Athens firm Omniview’s flagship project is a bespoke success with rippling impact
Architect Dimitrios Tsigos is gesturing with excitement towards One Kleomenous. ‘This is all bespoke,’ he says. ‘You cannot imagine how challenging it was to bring all the contractors together and create something of this scale and technology in the middle of Athens.’ The structure’s undulating façade is certainly a departure from the tall blocks of flats that line the streets of Lycabettus Hill in Athens’ Kolonaki, as the curious stares it gets from passers-by and guests looking out of the upmarket hotel St George Lycabettus across the street demonstrate.
One Kleomenous is an important project for Tsigos. This single-family house is his first project of this scale since the financial crisis hit Greece so badly back in 2008 (‘It hit everybody – it also affected us,’ he says), making it a critical scheme in terms of working out his company’s next steps. It is the first and flagship project completed by his new venture, Omniview, set up with his brother John, also an architect, and property mogul Miltos Kambourides in 2013. One of Kambourides’ most recent schemes, luxury apartment block One Athens, in a landmark modernist office building by Constantinos Doxiadis, renovated by Divercity Architects, is just a stone’s throw away.
Having made his name with his experimental approach and fascination with advanced computer-aided architectural design, Athens-based Tsigos was happy to rise to the challenge. One Kleomenous mixes traditional materials, such as wood and marble, with ultra-modern construction methods. Omniview worked with several local craftsmen to realise Tsigos’ vision, using techniques most often seen in naval design and yacht interiors.
Inspired by the topographic contours of its hilltop location, the building’s facade is made of CNC-cut travertine marble. Photography: Leon Chew
The structure’s signature undulating facades are made of layers of CNC-cut travertine marble. ‘We needed a material that matches in colour the characteristic beige stones, which are the main building block for all of Lycabettus’ retaining walls,’ says Tsigos. ‘Travertine was a perfect colour match. Moreover, it is a very common material in the surrounding area’s 1970s modernist-style condo developments.’
The plot came with an existing structure, one of the city’s typical polykatoikies (apartment blocks), which was demolished and replaced with a new, also fairly conventional, concrete frame. When Tsigos and his team were brought in, they decided to adapt the existing frame, rather than start from scratch. So standard cantilevered balconies peek out in-between the swells of the building’s travertine skin.
Spread over eleven floors on a 187 sq m footprint, the building is tall and slim. As the plot is perched high up the hill, with a small clearing ahead, the top floor’s terrace comes with sweeping views that extend beyond the Acropolis hill through to the sea and the Piraeus coast. From there, a shiny, polished steel curved staircase leads down to the living and dining spaces underneath. The two floors below host the couple’s master bedroom suite and the three children’s rooms, the kitchen in the level below, and the entrance hall in the level below that. The remaining lower levels host service areas, a garage and storage.
The top floor terrace, with its infinity pool and bespoke barbecue. Photography: Leon Chew
American walnut root veneer panels and a variety of Greek marbles feature prominently throughout, moulded into aerodynamic shapes that give the interior a futuristic feel. The house’s main staircase is made out of Corian, while a fibreglass sculpture in the entrance doubles up as a bench.
The level of bespoke fabrication is impressive and Tsigos’ ambitious style will no doubt become a talking point in the neighbourhood for years to come. From its construction that blends traditional materials with cutting-edge computer-produced forms, to its strong expressionist character that highlights creativity and entrepreneurship, this is a house that embraces its contrasts, and takes them in its stride. §
As originally featured in the May 2015 issue of Wallpaper* (W*194)