Ah Greece! With it’s crystal clear waters, striking natural backdrops, and heart-warming culture, it continues to draw those with a romantic and adventurous spirit. For centuries, Greek architecture and art has influenced design. From the iconic columns that adorned ancient Greek temples to popular decorative motifs like the meander, the Greek style is one that conjures up old world charm and modern simplicity.
1. What is special or distinctive about Greek architecture?
Well, although it is a considerably small country, the geographical and environmental diversities throughout Greece are very distinctive. Thus the architectural types are very unique from place to place. For example, the mountainous forest north has significant differences from the stark desert like south. The whitewashed masses with the small openings on the Cyclades islands are probably the most typical design one can connect with Greece.
2. How does the environment of Greece influence the way interiors are designed? (colors, materials, lighting, etc.)
As mentioned, the weather verifications from north to south are quite broad and so is the traditional architecture of each place. You will find stone roofs in Central Greece for example that protect from built up snow. On the other hand, the extremely small openings and the narrow alleys on the islands like the one above protected the indoors from the harsh sun and the strong winds as well as from the pirates that often invaded the villages.
3. What are the recent trends in design in Greece?
I love to see the creative approach of many new designers on traditional accents, from home and personal accessories to architectural forms, materials and elements. The casual breezy works of Marilena Rizou are an excellent example.
4. Do you have favorite Greek art or artist that you admire?
5. You feature gorgeous spaces in your site Grecian Paradise, which strikes you the most?
Well, I have to admit I’m always drooling over the gorgeous hotels in Santorini and Mykonos I post about. It pains me to look and write about them, but never actually see them from up close.
6. What inspired you to start that blog?
I used My Paradissi as a creative outlet during a time when I was not sure where my life was heading. I had just quit my 9-5 architectural job in Athens and came back to Crete to start my own business. I knew I didn’t want to land myself on a mainstream, often non-creative, architectural business and the financial crisis that Greece went through that time (and still is) unexpectedly helped me a lot on that. There weren’t any clients that actually wanted to build a house at that time, so I had to figure out what to do with my flooding creativity. Therefore My Paradissi was born.
7. How has Greek architecture evolved?
Oh, well that’s a really long answer since architecture has been one of the first arts to be developed in ancient Greece thousands of years ago. There are still remnants of ancient greek buildings, in forms of ruins most of them, as well as characteristic examples of Byzantine architecture, like temples and churches, mixed inside the contemporary face of the cities. Unfortunately, due to various social and economical factors, the mass production of concrete buildings after the WW2 has led to a distorted view of the classical and user-friendly layout of the major cities.
8. Do you have a favorite home accessory that is Greek made?
Yes! I love my handmade ceramic plates and bowls bought from local potters. Also, I swear by my grandmothers hand loomed colorful woolen kilims that has followed my family and me for decades now.
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[image credit: My Paradissi, Grecian Paradise]