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For HNWIs ‘privacy matters’ for their perfect abode

Industry experts share how they are catering to their high-profile clientele’s desire for privacy, luxury, and exclusivity through innovative design strategies

For HNWIs ‘privacy matters’ for their perfect abode

When it comes to luxury living, privacy is often considered the ultimate indulgence, and the ultra-rich increasingly prefer that their homes be understated from the outside, with architecture and exteriors that are almost non-descript, while the true luxury lies within. Which brings forth the question, how can interior designers, especially those catering to high-profile clientele, provide the seclusion and solitude these individuals crave without completely disconnecting them from the outside world?

“Privacy is of utmost importance to discerning clientele, particularly in societies where it is held in high regard, such as the GCC. To cater to such needs, interior designers are seamlessly integrating features such as hidden entrances or sophisticated technologies like automated privacy screens or smart glass. A prime example is the exquisite townhouse enclaves within Msheireb Downtown Doha, where private entrances are shielded from prying eyes by strategically placed courtyards,” shares Shaikha Al-Sulaiti, Senior Design Manager, Doha Design District.

She continues, “In Msheireb Downtown, we have mindfully positioned windows throughout our domestic developments to allow for more privacy. Additionally, we have incorporated elegant mashrabiya screens that not only elevate the aesthetics of the space, but also create a luxurious sense of seclusion.”

Pushing the boundaries

In the extraordinary world of super-prime homes, striking the perfect balance between exclusivity and impeccable functionality is being accomplished through smart design strategies.

“Clients are moving away from brand-monogrammed pieces toward understated, well-crafted items that celebrate craftsmanship. When we start work on high-end residences, outdoor living is always a top priority—whether it is a three-storey penthouse or a six-bedroom apartment. We seamlessly weave in elements of nature, from majestic olive trees to earthy colour schemes and lavish textures, to cultivate a sense of privacy and exclusivity within our interior designs,” explains Pallavi Dean, Founder and Creative Director of Roar, an architecture and interior design studio based in Dubai.

When designing mega mansions, Dean prioritises the provision of multiple ingress and egress options. Through carefully curated furniture placements, soundproof walls, and artful landscaping, the team skilfully divides living areas. “Functionality meets exclusivity in our bespoke designs, with lavish amenities such as infrared sauna-equipped spas, serene yoga sanctuaries, opulent beauty parlours, and state-of-the-art pilates studios seamlessly integrated into the architecture. Wellness is paramount in our vision, and thus, personal trainers and beauty experts regularly grace the premises. Our residences are thoughtfully curated to cater to these exquisite services, creating opulent sanctuaries within the very confines of one’s home.”

High-end clientele are seeking bespoke spaces that reflect their individual tastes and opulent lifestyles. As a result, numerous ultra-luxury developments offer homeowners the privilege of having their own ‘private garages’, allowing them to effortlessly park their prized vehicles within their personal sky garages accessed via a dedicated elevator. Additionally, residents have access to a variety of premium services such as private chauffeurs, personal bodyguards, and dedicated concierge services to cater to their every need.

“Achieving a harmonious balance between exclusivity and sociability demands a sophisticated approach. One elegant solution is incorporating architectural elements such as sliding panels, movable walls, and screens to enable fluid reconfigurations of living areas,” says Al-Sulaiti.

She continues, “In Msheireb Downtown, this principle is exemplified by the meticulous segregation of public zones, notably the grand majlis and central dining room, from the private quarters of the residence. Upon entering the townhouse, one is presented with two distinct pathways: one leading to the public zone, and the other to the private zone, which reduces the chances of residents being unintentionally seen. Bedrooms and family living areas are strategically nestled on the upper levels, safeguarding the homeowner’s privacy. The soaring ceiling and airy layout evoke a sense of expansiveness, while the traditional Islamic-inspired central courtyard offers seclusion and doubles as a tranquil garden or communal gathering space for the discerning family.”

Blurring the lines

Building spaces that inspire both privacy and tranquillity is a delicate balance that goes beyond physical separation. To create an atmosphere of serenity and harmony within a space, the interplay of elements such as lighting, acoustics, and spatial arrangement is paramount. Through the thoughtful incorporation of natural materials, calming hues, and strategically positioned greenery, one can craft intimate sanctuaries that exude a sense of tranquil seclusion. Furthermore, the strategic placement of sculptural pieces, be it through exquisite furnishings, art pieces, or ornamental objects, can serve as elegant partitions to enhance the feeling of privacy and exclusivity.

“We balance privacy with openness by leveraging the abundant sunlight and warm climate to the residents’ advantage. This involves incorporating innovative features such as automated canopies, retractable glass walls and blinds, which in turn allow the residents to control natural airflow, lighting, and temperature, while also ensuring privacy,” says Ellen Søhoel, Founder, XBD Collective.

Søhoel adds, “Considering the region’s inclination towards luxury and craftsmanship, natural materials like marble, onyx, and brass are often favoured for crafting bespoke interiors. These materials, valued for their solidity and durability, effectively contribute to creating a sense of seclusion and privacy within the space. Additionally, thoughtfully designed lighting systems, including custom chandeliers and pendant lights play a significant role in enhancing privacy by allowing control over the mood and atmosphere of a given space. The strategic use of textured or frosted glass also ensures the passage of natural light, creating an open and airy environment without compromising on privacy.”

Striking a balance between embracing a lavish lifestyle and maintaining a sense of security and tranquillity at home has long been a priority for the ultra-wealthy. To achieve this, designers recommend using luxurious materials like silk or velvet for draperies or upholstery to convey opulence and offer privacy when closed. Textured glass partitions and decorative screens are also suggested as elegant solutions for dividing spaces while preserving natural light. Incorporating rich woods, marble, or metallic accents into the décor not only adds warmth and sophistication but also ensures privacy through their substantial presence.

The road ahead

Creating luxurious private spaces for high-end clientele involves navigating a fine line between crafting an exclusive ambience while also maintaining practicality and functionality. “In the UAE particularly, designers face the task of maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels within the home, while also prioritising privacy and energy efficiency. To overcome these hurdles, designers must utilise strategies such as implementing natural ventilation techniques, utilising strategic shading solutions, and selecting materials that minimise heat retention and moisture accumulation,” explains Søhoel.

In the glistering world of opulent interior design, the marriage of sustainability and eco-conscious design principles is essential to exude a sense of privacy. Hence, designers must focus on selecting materials and finishes that have a minimal environmental footprint.

“Incorporating reclaimed wood, recycled glass, and sustainable textiles not only adds a touch of opulence but also aligns with eco-conscious values. At Msheireb Downtown Doha, passive design elements such as strategically positioned windows for natural ventilation and daylighting have been seamlessly integrated to reduce the reliance on artificial lighting and HVAC systems. Additionally, biophilic design principles, emphasising the harmony between humans and nature, have been incorporated. The inclusion of living walls, indoor gardens, and natural materials enhances privacy, tranquillity, and overall well-being. Looking ahead, the advancement of AI promises to further enhance the smart home system, ensuring the utmost security and comfort for residents,” notes Al-Sulaiti.

Affluent property owners not only desire elegance, but also crave serenity and the safeguarding of their personal sanctuary. As a result, experts believe that true luxury transcends mere opulence; it lies in meticulous attention to detail and the seamless integration of elements that elevate the overall ambience. By incorporating sumptuous textures, bold statement pieces, and artful lighting, and by embracing materials like natural stone and marble, one can elevate the aesthetic appeal of their surroundings and nurture an environment that exudes both sophistication and well-being.