16 Filellinon Street
79 rooms & suites
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ARCHITECTURE / DESIGN
Humberto & Fernando Campana
Ever since 1958, when the old Olympic Palace Hotel first pierced the Athenian skyline, itís been seen as one of the cityís best examples of modernist architecture. Now, after being painstakingly pulled apart and fastened back together in its original site overlooking Syntagma Square, itís become a piece of living art.
Owner and Greek Cypriot industrialist Dakis Joannou, who renamed his creation New Hotel, was keen that nothing from the original building be thrown away. He enlisted the help of Brazilian interior design legends Humberto and Fernando Campana, renowned globally for their ability to create masterpieces from casts offs and reclaimed materials. Together the three worked to create a space in which the senses are arrested by sights, textures and moods. Objects demand to be interacted with, rather than ignored, making the property a true Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.
New Hotelís 79 rooms and suites are styled according to three separate design concepts, each based on a different notion of Greek culture. Postcards, amulets and shadow puppets are kept behind acrylic glass plates that float just above the walls, making guests feel like they are linked intrinsically with the art, instead of being its passive observers. This theme even pervades the bathrooms, where blocky, sharp-edged washbasins based on the shape of diamonds reach into spaces normally left unused.
The glut of old restaurant chairs left over from the Olympic Palace Hotel forced the Campanas to adopt a twin-track approach. Some chairs were left as they were, while others were spliced with atypical objects to create new and intriguing forms. Thanks to help from a creative group of Greek postgraduate students, public areas are now full of unusual chair-art hybrids. Thereís one seat with a lofty ladder soaring up from its back, and another that doubles as a functional magazine rack. Broken chairs and doors can also be seen in the hallway as part of the Campanaís ĎFavela Columní, a multi-toned, tree-like sculpture that reaches skywards from the floor.
Every work of art has its zenith, and at New Hotel itís the top-floor terrace. Connected to an executive lounge filled with art and business-friendly technology, it has one of the most breathtaking views in all of Athens.