Niles Niami stands on the rooftop of the most expensive house in America, the latest property he has built for billionaires, and considers the best way to describe his design aesthetic. “Badass,” he grins. “Yeah. Badass.”
Sweeping in every direction is a panoramic view of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Beneath him is a gargantuan glass and marble residence with moats, four swimming pools, 20 bedrooms, a nightclub, a bowling alley, a cinema and walls and ceilings made of jellyfish aquariums. Price: $500m.
From this hilltop eyrie in Bel Air, LA’s plushest neighbourhood, other estates belonging to the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Elon Musk look puny in comparison.
Niami has named this property, which is due to go on the market later this year, The One. Apt, he says, because there is no other like it. “I don’t think it’s cheeky. I think it’s true.”
The construction of this and other so-called giga-mansions underscores a new gilded age in the United States and especially in LA. Tech tycoons and other plutocrats are splashing fortunes for homes breaking records for scale, opulence and excess.