Ravi Machani, founder of Svasa Homes, continues with the final instalment of the story of Svasa Homes and how community entrepreneurship can emerge in India in a big way.
This is Part III of a three-part series, The Story of Svasa. Read Part I here. Read Part II here.
From an “Aha!” moment atop a dilapidated building to discovering one’s own heritage, it has been one amazing journey. To put it all together for the modern entrepreneur by creating Svasa Homes – a community for spontaneous giving and taking – has been one of the most important works of my life. And this was just the beginning as the journey continues towards a greater goal and a higher purpose.
My dream for Svasa Homes is to be the first professionally-run family real estate brand of India. If you look at all the successful real estate companies today, they’re family-owned and usually individually-driven proprietorships more or less in their style of operation. Then there are of course the really large public companies too, but they’re very much achieved by an individual. It’s the nature of the industry. Maybe it’s the nature of the business. I don’t know what it is, but that’s how it has always been. So our goal now is to be the first professionally-run family real estate brand created for visionaries and thought leaders of today.
Solopreneurship is the style of entrepreneurship where the entrepreneur does everything singlehandedly while pack entrepreneurship is more collaborative in nature. That means bringing together a bunch of great entrepreneurs that creates a buzz of activity and creates exponential value. We’re trying to turn the tennis game into a soccer game, if you will.
Spaces Designed for Pack Entrepreneurs
So in a lot of ways we’re making Svasa into a kind of sandbox for pack entrepreneurship. When I say pack entrepreneurship, it has several layers of peer learning and several layers of mentorship included in it. It’s not just about living in the same location and being part of the same housing group; we want to build the Svasa community as one where entrepreneurs effortlessly help each other out, where entrepreneurs inspire each other to be their best, and where entrepreneurs collaborate on projects that can change the world. Of course, this community creation won’t happen overnight and as magically as our imaginations work, but we do need to nurture our community members by creating the right environment. This is just a start and we’ve made incredible progress in designing community spaces, to enable our residents to interact, grow together, and encourage sharing resources.
If one looks at how Svasa has been designed as a whole, some distinct design aspects have been included intentionally. We’ve based the design around our age-old traditional courtyard homes, including the public courts and the private courts, with the landscaped courtyard in the centre. In the Praana tower, we have our public courts – the Bodhi library, the Kariya lounge for co-working where you can have your meetings, meet your colleagues and friends, greet them and see them off. In the Dhyana tower we have our private areas, designed only for families and residents, children’s play area, the gymnasium, and the yoga studio. These are spaces restricted for outsiders.
We spent much time designing what I call the ‘we’ spaces. When you buy an apartment, of course you have all your me space, which is your apartment that starts from behind your door. These are your private spaces. But as soon as you step out from the me space, you’re getting into the we space. Generally, we see that a lot of residential projects don’t invest too heavily in the we spaces, because customers are usually asking what portion of the square footage efficiency is the me space. The instinct is to keep your spaces private, and to only pay for what is absolutely yours. But what we’ve done at Svasa Homes challenges this norm. We’ve been very generous with the we spaces. We’ve made 40,000 square feet of common areas, with the Commonhouse (a first-of-its-kind clubhouse) acting as the living room for the community. We created a space where 2 or 3 families can meet and spend quality time with each other, or where you can go and spend time with your own family. The Bodhi library is another example of a space where we encourage the kind of continuous learning needed in order to succeed in business and in life. Exactly the kind of space and resources a business leader, an entrepreneur, or a thought leader needs.
The Hardware, the Software, and Everything in Between
Svasa Homes essentially has three parts to it: the hardware, which is the physical building itself; and the software, which is the team, the events, the classes and facilities. The magic happens when we have the right balance of all three aspects – events, shared learning, and continuous growth. We envisage bringing our community together through pure social and cultural events (arts, dance, music) that bring together all age groups and generations. There are so many categories of learning, within which we have a plethora of opportunities to pick up different kinds of lessons that make you a well-rounded human being. To facilitate this, we plan to offer primary learning experience, applied learning, mentorship and experiential learning at Svasa Homes from some of the world’s best experts in each field. There are some things in life that you can only learn by doing. That’s experiential learning. And then there are some things that you can only learn from older generations. That’s where mentorship comes into play. The idea is to expose the Svasa Homes community to different types of learning on a regular basis.
Designing Svasa for Family Business Excellence
If anyone takes a tour of our Commonhouse areas, they’ll begin to understand how we’ve put so much thought into designing the spaces for family business excellence. Take the Sattva lounge (the largest community space at Svasa Homes for networking and social interactions) for example. Here, families can come together effortlessly, get to know each other, and build genuine connections. It’s only by spending this kind of quality time with each other that the families will be able to build trust and form lasting bonds. This is where hearts meet and mindsets match, and that’s priceless.
Today we are all caught up in a fast-paced world and we’re all trying to keep up at a frantic pace. The lines between office and home are increasingly blurred, particularly in the world we find ourselves in today with Covid being a part of our lives now. The lounges at Svasa serve as an opportunity to ensure that people have a space to slow down and not have to travel long distances to work, play, introspect, learn or interact.
Imagine a home where you can go on retreats with your neighbours, you can participate in forums, engage in carefully-curated experiences, boardroom events, lunch rounds and learning tables. That’s what we’re building at Svasa and that’s the kind of value we can create for our residents.
A New Vision for a New Future
Svasa Homes is so much more than a luxury home. It’s a living and working philosophy set in brick and mortar. Svasa Homes is a sanctuary for entrepreneurs, business owners, and thought leaders who believe in making a higher impact in all aspects of life. There was never a project conceptualised of such scope and magnitude. For the first time, we were taking a new way of life – a life of balance, fulfilment, and productivity. Many thinkers and achievers of our time would love to be part of this. Today, Svasa Homes comprises a unique group of families and individuals living within the same community. What this means is new collaborations, exchange of ideas and inspirations that can literally change the world in days and years to come.