Villa Valencia is the first U.S. residential condominium development to provide natural wellness technology solutions for every unit.
BY GEORGE MCCLURE
DEVELOPED BY RISHI KAPOOR of Location Ventures and designed by Hamed Rodriguez of Hamed Rodriguez Architects, Villa Valencia features wellness technology provided by Jan Vitrofsky of HEDsouth that includes Lutron/Ketra lighting and the pioneering Delos DARWIN system consisting of clean air and purified water methodologies among other health-related attributes.
Located in Coral Gables, the building’s 39 estate-sized residences range from three to six bedrooms and offer from 2,616 to 6,263 square feet, with finishes selected to bring contemporary style and timeless craftsmanship together with technology into perfect harmony.
Here is an excerpt from an article in the upcoming Spring 2021 issue of Technology Designer Magazine in which I spoke with the visionaries behind this incredible project.
George: Tell us a little about Location Ventures.
Rishi: We are a Coral Gables based real estate development and investment company. We have four divisions that focus on high-end single family, luxury, wellness condominiums and multi-family rentals. And then we have a co-live, co-work and wellness company by the name of Urbin, that provides acceptable price points for people to live and work inside of core sub-markets. Our three pillars are nature, wellness and technology. So I think it’s a great conversation that we’re having where we really look at pushing the envelope and being a thought-leader on the technology side and how we integrate that into our real estate.
When we started the company six years ago we were always trying to find ways of how to bring more wellness into the home environment or office environment. And we just happened to be very lucky on timing where that was a space that we were already exploring. We met the guys at Delos, maybe now it’s been four years ago, and started planning them into our projects. And obviously, the pandemic has put a really big spotlight on the wellness space. And I’m proud to say that I think we were really early to the category.
George: Hamed, when did you get involved in Villa Valencia?
Hamed: We were initially involved in the project when it was to be an apartment building. The previous developer introduced me to Rishi, who preferred to develop luxury condos; so this was the perfect fit for him. Rishi’s group continued with us as we had originally designed the approved building. We made several changes in the spirit of the previous approval.
We added an additional floor along with specific amenities and touches which was in the spirit of the developers’ brand and vision. Originally, there were just the typical amenities of a quality condo building, but when Rishi took it over he really wanted to transform it into their brand, which included areas of amenities for well-being, a much more elaborate health club, and an area for experimenting with gourmet foods that are healthy. The building has what is termed “the Cucina”, which is adjacent to the pool deck level on the fifth floor. There is a “Hamman” [a Turkish-style spa] relaxation space for men and women.
The goal was to use natural materials as much as possible. We didn’t want things that would off-gas or be regionally inappropriate. There are some things that you can’t avoid, but for instance, concrete is a manmade material that’s very prevalent in south Florida and therefore doesn’t travel far.
George: Jan, you were instrumental in bringing the Delos platform to the attention of technology designers, correct?
Jan: Yes, several years ago I was brought in to be the industry consultant for Delos for the system integration channel, and I’ve sort of been the evangelist for getting the word out that this is a subcategory for system integration companies — that it’s the hottest thing out there.
I brought it to Rishi’s attention when he was building two spec homes in the Miami marketplace and wanted a differentiator for his product versus what everybody else was doing, like Sonos and big screen 4K TVs. So I pitched him on this wellness narrative because I thought it was an important thing to get happening in the Miami marketplace.
To be honest, a lot of times people are skeptical about this stuff. But with Delos, their business partner is the Mayo Clinic. You don’t get any more real than that when it comes to the science; as well as input from the Harvard Sleep School, Columbia School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, etc. I brought Rishi up to New York to Delos’ headquarters, and he’s like, “Okay, I’m in.”
“A lot of times people are skeptical about this stuff. But with Delos, their business partner is the Mayo Clinic. You don’t get any more real than that when it comes to the science”Jan Vitrofsky, HEDsouth
George: Tell us more about DARWIN.
Jan: DARWIN is a product that came out of Delos, taking data and research from the WELL Building Standard and from the Mayo Clinic and research and tests and reports and studies that were done, and embedded all of those things into breathing clean air, etc. Something called Dawn Simulation, to give you an example, which helps enhance sleep – think of it as taking the different pillars, putting them into a little computer and running wellness shows.
So what does that mean? That means that when you push the keypad for your Lutron lighting system on the wall, which has an astronomical time clock built into it, it knows what time of day it is and it shifts the light through the Ketra fixtures to the color temperature that’s appropriate for your circadian rhythm. You want in the morning to wake up with a warm color temperature as you’re getting ready for the day, have it energize you by changing the color temperature of the light, going throughout your day with the proper color temperature of the light matching outside. And then when it’s time for your brain to start getting into the sleep mode and producing melatonin, it automatically changes the color temperature of the lights. So your brain knows it’s about to be bedtime, it starts producing melatonin so that you sleep well.
Dawn Simulation also sends a command to the thermostat to warm up the room a couple hours before you get up and slowly raising up the blackout shades in the bedroom to start bringing natural light into the room. When the lights come on in the room, they come up at a warm color temperature, so you can wake up to a warm color.
Read the entire interview in the Spring 2021 issue of Technology Designer Magazine.