There are solid, reliable builders, and then there are true craftsmen. With the completion of the eminently stylish Idiom Restaurant and Wine Centre at Da Capo Vineyards on the outskirts of Somerset West, below Sir Lowry’s pass, Giuricich Bros Construction has proved to be masters of both.
Already, Idiom is making waves, even before the first food reviews. It’s easy to see why.
The building itself – designed by Cape Town architect Thomas Leach – is striking, with its slabs of smooth poured concrete juxtaposing the rough-hewn local stone, quarried on the farm itself, and its 360-degree views revealed through arched porticos and vast glass walls, below cut timber beams.
With echoes of classical Italian architecture in its self-supporting stone arches and columns, in its terrace and its viewing tower, and in its stated purpose – the appreciation of good food and wine, of la dolce vita! – the building nonetheless remains wholly fresh and contemporary. Panels of glass flood the interior with light. The supporting wooden structure and roof, crafted from selected alien eucalyptus trees, is a feature in itself.
The Italian influence is no accident. The estate’s winemaking Bottega family patriarch, Alberto, originally hailed from the north-eastern region of Italy, as did the late Nicolò and Cesare Giuricich, who founded their eponymous construction company in 1940.
Responsible for building the beautiful new Idiom Centre, Giuricich Bros remains one of South Africa’s largest independent private construction operations and is still very much a family controlled affair.
With its bases in both Gauteng and the Western Cape, Giuricich Bros Construction undertakes contracts countrywide. First generation son Leonard Giuricich headed up the team that built the Idiom dream into reality, and leads the company’s Cape Town operation.
Leonard says: “The Idiom Centre is a showcase of great food and wine, and is also a display of intricate and detailed work that reflects the truly sophisticated craftsmanship and creativity behind its experience.”
He adds: “While Giuricich Bros is perhaps being better known for our large-scale projects – shopping malls, warehouses, motor dealerships, high rise flats and apartments, stadia and the like – the work we performed at the Da Capo Vineyards gave us the opportunity to really show off our precision, skill, and artisanship.”
To date, the Giuricich Bros Cape Town team has undertaken a variety of projects that include the Simonstown Lawhill boarding school, the revamped City of Cape Town Basil D’Oliviera cricket stadium in Greenpoint, the Tygerburg Medical school lecture halls for the University of Stellenbosch, major alterations to an existing factory facility in Blackheath for Mergence Property Group and various sundry projects for Distell, Appletiser & Simba/Pepsico.
Nationwide, Giuricich Bros is probably best known for its elegant redevelopment of the iconic Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. In the industry, it is recognised for building numerous McDonalds restaurants, switch-centres for MTN, motoring dealerships and various major industrial and commercial projects.
“We’re proud of our Italian heritage,” says Leonard, “but we’re also a very proud South African company, deeply committed to the country, our staff and to our future growth here.”
But there is more to construction than bricks and mortar and practicalities, and that is perhaps why the Giuricich family and their team have been consistently successful for over 75 years.
“Buildings, even intensive commercial and retail developments, should rarely, if ever, be seen as merely functional,” Leonard explains. “Design and construction must always be of the highest standard, and we at Giuricich Bros have earned a proud reputation in the industry for the respected quality of our work.”
The completion of this latest project for the Bottega family is a case in point.
“The elegance of Idiom Restaurant and Wine Tasting Centre, the absolute attention given to every detail of the building, speaks volumes about our passion for excellence,” says Leonard Giuricich.