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Tour the Starck-designed yoopune homes
How jealous is Mumbai? Pune is to get 228 Philippe Starck designer apartments by 2014
Designer Philippe Starck's vision for yoopune, a one-of-a-kind residential project in Mumbai's satellite city, is looking very slick and we have a photo tour to prove it.
With more than two hundred unique ‘yoo inspired by Starck’ designer apartments, spread over six towers, on 17 acres overlooking an historic rain forest, property entrepreneur John Hitchcox and local developer Panchshil Realty hope to "redefine the way India looks at stylish, modern living."
“I am delighted that we have had the opportunity to design a wonderful development in multi-faceted Pune; a vibrant place and ideal location for a yoo project. yoopune is the embodiment of yoo inspired by Starck; which is about great design that ultimately helps people to live better,” says Hitchox.
Move to Pune, it's all about yoo there
Credited with bringing Manhattan-style loft living to London in the early 1990s, Hitchcox set up yoo about 10 years ago, with venerated designer Philippe Starck and the two iconoclasts decided to call it yoo because, well, it's all about you.
Located at Koregaon Park Annexe, yoopune is being built by award-winning landscape architect Bill Bensley. Some 228 apartments in six towers are for sale, and buyers have the option to choose from either of two design palettes, classic and nature. Yoopune will include a Six Senses spa, as well as tennis courts, a tea lounge, swimming pools and a cigar room.
It's easy to assume yoo came looking for India, when the interesting backstory is actually that Sagar Chordia, strategic director at Panchshil Realty, was in a cab in Israel when he passed yoo Tel Aviv. Chordia says, "I saw two unique buildings ... fantastic architecture, so I went in and they told me it was a Hitchcox project."
"John's very lively," Chordia says of Hitchcox. "He understands design but also a developer's mentality and what kind of return he expects. They don't just charge a fee, they make sure the value goes up."
Chordia says they've already had a pre-sale in October last year, of 25 apartments at Rs 15,000 a square foot before yoopune's official launch took place in December. By March 31 this year they expect to sell 25 more apartments at the same rate per square foot.
Hitchcox feels strongly about India. "It's an exciting place and fascinating to watch the changes," he says. "For so long you were exporting from here to the West and now the West is coming back here. Our first few projects here are high end, but our philosophy is to add value where we can by improving the quality of design, layout and thought. I think there's a real appetite for what we do here."
It's about building a sense of community, Hitchcox says
"Philippe calls it a tribe. We create a sense of a village in an urban environment. He and I talked about the world of real estate development. You had big levels of urbanization, massive urban migration and fundamental social shifts ..."
But the thing Hitchcox waxes most eloquent about is the importance of home and how the function of home has changed over time. As society gets increasingly fragmented, the home is the one place people turn to for comfort.
Says Hitchcox, "Home is a place of nourishment. It's now a place for work, love, family. It's for your own internal security, your confidence. For most people, their home is their biggest purchase."
So are you a potential yoopune customer?
The company's research says clients tend to be a mix of aspirational types and those who really want a home to come home to.
Ask Hitchcox, he says his customers tend to be "ambitious, enterprising, entrepreneurial and creative."
Sounds exactly like Mumbai, come to think of it. But the larger question is, is Pune Mumbai's future?
This week, European luxury fashion house Hermès announced their first store on India's west coast to be in Pune, followed by Mumbai in March 2011.
Bertrand Michaud, managing director, Hermès India, says, “Pune is a city that reflects the brand’s goals -- to explore, surprise and offer exclusive items. We are happy to be in Pune.”
Are we getting a glimpse into the future that's near? By 2014, when yoopune is expected to be complete, Pune could be greener, roomier, trendier and therefore a whole lot more luxurious than Mumbai.