Ama Lachei at Nefeli's
project: transformation of existing facility to a restaurant
location: Athens, Greece
floor area: 500 m2
400 m2 (courtyard)
year: 2013, 2017
construction: km architecture studio
artwork (wall-cut): teokon design
photos: Lef Tetris, B. Giritziotis
This listed two-storey building, located in a historic neighbourhood of Athens center, dates from late 19th century and was initially designed and functioned (until 1981) as an elementary school. The project involved the renovation of the restaurant, which was established here in the mid 1980s.
The concept was to preserve and highlight the architectural style and the original interior arrangement of the building, along with the unique courtyard (rarely encountered in buildings of Athens centre).
It is the building’s simplicity of geometric form, the distinctive interior space (wide and tall classrooms separated by impressive doors) and the courtyard’s imposing size that implement the quality of intervention, which focuses mainly on removing any additions or alterations and maintaining characteristic elements of the original design (timber flooring, grand openings, black & off white cement tiles).
The restaurant’s main hall is placed on the first floor (approached through the courtyard), while in 2017 a small lounge area was created on the ground floor.
The project involved as well designing bespoke furniture (tables, stools, wall shelving system, booth seats) for both interior and exterior spaces.
Neutral materials (wooden elements, glass pendant lighting, off-white colours) were chosen ideally as a ‘discreet’ intervention in the minimal and plain interior. Warm-coloured plaster and ceramic wall-lights decorate certain surfaces indicating the boundaries of the long inner space. Natural shades of colours are used in the ground floor hall in order to create an intimate and friendly atmosphere.
Project’s key characteristic is the courtyard. Aim of the intervention was to maintain and expand the large garden, in order to deliver an impressive urban garden in the center of Athens.
It is the pureness of flora that is emphasized in the courtyard. A palette in shades of grey and white (tables, chairs, cement tiles, mortar stucco) dominates in the courtyard, forming the ideal contrast for plants colourful tones. A wall-graffity along with a wall-cut, both inspired by the same photograph (‘A village school’, taken by Con. Manos in Karpathos, 1964) decorate the wall-surfaces-‘canvases’ that embrace the main entrance.