After the industrial revolution, building in major cities became a major point of discussion and controversy. Metropolises like London started to become even bigger and advances in architecture saw buildings grow higher and higher.
Now, however, major cities and popular island destinations all have rigorous laws enforcing strict standards in regards to building, and particularly building upwards. The solution, according to many, is to simply build down.
For the last few years, starting around 2014, the super-rich in places like London, Dublin, and Edinburgh have started following a new trend which has allowed them to create more room in their homes without actually making any changes to their appearance – at least externally.
Inside, however, is a different matter entirely. The trend has seen homeowners apply for new basement permits which have afforded them with the opportunity to build megamansions nearer the centre of the earth.
Previously, basements in major cities were considered nothing more than storage spaces. There were some who did convert their basements into specialised rooms like reading rooms, cinemas, cigar rooms, or even mini bars but those were few and far between and did not have the bespoke quality they do today.
The London phenomenon, in particular, has dubbed the new houses as “icebergs” due to the fact that the majority of the rooms are now located underground. And controversial as this trend might be, it does not show any signs of slowing down.
A journey to the center of your own island resort
The basement trend might be most prominent in places like London but it certainly exists outside the realm of England’s capital. In fact, holiday destinations like Ibiza are now imposing strict restrictions over where new buildings can be placed and how they can be built.
Building mansions of gigantic proportions is a dream for many but it might not always be a viable plan, particularly if restrictions like that continue to spread across other famous holiday destinations too.
As a form of precaution, many of those who own private lots in places like Ibiza has now also decided to build down instead of up. Once someone can get a permit for a basement extension, particularly one as extensive as those required to build things like cinema rooms and infinity pools, the possibilities are practically endless.
Instead of being constricted by design regulations, basement dwellings are mostly limited by imagination. For instance, an above-ground room may not extend upwards of a certain height but that is a non-issue for a room in the basement because it is completely obstructed from view.
In Ibiza, there have already been cases of entire luxury mansions and villas built completely underground. After what basically amounts to a giant crater is created, those villas are built entirely below the line of sight.
As such, the ultra-rich are practically hiding their private homes. Though they are reminiscent of underground bunkers in theory, in practice they are luxurious homes with all the amenities you could possibly conceive, including underground pools.
Luxurious interiors with the tech innovations
When most people hear the word basement, what comes to mind is a storage place at best, a mould-infested trap at worst. The basement extensions of the ultra-rich, however, could not be further from that stereotype.
As many contractors who have now specialised in the creation of bespoke basements can tell you, these extensions almost always hold the latest and greatest in technology. First and foremost, they are brilliantly illuminated and expertly fitted with the latest innovations in air filtration technology and dehumidifiers.
When the house is located on a hill, the basement might still be able to gather some natural light by adding glass windows to the other side. When digging deep, however, this becomes impossible.
Then, smart lighting becomes imperative. This means homeowners are able to control every single room and every part of those rooms, either through a simple app on their phones or through dedicated tablets which are strategically placed for convenience.
There are also entire companies whose sole purpose is to create specialised cinema rooms in basements. These take advantage of the fact that there is little to no natural light obscuring the projected image which makes for a fascinating and top-quality experience.
The future of digging down
Since many of these new luxurious basements are simple extensions, they often add rooms that did not previously exist in the house. For instance, bedrooms are usually still located on the ground level or above so the underground rooms are often dedicated to specific purposes.
Regardless of what that purpose might be, however, smart technology can transform their use and has already offered dozens of ways of doing so. Apart from smart lighting, other IoT solutions can breathe new life into an otherwise lifeless room.
Lumes, for instance, is a smart wall that reacts to multiple stimuli like time, the weather, movement, and touch. Outfitting a basement wall with such a technology can easily make you forget that you are located below ground, particularly when coupled with other bespoke furniture.
Smart home solutions like Amazon Echo and Google Home can also be powerful tools here. The combination of speakers and digital assistants is a compliment to any home but is of special practicality in basement rooms where interaction with the world above may otherwise be more limited.