Located on the ground floor of Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre in Athens, 48 Urban Garden opens onto a bright, lush garden, featuring a sculptural multi-level wooden landscape.
Due to the large scale of the restaurant, AK-A wanted to play with different levels of the floor, seating and tables to create a richer, more complex experience. The fresh environment, for visitors who can eat or drink and hang out in a variety of settings, both interior and the exterior, creates smaller niches which can easily be combined to accommodate bigger groups.
The previous restaurant that existed in this space used the outside as a pool so AK-A left the height changes and the bottom of the beige pool untouched, which had an interesting texture due to the pebbles it used to have. Guests can now meander through the garden where one can sit on the high steps, picnic tables, bar stools, lounge chairs or decks.
Outside, white and dark wood were used, but AK-A also added Heraklith for sound proofing on the walls, which looks like light coloured bark or thatched hay.
The adjacent space is enveloped in a vast, whitewashed wall composed of angled bricks stacked. This was the result of an intense experimentation with patterns and materials and creates a changing 3D pattern, depending on your viewpoint.
A large 16-person wooden table (popular for parties) is near the bar area, and higher tables line the back wall allowing visitors a range of different seating options.
The white metal sheet on the façade of the bar was punched in a custom pattern of alternating circles and stylised crosses, which is highlighted by the vibrant green painted behind the metal layer. AK-A said “We wanted to enliven the space by giving it a 3D quality, which also changes according to your viewpoint.”
Artificial ivy covers the walls, ceiling and oversized wooden bench, with chairs facing the garden to create a surreal space. The use of strings of light ‘warm’ the atmosphere, which is crisp and clean due to the colour palette of lime green, olive and white.
All the lighting fixtures were custom designed and constructed by AK-A. Two lighting fixtures were custom made by the studio especially for this project: the 48 AmaLight which was used above the bar, and the 48 OctoLight, which was repeated in the bar space.
The light and casual atmosphere of the garden is transferred to the restaurant’s interior spaces, where strings of bare light bulbs were used outside, and in the interior’s double height space, to give the restaurant a consistent, casual, outdoors feel.
The wooden tabletops were painted pale yellow and light blue with dark grey marble on the floor which gives the space an outdoor, ‘sidewalk’ feel.
Images © Nikos Alexopoulos