The spiritual icon talks to AD about creating the first luxury residences centered on health, wellness, and the environment
By Juliet Izon January 21, 2020
The first thing you notice upon entering Deepak Chopra’s sunny downtown New York home is the blissful silence, due to heavy-duty noise-canceling windows. The second? A faint but distinct scent of citrus wafting on the air. The two combine to create an apartment that feels worlds away from the smog, the street noise, and the general melee just a few floors below. And, of course, this is all by design.
Chopra serves on the board of Delos, a company committed to improving health and well-being via specially designed commercial and residential spaces; his input was critical in creating the building in which he now lives. To wit: Other innovative touches include purified air whose quality residents can track in real time with an app, lighting that can be adjusted according to individual circadian rhythms, and flooring that helps your posture. We sat down with the well-being guru to discuss how the partnership came about, his own preferences for interior design, and the details of his 90th book.
Architectural Digest: How did you get involved with Delos?
Deepak Chopra: I was approached by the founder of Delos during the initial phase. They’re in the business of taking what is called the Green Building Standard to the next level, which is called Well Building Standard. As we go further into their development, I’m hoping there will be a biosensor [component], where you can just walk into the building and check your blood pressure automatically, or your heart rate, stress levels, quality of your sleep, the amount of exercise you do, or heart rate variability.
AD: What were the most important elements you wanted to include in the building design?
DC: I think it was really important to recognize biological sustainability and environmental sustainability. This building is 100 percent sustainable. Environmental sustainability is becoming a big issue with climate change and everything else that’s happening in the world. [This building] is a drop in the ocean, but any little thing we can do to bring awareness is important. My goal is not to have a luxurious home in a fancy apartment in New York. I just want to bring awareness to the importance of the environment.
AD: Apart from sustainability, what do you look for when decorating your own home?
DC: Every sense should be stimulated in a way that’s joyful: textures and smells and colors. I have a more feminine design sensibility, rather than a masculine. You can tell the difference when you walk into an environment, whether it’s more gentle and feminine or more predatory.
AD: What have you learned about architecture and design since joining the Delos board?
DC: Architecture and design ultimately should serve many purposes. One is sensual, or sensory delight, but it all should be sustainable, basically. And then, as far as the decor is concerned, it depends on the orientation of the person. I personally feel that human evolution, if we survive, will be more in the direction of—for lack of a better word—the feminine aspects of human existence. That means beauty, art, intuition, creativity, nurturing, gentleness, and healing.
AD: You recently published your 90th book, Metahuman. What is it about?
DC: These days you hear the word disruption and it applies to everything. Disruptive technology, disruptive creativity, disruptive art, disruptive science. What we’ve created over the last 3,000 years is a world of conflict, war, terrorism, mechanized instruments of death, nuclear weapons, and biological warfare. It’s so amazing to me that 99 percent of people walking on the street don’t even think about these issues. They’re just going about their daily life as if they’re sleepwalking. So Metahuman is, basically, you have to wake up from this hypnosis of social conditioning because it’s leading to our extinction.
AD: Aside from writing, what are you focusing on for 2020?
DC: I’m going to focus a lot on nonprofit work. I have a big effort right now with other people on suicide prevention. It’s called Never Alone. And, basically, it’s creating online and offline communities where people are there to support each other, particularly with suicide and depression. The second thing we are focusing on a lot now is something called the Chopra Library; you can think of it as the Wikipedia of anything to do with well-being. We collect data and research from all over the world.