings in what became its first adaptive reuse project. The public realm is designed to the best international standards, where amenities are thoughtfully woven to foster a vibrant community that celebrates the industrial history of Mumbai.

Since 1956, K Raheja Corp
'At K Raheja Corp, we extensively map the industry, both globally as well as in India, for best practices, carefully selecting, tailor-making and then internalising what works best for our company and clients. This is done across functions ranging from design to sourcing and so on,' says Kishore Bhatija, Managing Director, Real-Estate Development, K Raheja Corp. 'For us, it is about the perfect balance and amalgamation of our own local expertise and understanding of the market, emerging trends with cherry-picked practices that together give us a winning concoction.'

Mumbai-based K Raheja Corp is a success story spanning six decades; today, it stands as one of India's leading real estate conglomerates, having pioneered the concepts of self-contained townships and commercial business districts in the country. With operations in the west and south of India, the company offers multiple formats ranging from self-contained luxurious residential offerings, to state-of-the-art business parks, retail offerings, malls, and successful extensions in the hospitality sector too.

According to Bhatija, in addition to best practices, the company understands and is fully committed to the green cause. Hence, whether it is green homes or workspaces, it delivers best-in-class quality, which contributes to functionality and sustainability; once again, picking best practices and applying them to the markets it operates in.

Since 2007, L&T Realty
'Global concerns that are relevant to the business environment of L&T Realty, such as climate change, security of citizens, pollution and Internet security to name a few, play a vital role in the manner we respond,' says Shrikant Joshi, CEO and Managing Director, L&T Realty.

'Our interventions and responses to business problems are intertwined with these global concerns. True to its reputation of being an engineering conglomerate, L&T chooses to respond with enthusiasm in addressing global issues and adopting global standards without diluting the need to address immediate local concerns. Due appreciation of the cultural diversity of the country and the needs of the customer are addressed in our designs.'

Mumbai-based L&T Realty has an impressive presence across western and southern India through its residential, commercial and retail projects. The company is committed to creating landmarks of excellence, which is reflected in all its projects, from business parks to India's largest transit-oriented development and coveted residential complexes.

According to Joshi, the company takes pride in local heritage, culture and diversity. As he says, the principal consultants appointed by the company are global firms who are given a mandate to bring in the latest international trends in design and response to environmental issues. Although international in flavour, these designs follow the requirement of Indian society, in terms of the internal layouts of apartments and so on. The company has responded to the requirements of new urbanism with innovative concepts of walk to work and Transit Oriented Development. It has adopted global design standards for modern-day offices, which allows people to encompass a wider spectrum of their lives through interesting spaces created for interaction, thereby celebrating the spirit of collective achievement . Environmentally, it reduces any impact of intervention by ensuring green building certification for projects. Further, L&T Realty keeps up to global standards of digitisation with its initiatives in the field of BIM, smart security systems, building automation, Internet of Things, etc, in all projects.

Since 1984, Mahindra Lifespace Developers
'We believe the Indian real estate and infrastructure sector has significant potential to drive transformative national growth that is socially inclusive, economically sustainable and ecologically responsible,' says Anita Arjundas, Managing Director, Mahindra Lifespace Developers. 'Our 'glocal' or future-ready approach to sustainable urbanisation, therefore, manifests itself in our choice of business segments, our products and services, and by way of the parameters we use to evaluate our overall socio-economic and environmental impact. Preservation of natural capital is one of our core focus areas, and we are continually evaluating ways to conserve scarce natural resources, keeping in mind the local context.'

Mahindra Lifespace Developers is a pioneer in sustainable urban development in India, through the creation of residential and integrated large-format developments across multiple Indian cities. As of June 30, 2017, the company's residential and commercial development footprint includes 1.31 million sq m of completed projects and 0.81 million sq m of ongoing and forthcoming projects. It also enables access to quality housing at affordable prices via its brand 'Happinest'.

Believing in the need for holistic urban solutions that can meet India's burgeoning housing and infrastructure needs, the company's offerings span affordable housing for the emerging Indian middle class, mid-premium residential projects, industrial townships and integrated business cities. Arjundas says that the firm is also keenly aware of the changing needs of customers, especially in the context of local, cultural nuances, as well as the global aspirations of young, urban India. According to her, the firm is, therefore, focused on delivering insight-driven, customer-centric solutions such as flexi-homes (homes that are adaptable according to the needs of the user) and value-added services at the time of occupancy.

Since 1998, Oberoi Realty
'For over three decades, we, at Oberoi Realty, have been the frontrunners in the real estate sector, setting benchmarks in design, construction quality and functional aesthetics, in all our projects,' says Vikas Oberoi, Chairman and Managing Director, Oberoi Realty. 'With a vision to offer the best of global trends to our customers, we partner with the best local and international consultants who bring their rich experience and knowledge to the table. These consultants help us to keep pace with the latest trends in design, construction methods and materials.'

Mumbai-based Oberoi Realty is one of India's leading real estate development companies. It is an established brand with an impeccable track record. Its forte lies in developing innovative projects through its emphasis on contemporary architecture, strong project execution and quality construction. It aims to build aspirational developments for its customers, with distinctive designs, functional aesthetics and good quality finishes. While its primary focus is on residential projects, it has made its presence felt across a diversified portfolio by introducing Oberoi Mall, The Westin Mumbai Garden City and the Oberoi International School respectively, to Mumbai.

As Oberoi says, the company follows an outsourcing model where it combines its local expertise and understanding of the customer and the design and execution expertise of work with the best-in-class contractors. To supervise these contractors, it has an in-house project management team that uses latest project management tools and adopts best practices to deliver its projects the way it envisages them. The company also has a team of in-house architects, designers and engineers to consistently monitor the contractors and ensure that both quality and technical specifications are met as per Oberoi Realty's standards.

Since 1969, The Wadhwa Group
'We, at the Wadhwa Group, bring with us a legacy of over 48 years of trust, quality, and design sensibility that runs through all of our properties,' says Navin Makhija, Managing Director, The Wadhwa Group. 'As one of Mumbai's leading real-estate developers, the values and beliefs of our promoter Vijay Wadhwa are visible in each aspect of our business, right through location selection, architecture, landscaping and product design. Our commitment to quality and design has seen us earn recognition and several awards over the years from various industry bodies. One of the most recent was the visit by the Chinese delegation led by renowned international architecture firm James Law Cybertecture to study the technology incorporated in The Capital, a marquee building by The Wadhwa Group at BKC. This is an eco-friendly building, enabled with smart features.'

Mumbai-based The Wadhwa Group carries a rich legacy built on the trust and belief of customers and stakeholders. The group is one of Mumbai's leading real estate companies, and is currently developing residential, commercial and township projects spread across approximately 1.4 million sq m (15 million sq ft). The organisation is reputed for its strong planning, design innovation, and timely completion of projects, which gives it an edge over competitors. Today, the group's customers include over 20,000 happy families and over 100 MNC corporate tenants.

Wadhwa says that every space is thoughtfully designed, incorporating the group's proprietary design philosophy of 'VentiLit', which lays great emphasis on the elements of light, height and air. All projects are generously planned and have an enviable floor-to-ceiling height, lending a touch of expanse to the property, which is further enhanced by cross-ventilation and ample sunlight pervading every residence. Most of the group's projects are in line with the sun's path and wind trajectory.