Posted inDesign, Interior Design
|Project Name||Titanas||Posted in||Design, Interior Design||Location||
117 43 AthinaGreece
|Interior Designer||Studiomateriality||Area (sqm)||13.5||Completed||September 2022|
Interior designers often elect to channel the past, either as a response to the history of the premises or as a nostalgia-inspired aesthetic choice. Conjuring a specific era through a new fit-out is of course a tricky task – as there is always the danger of producing a space that seems contrived or kitsch – but there is something even more challenging: convincingly conveying the passage of time. Kudos therefore to Athens-based design studio Studiomateriality whose new project “Titanas”, a compact café in Athens that opened its doors last month, feels like it has been a neighbourhood staple for a long while. The brainchild of restaurateur Leonidas Deligiannis and Studiomateriality founder Miltos Kontogiannis, the all-day spot is a contemporary version of ‘kafenia', the traditional Greek cafés that double as neighbourhood hang-outs serving ouzo and retsina along with Greek coffee. Idiosyncratically packed with miscellaneous objects that the owners have collected over the years, the space nonchalantly bridges past and present by refusing to adhere to any particular style or theme, nor take itself seriously for that matter.
Located on a quiet intersection in the inner-city neighbourhood of Neos Kosmos, the 13.5 square-metre café is housed in what used to be the workshop of an air-conditioning technician as the vintage sign on the front of the building attests. A kitchen counter incorporating cupboards and beverage fridges, plus two benches with a few small tables, are all that could fit the tiny triangular floorplan. With no bar counter separating the staff from patrons, the space is imbued with a homely intimacy.
What the space lacks in size, it more than makes up in character, brimming as it is with a hodgepodge of artworks, artefacts and memorabilia that the owners handpicked for their sentimental rather than aesthetic value. A toy replica of the Titanic made from 9,000 Lego pieces, a vintage Martini advert, a framed jersey of former Argentine footballer Ariel Ortega, a framed silk scarf by young fashion designer Klelia Andrali, and an antique Art Nouveau lamp in the shape of a woman holding a torch are just some of the peculiar objects filling the walls and shelves along with select artworks. The latter include a scarf created by Maurizio Cattelan for the DESTE Foundation and a painting by emerging Greek painter Angelos Merges. Remarkably for such an amply decorated space, Titanas doesn’t feel overwhelming or overcrowded thanks to the designers’ attention to detail and keen eye for balance as well as sparse furniture and large floor-to-ceiling industrial-style windows.
As expected, the space is just as eclectically furnished featuring a mix of vintage items like a porcelain light pendant by Matteo Thun for Memphis Group and a floor lamp by Sergio Carpani for Stilnovo, both from the 1980s, along with contemporary pieces like stackable polypropylene stools from Established & Sons in bright orange and navy blue and sleek, polished aluminium chairs by Naoto Fukasawa for Magis, and folding camping chairs enlisted for outdoor seating.
The idiosyncratic décor is echoed in the café’s assorted offering which ranges from coffee, beer, ouzo and negroni, to breakfast cereal, packaged crisps and traditional ‘mezze’ dishes like anchovies, cheese, olives and cured meats. Coupled with an informal service and laidback ambience, Titanas feels like it has been welcoming guests for decades rather than mere days.