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Art & Light -Athens Capital Center Hotel - MGallery

Posted by Lighting Design International on 29 Jun 2022

Art & Light - By Sandra Brookes

Athens Capital Centre Hotel - M-Gallery: A lighting journey though Greek Art and Light is a relationship that has always existed from the beginning of time: with the humble picture light to more immersive installations. Art and lighting are used throughout hotels to help accentuate the identity of their location, so the guest gets a more local feel. Nowadays art is taking centre stage in hotels more and more, attracting interest of potential guests and passers-by, with lighting adding a new dimension to the experience. There are several ways of using light to accent art and these are all been used throughout the Athens Capital Centre Hotel – M-Gallery art. The hotel’s art was Inspired in the Greek culture, located at the heart of Athens in a prominent position, just on the corner of Parliament Square. It looks out towards one of Athens’ most popular tourist destination - the Parthenon. The other side viewing The Bohemian Quarter of Kolonaki, which is home to numerous art galleries that truly set the scene.

Art + Light: Setting the scene: Impact and Visibility

The hotel presents a luxurious arrival experience welcomed by a warm and vibrantly up lit façade accompanied with an arcade comprising the ‘Gallerie Café’. The arcade café incorporates an abstract marble relief, inspired by the Greek Flag that is located at the inner perimeter of the cafes wall. This element is enhanced by accent lights that emphasise both the form and texture by using light and shade. The marble wall is an introduction to the beautiful blend of art and architecture that is experienced throughout the hotel. The ground floor public areas are a labyrinth of spaces, interwoven with each other and tied up by a central atrium flowing from the main entrance to the Galerie Cafe. Art is dotted around all these spaces with lighting providing an interest and focus on every corner. The reception is at the far end, away from the entrance, offering a sense of intimacy and exclusivity, which is highlighted by the subtle lighting atmosphere. This area is perfected with two paintings by Yannis Adamakos, which were illuminated with recessed spotlights, enhancing, and lifting the blue hues which are a symbol of Greece.

Art + Light: The bedrooms: Creating intimacy

The 177 bedrooms and suites are cosy and contemporary. Luxurious materials, flexible lighting and the addition of original artwork were chosen to add even further to the experience of luxury and intimacy. The interiors and art represented the Greek heritage with the resulting fresh approach enhancing the art within the rooms. Spotlights and traditional picture-lights were used to add accent to all artwork exhibited. Intimacy and art are beautifully connected via the creation of lighting scenes. At a touch of a button the atmosphere of the room changes, and different objects are highlighted in each different scene. These scenes are governed by a control system which is essential to appreciate the subtlety required to create the perfect balance of lighting effects within a space. Like an artist, the lighting designer uses different combinations of light levels across a space to create the desired ambience throughout the day. During the night scene the levels are subtle, and the art emphasized by increasing brightness, reinforcing the significance of great artistry to the MGallery brand.

Light + Art: Mappemonde: The pièce de résistance

The pièce de résistance is located in the central atrium. The Mappemonde art piece is mounted on the entirety of the façade, viewable from the main staircase, the guest rooms and roof terraces. The original Mappemonde sculpted by leading Greek artist, George Lappas, was revealed on the Venice Biennale of 1988. This consists of pieces of metal cut out of a house shaped form at roof level and mounted horizontally on square white boards in a checkerboard formation. During the day the sun casts a moving shadow of the metal shapes on the square boards, as it moves around and the perforated house. At roof level, it casts shapes of the perforations on the surrounding terrace. However, at night a different concept was used with the 3,000 metal pieces carefully lit with colour changing floodlights, producing movement, and creating an explosion of shadows, textures, and patterns through individually controlled white and colour changing lighting, which was horizontally positioned throughout the length of the piece. A special effort was made for the sources to be carefully concealed from view within the building envelope focusing on the art piece. A journey through the Athens Capital Hotel displays a wide range of original artworks by Greek artists, tying the hotel décor and feel to its roots and location. A walk through its labyrinthic spaces highlights the amazing pieces which define each space through nuanced lighting, massively due to a dramatic touch focused in art. The icing on the cake is its central piece: The Mappe Monde. This piece presents a more modern take on art, where the lighting is the protagonist and the experience is immersive, delivering the rooted memorable experience that this Greek Hotel is renowned for.