The Modernist Athens by FormRelated

The Modernist Athens is a luxury modernist hotel located in Athens, Greece, designed in 2020 by FormRelated.

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We love places with a past and stories to tell. The Modernist Athens, settled into the former Canadian Embassy on a quiet street that overlooks a leafy residential square in Kolonaki. We transformed the handsome corner building with its many balconies in signature Modernist style, combining casual, contemporary luxury with mid-century detailing and minimalist Danish design.

A typical architectural sample of the Athenian apartment buildings of the ‘50s, its clean-cut geometry and strict grid on the facade are enriched and combined with new elements. The result is a new aesthetic with focus on detailing; a relaxed, elegant environment where guests feel at home from the moment they set foot in the lobby. The hotel is divided into Basement, Ground Floor, 6 Typical Floors and Roof Garden. The main purpose of the design is to narrate the architecture and the history of the building and connect the outside with the inside. It consists of 38 luxury rooms of different sizes (S, M, L), each with its own character and created to meet individual needs by offering comfort and relaxation. The 3 XL Rooms on the top floor have their own patio and Jacuzzi.

A clean-cut atmosphere and simplicity in design was the key approach. Natural materials add a sense of luxury to the space; mosaic parquet wooden floors, bronze, marble and leather, are all characteristic elements of the building’s construction era. Most interior elements are custom-made, and combined with contemporary Greek and foreign brands. Bronze metal details combined with brushed embossed veneers throughout the spaces stand out, and create a signature element of the hotel’s character.

The brief was to create a Modernist experience by combining the design narrative of the brand in a dialogue with the building and its environment. Sister property to The Modernist Thessaloniki, the hotel was designed by understanding the heritage of the building and enhancing the spacial experience of the guests with our signature style.

Due to the dense static grid and the lack of excess sqm, the biggest challenge was to create interesting spatial arrangements that meet the operational standards of the brand, while achieving the necessary distinction between different room types. Thus, by creating recesses and ledges between the rooms, we managed to achieve a high efficiency of the spatial use and provide the necessary functionality in the rooms. These spaces mostly host open closets, desks, minibars and bed headboards.

Starting from the outside, we decided not to interfere with the typology of the façade. The building exterior was painted in dark shades, to prepare the guests for a series of strong contrast in the materials and colours and create a new landmark in the area. In the interior, classic elements and materials of the building’s original era were the link to develop the design and create a smooth transition to the present.

The organization of public spaces allows guests to move easily in the building, while giving them the option to easily access different areas and interact with the hotel’s team. Also, in-room experience is enhanced by details that offer a practical response to their needs and at the same time work as a whole to build up an elevated and effortless design feeling of casual luxury.

Sustainability is always a core idea in our design. Using natural materials with long lifespan and the ability to be reused, energy efficiency through innovative lighting solutions, water management systems, environmental friendly ideas in room amenities and hotel services are just some of the ideas that came to life throughout the project.

Overall, the Modernist Athens is not approached as a typical hotel. Services and uses are mixed to create a new spatial planning. The continuous reflections of one space to another give depth and succeed in letting the outside penetrate. The details in bronze elevate the simple lines in a luxurious environment faithful to the design principles of mid-century aesthetics. The hard materials of the lobby, such as cast floor, marble, bronze, black glass, that are repeated inside the rooms combined with softer ones, such as natural solid oak flooring, a floor seen in 50’s homes, leather headboards, art works, furniture, and the spacious bathrooms compose a unique hospitality experience. Guests get a sense of this intimate and quietly luxurious experience from every object and furniture item made by the city’s finest designers and craftspeople; from the custom espresso cups to the subtle fragrance of our bath products, the books on the shelves, the old floor tiles.

Photography by Ioanna Roufopoulou

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- by Matt Watts