Giorgetti Houston Set Stage for Future High Rises
By: Chris Baldwin
There is no other building in Houston like it — and it’s quickly becoming a model for the world of international style. With construction just barely underway on the new Giorgetti Houston — the vaunted Italian furniture maker’s first branded building — plans are already in the works for more Giorgetti buildings in some of the most sophisticated cities in the world.
“I do believe it’s going to be the beginning of a series of buildings around the world,” says Jacob Sudhoff, one of the bold collaborators in this new Upper Kirby mid-rise. “I was in New York last week and I was meeting with people about Giorgetti New York, Giorgetti Miami. They’re already looking into Giorgetti London, Paris.
“I like that the very first one was in Houston.”
Yes, Houston’s gone from trailing far behind most of America’s major cities in terms of high-rise condominium style living to setting the pace with the type of building that’s never been done before. What a difference a few years — and one daring plan — can make.
“I was actually speaking to the editor of Architectural Digest on Friday up in New York and it’s so much different,” Sudhoff tells PaperCity. “We really are getting on the map as a city in ways I’ve never seen before because of projects like this.”
To developer Will Stolz, it’s the type of development you almost don’t even dare to daydream about.
“I really couldn’t have imagined this project five years ago anywhere I was working,” Stolz says, who’s been developing building for 30 years. “It’s just that unique.”
It is arguably the first truly brand curated residential building anywhere — a collaboration between Giorgetti, Stolz Partners, Sudhoff Companies and Houston architecture and design firm Mirador. While there have been a number of other high-profile “branded” buildings around the globe (Miami’s Porsche Design Tower for example), the tie between the building and the brand is often tenuous at best.
“These other companies that have done condominiums before had no real bearing on the way you live,” Sudhoff notes. “Like at (New York’s) Baccarat (tower), you’d have a couple chandeliers of Baccarat. The difference with Giorgetti is they are a lifestyle brand. What in essence Giorgetti does is curate the space in which you live. Imbue their brand and creative DNA into the space where you live.
“That’s a very unique attribute — no other branded condominiums have anything like that.”
Giorgetti determined everything that is going to be in this new Houston mid-rise of $1.5-million plus homes. If the storied Italian company did not make something needed for a unit, they decided who would make it. This is how Giorgetti Houston’s ended up not having any wood that’s less than 180 years old in the entire building. Giorgetti company officials insisted that Listone Giordano hardwood floors be put in. This European company only uses wood from the forests of Burgundy region of France so it can be absolutely certain of its quality.
Stepping on these hardwood floors can be akin to the feeling a kid gets when they try ice cream for the first time. There’s nothing else quite like it — and you cannot believe you did not know this existed before.
It is touches like these that has Sudhoff convinced that once Giorgetti Houston actually opens, it will take on a whole new aura and cachet.
“I don’t think people will truly appreciate it, until they can actually live in it or see it with their own eyes,” Sudhoff says. “Once it’s built, I believe that we’ll always have a waiting list of people who want to purchase in it.”
With that in mind, selling condominiums (and it’s now more than 50 percent sold triggering the start of construction at 2992 Kirby with plans to finish by the end of 2019) in this new luxury mid-rise is quite a bit different than the usual process. While Giorgetti may be a 120-year-old institution, it does not have close to instant name recognition even among many River Oaks home owners.
“It’s not a household name,” Stolz says. “As Jacob Sudhoff likes to say, it’s a company that caters to the top one percent of The One Percent.”
To Italy With Awe
When new owners commit to purchasing a Giorgetti Houston condo, they are set up to take a trip to the company’s Italian factory to see how Giorgetti makes furniture. These trips may not be quite life changing, but they certainly tend to quickly alter how people look at residential living.
“As we say, ‘When they come back from Italy, they’re drinking the Kool-Aid,’ ” Sudhoff cracks.
“It’s not a building you can explain to somebody in two minutes,” Stolz says. Instead, you take them across an ocean to do it.
Giorgetti Houston will not have cookie cutter furniture anywhere.
After taking the trip to the Giorgetti factory, several buyers have committed to having the company fully curate their new home. These buyers are going to get rid of all their old furniture — and even their dishes — and have Giorgetti do everything. As in completely everything.
Sudhoff laughs when asked if any other project he’s been involved with has ever included taking buyers on a literal journey like this. “Never,” he says. “There was never any place to take them.”
This is a whole new Giorgetti world. A whole completely foreign sense of craftsmanship and beyond exacting sense of detail. And in many ways, it harkens to a whole new future for Houston and how this city is perceived.
“We had a gentleman from Beijing who knows Giorgetti extremely well, who was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe Houston is going to have this,’ ” Sudhoff says. “It really helps elevate his opinion of where Houston is going and the types of sophisticated projects it now has.”
Sometimes one building is not just one building. Houston gets the first Giorgetti. Then, the rest of the world is allowed to jump in.
Who would ever seen that future?