Hotel Design Conference in Thessaloniki

Hotel Design Conference in Thessaloniki

Author : Kiki Gkavogianni

The past weekend, 15-16 of November, a conference took place in the International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki. The theme was Hotel Design and several designers and architects explained the perspective of the architectural design in the field of tourism in Greece. The exhibition’s name was “Hotelia 2014” and there was also a second one about industrial design, Philoxenia in which six designers-architects presented their work.

In particular, they constructed one hotel room each, which was presented to public the first day. The participants were: Andreas Varotsos (industrial designer), Sotiris Lazou (industrial designer), Aspasia Taka (architect), Manolis Metridis (architect), Giorgos Pittarokilis (mechanical engineer, industrial designer) and Giannis Georgaras (industrial designer). Their projects were called – by same sequence: “My full moon project”, “My Libra project”, “My Homey Lodging project”, “My excel project”, “My Ile de ville project” and “My Olympus project”. Each of them has a unique style and represents different type of hotels.

The conference took place on Sunday 16/11, themed as “The Future of Hotel and Restaurant Design”, hosted be Six architecture offices, experienced to this field, were invited to present their work and opinions. The speeches started with Sparch | Sakellaridou / Papanikolaou Architects, in which Ms. Papanikolaou presented two major projects. The first was “Astir Palace” in Athens and the second a reuse project of an old Farm that was turned into a hotel. Both projects had a big construction, the main hotel but also small villas, bungalows. The main concept was “natural vs. artificial”.

Arch Group (Fletoridis-Giassemakis-Giassemaki) was the second office and they presented the “Grand Resort Lagonissi”, a mega structure of 850 hectares, and “Nikki Beach”, a much smaller project but of great importance, as it happens to be the first hotel of Nikki Enterprise in Greece.

Divercity is a new office in Greece, it only commenced its projects in 2004 but in four years, the founders succeeded in opening a second department in London. The project presented was “Santorini Grace Hotel”, situated in Santorini, Cyclades, Greece that was completed in 2009. The central idea was to respect and adjust to the environment and to take advantage of the natural difficulties (high inclination and hard rock), to produce a magnificent result. Following the same idea, “Kinsterna Hotel and Spa” was designed in 2010 by the same team and was also presented.

Makridis Architects are currently redefying the “philoxenia system”, the way that hospitality is adjusting to hotel design. To prove their new directions, the representatives of the firm showed a list of projects, such as the “Green 45” Hotel in Thessaloniki, the “Samothrace Luxury Spa Resort” in Samothrace and the “Alexander Beach Hotel”, all of them situated in Greece. They talked about hybrid models in which hotels combine a lot of different functions.

Next to last, was Minas Kosmidis, an architect with great experience as his firm celebrated its 30 years in 2012. The last years that economic crisis stroke Greece, the firm’s projects were mainly interior design renovations in three different categories: residence, bars and restaurants, and commercial use buildings. In the first category, the main target was for the client to feel intimate with his residence by the beginning of the design process, in the second was to present a qualitative design and in the third to create a specific branding for the products. As examples, the architect presented two restaurants in Lemessos, Cyprus, “Mediterraneo” and “Derlicious” that both combine the Mediterranean experience with its cuisine.

Finally, the last firm was A&M Architects, represented by Michalis Mauroleon, who particularize in dining areas in airports. However, Mr. Mauroleon talked about fractional ownership, a new idea in which projects can be constructed in areas that the client doesn’t have the entire ownership. There are no completed results of this new way of constructing, so he presented three examples, the “Y Hotel” in Athens, the “Q Business Hotel Park” in Cyprus and a “Summer House” in Karpathos, South Aegean Sea.

All ideas and projects presented were authentic and extremely interesting, so was the exhibition. It is always a remarkable experience to listen to architects talk about their work and these opportunities should be given more often.

About this Author : Kiki Gkavogianni