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Light Loci in Greece

Andronikos Hotel on Mykonos/GR.

Weaving this atmosphere, this light and these colours into hotel projects when it comes to the lighting, or using them as a basis for the design concept per se, is therefore a logical consequence. For Konstantinos Labrinopoulos from KLab architecture it is an integral part of the way he sees himself and his work also in the broader sense. The effect and meaning of light on the one hand, and the way it is designed to blend in seamlessly with the architecture on the other. Just as daylight is at one with nature, the light in his lighting projects appears to be at one with the architecture. It is this very combination that makes his designs just that fraction more perfect and entirely convincing.

The whitest white and deep blue, purposefully comduring summertime. Mykonos has a unique natural environment full of amazing beaches, rocky hills and treeless desert-like landscape, always in relation to the sea. Vernacular architecture is also unique in Mykonos. Organic whitewashed cubes with rounded edges, curved walls that divide the landscape, and paved narrow alleys are some of the endless characteristics of Mykonian architecture that has been evolved through centuries to resist in hostile climatic conditions such as very strong winds, drought, intense sunlight and humidity.

A modern interpretation of vernacular Cycladic architecture was used in the redesign of the Andronikos Hotel on Mykonos that was originally built in 1990. A total refurbishment is planned to be carried out in different bined to achieve the conceived form and effect. Blue stands for calm and infinity, evokes an air of tranquillity and restraint, and has a calming effect on our vegetative and endocrine systems. The endocrine system is the collection of glands of an organism that secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system to be communicated to target distant organs via the circulating blood or lymphatic pathways. White also has a relieving effect on stress symptoms and a positive impact on the human lymphatic system, stomach and joints. Not surprising that Greek islands lend themselves so well to people looking for rest and recuperation. Or in other words: now we can better understand why Greeks apply such a relaxing approach when coping with problems.

Mykonos is one of most famous Greek islands with a population of 10,000 people that rises to 50,000 people stages. In the initial phase 13 rooms out of 57 were redesigned and refurbished following the principles of purity, simplicity, fluidity and surprise, and using forms that represent the essence of Mykonos. The initial phase involved the design of the so-called Cocoon Suites, which in turn served as the basis for the design of the Blue Suites in a second refurbishment phase.

The interior is a compact mass constructed of irregular, unaligned walls, with a distorted three-dimensional feel to them. The furniture is designed along the same lines and seems to be an integral part of the walls, giving rise to the impression that the building has some- how burst forth from the island's rocky landscape. The design was conceived in the form of lowtech constructions so that local builders could apply the know-how they had gathered to date to create something that would go beyond their usual practice. Budgets were to be adhered to, of course, but the spatial atmosphere was to radiate the opposite and offer the user an overwhelming experience. Plaster, bamboo canes, plasterboard, glass, pebbles, mirrors and cement based flooring were used in unconventional ways and combinations.

The lighting is like a game of light and shadow, designed to reveal the sculpting force of the space.
The lighting is discreetly integrated into the architecture wherever possible, and the hotel guest can select from different lighting scenarios to create the preferred ambience depending on the time of day. The architects see the light as generating a sense of serenity and intimacy, filtering through the bamboo canes and out from under the furniture.

The Blue Suites + Sky bar

Continuing the refurbishment of the Andronikos Hotel the architects designed a new type of room – the Blue Suites – that use elements and colour schemes from the Cocoon Suites designed by KLab in 2012, and comprise a new open air bar, the Sky Bar, and a gym. For the redesign of the four new rooms, the designers reinterpreted traditional Cycladic forms, and more specifically those of the local architecture of Mykonos, underlining the fluid, sensual geometry of the spatial elements. Curves coexist with straight lines, becoming almost aerodynamic. White is combined with the blue and ochre of the surrounding landscape. Interior and exterior space become almost one.
The Blue Suites, although a continuation of the elements used in Cocoon Suites, have an identity of their own through the use of different shades of blue. Adopting an artistic approach inspired by artists like Picasso and Matisse, the architects have created an unexpected landscape that comes across as being both familiar and convincingly Greek, discovering new correlations inthe process that in turn provide the hotel guest with a unique spatial experience.
To show these colours off to their best advantage, neutral white LEDs at 4000 degrees Kelvin have been applied, especially in the parts of the space and furnishings that are an integral part of the architecture. A small number of 3000 Kelvin spotlights and downlights add a touch of warmth similar to the kind of warmth we experience through sunlight in a space.
In the case of the Sky Bar, the concept of built-in furniture as used in both the Blue and the Cocoon Suites was continued. The furniture, floors and walls become one, and the tables are designed to follow the aesthetic of the new space. The use of light, an integral part of the design approach, amplifies the colour intensities in the Blue Suites. Different scenarios can be recalled depending on the wishes and mood of the users. In the Sky Bar it highlights the plasticity of the forms and the design. This is a simple way of describing what successful lighting design is all about. The closer you look at details behind the solution, the more exciting is actually gets. Lighting design can be described as a successful solution when users enter a space and like or appreciate the space because it feels good, without immediately being able to define why that is. In this case it is the visual impression that arouses the feeling that the new suites are part of the Aegean. The colours appear to be as clear as those inherent to the natural beauty of the Aegean.

Project team:

Client: Andronikos Hotel
Architecture, design and lighting design: KLab architecture, Konstantinos Labrinopoulos (principal architect), Veronika Vasileiou (project architect) with Enrique Ramirez, Kostis Anagnostakis, Christina Giannoulaki