Friday, February 29, 2008


Since the Olympic Games of 2004, Athens is a non-stop evolving and changing city.

2008 seems to be an important year, since many major cultural projects are reaching completion and others are about to begin. Several of them are directly linked to the projects that were planned during the city's preparation for the Olympic Games.

This article is going to be developed in seven posts, each one presenting a different project. The main information will be taken by an article published last sunday in the magazine of the newspaper "
Kathimerini", under the title "Caution, works in progress!: Architectural projects that mark the new metropolitan face of Athens". The article presents 13 major cultural projects that turned the city into a major worksite. Additional and more in depth information will derive by official websites.

First project to be presented is the completion of the building of the
National Museum of Contemporary Art at the former beer factory FIX.

The NMCA was founded in 2000 and chose FIX brewery, an important industrial modernist building [1957, architect: Takis Zenetos], as its permanent house. The building is situated at a short distance of the city's cultural and commercial center and has the necessary features that will satisfy all the spatial needs of the museum: 20.000 square meters for the permanent and periodical exhibitions, administration, archives, library, an auditorium, laboratories, an art-store, cafeteria and restaurant e.a.

The factory was deserted in the late 1970s, when the brewery moved to other premises. For years it remained abandoned, although many proposals were made for new uses of the building. Among those was the proposal for the housing of the NMCA. In 1994, the building became the property of the Attico Metro S.A., something that led to its partial demolition.

Finally, in October 29 2002, a 50 year leasing agreement was signed between Attico Metro and the NMCA, in order to make the necessary interventions to the building so that it could start functioning as a museum.
After an architectural competition [2002] , the proposal chosen was the one submitted by 3 offices: the Mouzakis & Associates Architects Ltd, 3SK Stylianidis Architects, and Tim Ronalds Architects. The proposal offered to the building a new life and a new public space: an inner court and a garden-labyrinth. The original form of the museum has been altered, since -as the architects say- the purpose was not a Fix-building museum but a contemporary art museum.

The project is expected to be completed in 2009.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Apart from having an intriguing acronym, this museum appears to be living an intriguing life.

An ethnographical museum with the personality of an art museum.
Intuitive, provocative, against stereotypes, with a critical view on things and a sense of humor.

And this is the impression I got by only visiting its site.

The story of this museum dates back to the 18th c. when the general Charles Daniel de Meuron opened his Cabinet of Curiosities to the public (1795).
In 1904 the ethnographical collection moved to the villa de Pury, and was extended two times with the addition of two other buildings (1955 and 1986).

Its collection consists of app. 30.000 objects and represents all continents.

But what is interesting is the way the museum chooses to present its collection to the public.
Although I have never visited any of them, their topics, their posters/publications seem very promising and already tickle my imagination.

And this is something to be expected by a museum that expresses its exhibition intentions in the following way.

"Exposer, c'est troubler l'harmonie. 
Exposer, c'est déranger le visiteur dans son confort intellectuel.
Exposer, c'est susciter des émotions, des colères, des envies d'en savoir plus. 
Exposer, c'est construire un discours spécifique au musée, fait d'objets, de textes et d'iconographie. 
Exposer, c'est mettre les objets au service d'un propos théorique, d'un discours ou d'une histoire et non l'inverse. 
Exposer, c'est suggérer l'essentiel à travers la distance critique, marquée d'humour, d'ironie et de dérision. 
Exposer, c'est lutter contre les idées reçues, les stéréotypes et la bêtise. 
Exposer, c'est vivre intensément une expérience collective..."

Friday, January 18, 2008

"LOVELY LANGUAGE", an exhibition at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht

Next time you go to the man's or women's toilet following the little distinctive symbol on the door, think about Otto Neurath (1882-1945) and Gerd Arntz (1900-1988).
They are the parents of a visual language that uses pictograms (=pictorial symbols for a word or phrase) as mode of communication, which led to the creation of an international visual language that balances at the frontiers of words and images.

"Words divide, images unite.."

This is Neurath's motto, and the point of departure for the Lovely Language exhibition organized at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.

The exhibition was staged as part of the Utrecht Manifest 2007, the 2nd Biennale for Social Design, and was designed by the Dutch Designer Ed Annink.

Stratos, a fellow colleague of mine got the chance to visit this exhibition during his stay in The Netherlands, and brought back the photos I post here at my blog.
I find the design of the exhibition very suitable for the topic and I like the fact that it uses all 3 dimensions as its canvas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Volcanic Museum of Nisyros, Greece

As my first post for this museum-about-blog, I would like to present the recently constructed Volcanic Museum on the island Nisyros in Greece.

This is a project realized with the initiative of the Geology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and designed-constructed by the company I work for,
Tetragon Ltd.

I think that this was one of the most fascinating projects I participated in, and this had to do not only with the topic of the museum, but also with the amazing landscape of the island itself.

Although I haven't gotten the chance yet to visit it myself, I post here some of the pictures that
Eleni Vretzaki -the project director-, and Giorgos Vougioukalakis -the scientific consultant- took during their stay there.

This is a view of the main crater
of the island known as "Stefanos"

The museum is situated in the village Nikia, where from the visitor has an exquisite view to the crater. In fact, the first picture is the actual view of Stefanos from the museum's balcony.

And these are some of the
volcanic rocks found on the island

The exhibition tries to attract tourists as well as scientists, and so it passes from a general presentation of the inner movement of the earth and the creation of volcanoes, to the greek active volcanic fields and the volcano of Nisyros.

As it is a museum that does not have that many exhibits, the whole atmosphere is created by the museographical arrangement, and the graphics. Eruptions, lava flows, dark red-brown colors, bright red, and soft beige rock colors, round earth-like shapes and metallic finishes, travel the visitor in volcanic environments and give him a very good insight of their horrific nature.

The pictures that follow below were taken right after the exhibition was set. The museum is still missing its objects that will mainly be local volcanic rocks.

The museum's official inauguration will take place in May 2008.