CASA debuts European luxury goods in West Avenue showroom
It was Giorgetti's sexy Progetti chair that introduced Jerry Hooker and Jacob Sudhoff to one of Italy's finest makers of leather-and-wood furniture: Giorgetti.
At the time, the men thought it was an attractive chair that would fit into their modern design aesthetic with its tall, white leather back and sleek wooden legs. On a trip to Italy they visited the factory and they were hooked.
That one chair lead them to develop Giorgetti Houston condo development and, now, CASA, a home furnishings showroom with seven brands each getting its own boutique-like space.
In the upscale West Avenue retail space, even the day before CASA's official opening, workmen were still buzzing around, installing pieces and putting finishing touches on lighting and other things.
Hooker, a principal at the Mirador Group architecture-design firm, was on hand and talked about the new showroom he and Sudhoff have opened, and what it's bringing to Houston homes.
Together, the men also developed The Sophie at Bayou Bend and Riva at the Park multi-family residential spaces. They expect to break ground on the Giorgetti condos near the CASA showroom in about a month.
For CASA, they lured two major Italian furniture makers, Giorgetti and Poltrona Frau from nearby Internum. Five other brands in the showroom are new to the Houston market: Listone Giordano flooring, Rimadesio doors and closet systems, Viabizzuno lighting, Elam Kitchens by Tisettanta and Henrytimi furniture.
The demand for contemporary and modern furniture is fed by housing trends that include more modern homes being built in the Houston area. Add to that an increased interest in design in general, and you've got a market for stylish and luxurious home furnishings.
"Poltrona Frau has forever been known for working with leather. They make all of the Ferrari car seats," Hooker said. "For Houston, Poltrona Frau may not be the most known brand, but everybody knows Ferrari."
Made in Tolentino -- a small village in central Italy -- Poltrona Frau's furnishings have some 200 leather options, and their furniture is meant for the home or office.
Nicola Coropulis, Poltrona Frau general manager, said he loves the CASA environment that brings like items together in a non-competitive way.
"The greatest beauty of this concept is that each brand is able to express the best of its own identity, values, feeling and spirit," said Coropulis, who is Italian. "The selection of the brands has been done in such a way that there is synergy."
Giorgetti is known for its contemporary and modern wood and leather furniture, from that iconic armchair to sofas, beds, tables and more. The showroom also has a stop-you-in-your-tracks foosball table that's unlike any game you've ever seen. Its base is wrapped in fine leather and the surround is thick acrylic. The handles and those figures that kick the puck around, they're made of smooth Canaletto walnut.
Listone Giordano is an Italian wood flooring brand, but they use only French white oak that's sustainably harvested. You may not have heard of the brand, but if you've been in a Bulgari store, you've likely walked on their product. Before this Houston showroom, the nearest Listone Giordano dealer was in Miami.
The Viabizzuno lighting brand may not be familiar, but if you've been in a Valentino boutique you've seen its sparkling "Da Ma" chandeliers hanging in them.
By Diane Cowen, Houston Chronicle