Mosaico is a striking new building in Athens, Greece, by Greek architect Tasos Kontodimas with the architectural and aesthetic curation of Panos Zouganelis and Kirios Criton. Located in Metaxourgio, a fairly quiet district in the city centre, this building contains twenty four stunning apartments, a swimming pool on the terrace, a fitness centre as well as both private and communal gardens. At first glance, with its central location and abundance of features, it definitely sounds like a more than appealing place to live. Before you come to that conclusion however, wait as there’s so much more than meets the eye - as upon further inspection, the incredible design and quality ensure that this building’s not just a practical or leisurely desire but more like an aesthetical and ethical dream.
The building officially opened on the 7th of June 2012, and it’s already caused a real buzz across the city of Athens, Greece. Kirios Criton has certainly not shied away from strong shapes and bold angles with which to add drama to this building. Where curved balconies surround two spheres on the second façade, their elliptical shape serves to enclose these two forms of 'life'. With all the drama of a Greek amphitheatre, this building has a fun and adventurous side but also a considered humanistic design element. One sphere 'derives' from the earth, 'dressed' in white mosaics, while the other 'nude' hangs directly above the first one, from a wire, off a cross section symbol protruding out of the building. It could be said that - especially at night when the lighting tunnels up the front of the building giving it an even mightier presence – that the construction resembles a place of worship. Mosaico is certainly imposing, standing like a grand dame in its surroundings; design like this tends to it evoke some form of adoration.
Upon entering the building, you encounter two majestic mosaic 'waterfalls' plunging down from above to establish the entrance to this building. Made of glowing white mosaics that reflect the sunlight and create a magical atmosphere, they provide the perfect introduction to this very special construction. The striking focus on symmetry and clean lines showcase light and water – the manmade presenting nature’s beauty. Moving on to the great outdoors, the outdoor spaces at Mosaico are enchanting. Gardens containing local shrubs, a roof terrace with various areas upon which to enjoy the Greek sun and a sense of being surrounded by the city, are accompanied also by an inert sense of Mother Nature throughout. Mosaico’s pivotal feature however, has to be its breath taking rooftop infinity pool where blue mosaic and sparkling tiles allow different shades of light to bounce around the roof space. From the sky, to the water and beyond there’s a magic to this space that creates a sense of peace and life rarely attributable to a manmade structure. Upon first sight, it is impossible not to want to plunge head first into that amazing pool. The streamlined shapes, clean plaster and glass surfaces add an extra sense of light and calm making this terrace the perfect place to unwind and take in the magnificent Acropolis views.
Mosaico showcases an unflinching overall design, but this boldness is not at the expense of detail. The attention to detail in this design demands equal attention. The building’s design concept has around the idea of global coexistence can be seen through the internal black mosaic floor which spreads like a carpet, while three stripped bare trees, from the disappearing Amazon, stand along the entrance. The significantly artistic nature of this building and its symbolisms, reflect the contemporary rejuvenation of the surrounding area with its art galleries - a “mosaic” of different people, ideas and views. The mosaic – also a nod towards Greek heritage and art – are recurring themes throughout this building from the mosaic clad entrance hall out to the balcony with a floor of white stones through to recent exhibition hosted in its subterranean levels featuring works of famous Greek artists Manolis Haros, Diamantis Aidinis, Yannis Ganas and Haris Kontosphyris amongst others, all represented by Gallery Zoumboulakis. On the terrace next to the swimming pool, the Greek artist Olga Goulandris’ golden mosaic is hard to miss. What better place to celebrate Greece’s great Artists than in a piece of architecture that is globally significant but at the same time unmistakably Greek in its artistic and encompassing design.
Inside on the 5th floor, the two apartments have been completely furnished and stylized by the building’s designer, renowned interior designer Kirios Criton. Apartment 502 was recently featured in Casa Vogue, Greece, and its bold eclectic style contrasts perfectly with the predominantly sleek, modern design of the exterior. The outside presents strong clean architectural lines but inside it gets busier – this is definitely not minimalism – but more characterful, with a modern retro vibe. An absolute feast for the eyes, it showcases retro posters, lanterns and taxidermy; a fascinating mix of modern design meets vintage artifacts and furniture. This apartment’s a carnival of colour, pattern and shapes and has a distinct leaning toward zoology with bird covered wallpaper and added sprinklings of butterflies, elephant statues and aquatic lampshades. Maison & Decoration magazine featured the apartment 501. Another colourful and exciting space with strong modern design features where a wealth of warmth is added in the form of various patterned weaves, colours and textures found in rugs and throws, natural wooden furniture and other curiosities. The acidic green bathroom and tropical leaf patterned wallpaper – which have a distinctly 70’s feel - may not suit everyone’s taste but the boldness of the interior design and the attention taken to curate so many interesting items should be applauded.
As if this buildings features and incredible design weren’t enough to cultivate a sense of reverence, Mosaico’s aesthetic focus on nature and global conservation also has substance in that this building has very strong green credentials. Photovoltaic panels serve to provide energy to the building’s communal spaces. Furthermore, a well will cover the demand for water for the swimming pool, the gardens, and the building’s cleaning, evidently reducing the cost of the water. Suffice it to say that this is a beautiful building with a solid ethical heart.
A building which ticks so many boxes for a resident, visitor and admirer. Piece together the dream of living somewhere striking and modern with a sense of innate creativity and history, put together with the comfort of a range of features and eco-credentials, and voila, you have a place called Mosaico.