Greek riff: Zeus + Dione explore Hellenic heritage in Athens
The Greek label’s first bricks-and-mortar store in Athens, draws on the label’s Hellenic heritage
As a young architect duo based in the Greek capital, Katerina Kourkoula and Hannes Gutberlet of en-route-architecture took on the design of Zeus + Dione’s first bricks-and-mortar store in Athens, with the principles of heritage, innovation and craftsmanship at the forefront.
Mareva Grabowski and Dimitra Kolotoura’s 2013-founded label – which specialises in relaxed, artisanally impeccable resortwear and fluid separates, like panelled capes and silk sleeve knitwear – builds upon the duo’s home country’s rich Hellenic heritage, to balance local craft with elegant and modern design. en-route-architecture looked at timeless features such as geometric simplicity, material quality and lightness that is present in Hellenic aesthetics throughout the ages. ‘The aspect of lightness is what we tried to keep as a guiding principle in the design of the store,’ explains Gutberlet. ‘The initial idea was to think of fabrics that are floating in the space and that have different textures connected to both Greek antiquity and modernism.’
Located inside an arcade in the centre of Athens, the long boutique is designed as a passage extended by a large mirror in the rear and separated between the shopping space and the changing rooms by a curved glass wall. In order to translate Zeus + Dione’s idea of lightness found in signature fabrics like silk into a physical presence, the glass structure has been given a pleated texture, frosted on one side and clear on the other so that it disappears when walking through the boutique. Undulating wood covers the rest of the space, while a light pink mosaic-effect marble floor resembles delicate embroidery. Heavier display elements are suspended from the ceiling, giving the impression that everything is lightly suspended.
There’s a modularity behind the space, which can be changed up to serve varying retail purposes. Elements are imagined in white, frosted or transparent finishes, allowing for a play between shadow and light. Intense hues appear only in lighting, which can be switched to complement the colours of the brand’s collections or altered to mimic the outdoors natural light.
It was also important for the architects to work with local suppliers and crafts to continue Zeus + Dione’s effort in reinterpreting traditional techniques into a contemporary aesthetic. For instance, they collaborated with a glass manufacturer to create 90 tubes that make up the pleated wall with an important level of innovation and sophistication seen through intricate detailing. All materials have then been transformed, reinterpreted and refined with utmost precision and developed in close collaboration with local manufacturers.
‘Zeus + Dione isn’t just a fashion brand, they’re bringing back local products and techniques without being folkloric about it,’ says Kourkoula. ‘It was very interesting for us to represent these ideas which they stand for.’ §