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Ditto Residential Working On New Apartment Brand With Leading Designer, Architect

Eight Inc.'s Matt Judge, Ditto Residential's Martin Ditto and HWKN's Matthias Hollwich at an Altus Group event in D.C.

A D.C.-based residential developer is preparing to roll out a new brand of apartments aimed at bringing people together around food.

Ditto Residential founder Martin Ditto is working with Eight Inc. President Matt Judge and HWKN co-founder Matthias Hollwich to develop the apartment brand, the trio said Wednesday at Altus Group's Seventh Annual Real Estate Breakfast Panel in D.C. 

The team is still designing the brand and plans to release more details in the coming months. It hopes to launch its first project in D.C., a spokesperson said. 

Ditto has developed residential projects throughout D.C., including three under its co-living brand, Oslo.  

"I started working with these guys about a year ago," Ditto said. "It has been a fantastic opportunity for me, honestly the ride of my life. I've basically gotten to create something I've always dreamed about, and now I'm actually doing it."

Eight Inc. President Matt Judge speaking at an Altus Group event in D.C.

New York-based strategic design firm Eight Inc., founded by Tim Kobe, has worked with brands such as Virgin, Nike, Coca-Cola, Ford, Tiffany & Co. and Tesla. But the firm is best known for designing the Apple Store concept, and it has worked with the tech giant on various other projects. Judge worked at Apple before joining Eight Inc. in 2011. 

"I've been privileged to work with people like Apple and Tiffany's and some incredible brands, but I couldn't be prouder of this work," Judge said of the Ditto partnership. "As a designer you want to do something better in the world, and what better way than creating an entirely new way of living with one another."

Judge said the goal of the concept is to bring people together from various cultural backgrounds and age groups. He said multifamily housing has the potential to act as a positive force for diversity, but too often it groups people into bubbles of people of similar ages who look the same. 

"It's based on a simple premise that if we want to create a truly intergenerational, multicultural experience, what is the one thing that connects all of us? It's food," Judge said. "Food can be something we can all rally around and create an experience around."

The details of the concept are still being worked out, but Judge said the team is considering ideas like shared kitchens and event spaces. 

HWKN co-founder Matthias Hollwich at an Altus Group event in D.C.

The buildings for the conept will be designed by Matthias Hollwich. He co-founded architecture firm Hollwich Kushner with Mark Kushner in 2007.

The firm, named one of the 10 most innovative architecture firms by Fast Company in 2017, has clients including Related, Vornado, WeWork, Google, JBG Smith, Hoffman & Associates and CBRE.  It has designed several projects in New York and New Jersey and is now working on one of the buildings at Phase 2 of The Wharf in D.C. 

Hollwich said his architectural philosophy centers around making lasting memories for the people who interact with his buildings. He said three factors are important when trying to create those memories: familiarity, emotion and novelty. 

"It's really for developers to create meaningful buildings that trigger people’s emotions and people’s memories so that you can build these buildings with more appreciation from people around, so they buy into the idea and concept, and hopefully it will lease faster and make more money in the long run for everyone," Hollwich said.