photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

You know how it goes: give a seaside town a reputation for stunning views and sprawling wrap-around countryside, and it will soon be infested with tourist shops. Nafplion, a gorgeous little port city in eastern Peloponnese, had gained a particular reputation for worry beads (locally known as kobologia), with a museum to match. Taking a majority stock in local retail outlets, there was enough worry beads to get you seriously worried: wasn’t there anything else worth bringing back to commemorate your visit? 

Enter Florica Kyriacopoulos, a businesswoman and a renowned art collector, who filled a void in the local artisan market while fulfilling her own lifelong dream: to enrich the cultural life of Nafplion with a venue exclusively dedicated to creativity. Fougaro, a former pre-WWII tomato cannery, opened its doors to the public on October 28, boasting an Arts & Humanities library, a workshop, a café, a concert hall and, most importantly, an exhibition hall.

Currently taking up residence in its ample square footage is 'Craft Fair #1', an inspired selection of handmade design objects by 56 artists and designers, on display till December 29, 2012. And the best part is, everything’s for sale!

Bought at an auction in 1997, the newly christened Fougaro - which literally translates to chimney stack, alluding to the venue’s pedestrian past - expands across three building complexes, a mammoth project that’s been in the works for the past 15 years. Kyriacopoulos, heiress to S&B Industrial Minerals SA, has always had an affinity for industrial spaces and made absolutely sure the defunct plant was 'affectionately' renovated. Future additions include an open-air movie theater, a concert hall and an amphitheater.

 photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

 photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Arts & Humanities libraryphoto © Ioanna Nikolareizi

Arts & Humanities library
photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

Arts & Humanities libraryphoto © Ioanna Nikolareizi

Arts & Humanities library
photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Arts & Humanities libraryphoto © Ioanna Nikolareizi

Arts & Humanities library
photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

The Exhibition Hall
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

As for 'Craft Fair#1', the cultural center’s major attraction, it will be followed by plenty of similar handcrafted shows to come. ''Inviting 56 different people to make something with their own two hands is a real creative stimulant,'' says Florica Kyriacopoulos. ''This kind of output is a lot more relevant to our lives than, say, high art''. The exhibition, a veritable explosion of texture and color, was curated by Dimitris Xanthoulis and will be replenished throughout its duration.

Locally sourced treasures include the ghostly, pared down ceramics of Margarita Ekklisiarchou, set designer Olympia Sideridou’s farm-fresh bounty of plush pumpkins, Polytimi Biliona’s army of colorful shot glasses (no two are alike), Nana Stepanian’s plastic-fantastic found art, Nikos Haritakis’ blowing glass baubles, Laura Venizelou’s clashing gold-and-grey ceramics, Petros Mantouvalos’ Nomura Jewelry (think spiky, goth-inspired silicone designs) and Dimitris Brazas’ upcycled light fixtures, among many, many others.

>>>
Fougaro was restored by E. Sakellaridou + M. Papanikolaou & Associates, Elias Tsoulogiannis, Fani Tsoulogianni, Johnny Seefelder, the dmd team and Ioannis Papagrigorakis & Associates.
The cultural center is open year-round and is situated about 2km away from the center of Nafplion.

Exhibition Hall Interiorphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Exhibition Hall Interior
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Laura Venizelou ceramics & jewelryphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Laura Venizelou ceramics & jewelry
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nana Stepanian upcycled art objectsphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nana Stepanian upcycled art objects
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nana Stepanian upcycled art objectsphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nana Stepanian upcycled art objects
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nana Stepanian upcycled art objectsphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nana Stepanian upcycled art objects
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Maximos jewelryphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Maximos jewelry
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Margarita Ekklisiarchou ceramicsphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Margarita Ekklisiarchou ceramics
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Tzannis Sifneos furniture and homewarephoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Tzannis Sifneos furniture and homeware
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Maria Grigoriou paper jewelryphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Maria Grigoriou paper jewelry
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nikos Haritakis glasswarephoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nikos Haritakis glassware
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nomura silicon jewelry by Petros Mantouvalosphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Nomura silicon jewelry by Petros Mantouvalos
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Giannis Mamoutzis ceramicsphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Giannis Mamoutzis ceramics
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Kristina Pitsilidou jewelryphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Kristina Pitsilidou jewelry
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Polytimi Biliona potteryphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Polytimi Biliona pottery
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Dimitris Brazas upcycled light fixturesphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Dimitris Brazas upcycled light fixtures
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Olympia Sideridou plush pumpkinsphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Olympia Sideridou plush pumpkins
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Apostolos Hasiotis upclycled light fixturesphoto © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

Apostolos Hasiotis upclycled light fixtures
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com

 Mark Hadjipateras sculpturephoto © Ioanna Nikolareizi

Mark Hadjipateras sculpture
photo © Ioanna Nikolareizi

Follow Yatzer in Instagram

A Former Canning Plant Is Transformed Into A Cultural Center In Nafplion, Greece

1 of