The Newest Designer Trend? Branded Luxury Homes

Baccarat Residence

An interior image of a Baccarat-branded residence.

Luxury-branded furniture?  Nah, just put the label on the whole building — or at least the penthouse — housing said furniture.  The newest, biggest (literally speaking) wave of designer endorsements and collaborations are on entire high-end properties around the world.

In Los Angeles, the Ritz-Carlton is opening a residence with a penthouse designed by and named for Fendi Casa.  Another Los Angeles property, in Beverly Hills, offers individual residences named for Armani Casa and Ralph Lauren, the brands that exclusively designed them and decked them out.  French crystal-maker Baccarat offers residences in Shanghai and New York (as one might imagine, the building features ubiquitous crystal chandeliers, albeit modern looking ones).  Bulgari put its name on residential properties, adjacent to hotels it also owns, in Bali and London.  Fendi Casa has another luxury penthouse in the works, in New York.

Bulgari residenceThat’s a private lobby, not a storefront.

Meanwhile, there’s a Versace Home in Jeddah.  An Armani Hotel in Dubai also offers private, permanent residences.  In fact, the housewares arm of Giorgio Armani’s empire sells branded luxury apartments in New York, Dubai, Rome, Tokyo, and most recently, Istanbul.  Seems fair to say this is a global trend.

In some instances, these labels already sell high-end housewares, so outfitting an entire home or hotel with them, and naming the property after themselves, are kind of logical next steps.  But obviously this sort of branding does nothing to keep costs down; the penthouse in Baccarat’s New York building is listed at $60 million.  Of course, you get a finished home for the price, but still — housing bubble, anyone?  Or is this just an extension of the seemingly recession-proof luxury goods market?