Περίπτερο, Athens

A disappearing act.

Periptero is the name of a small kiosk, a commercial activity very widespread in Greek cities. Over time they have become real shops with a wide range of products for sale, even if their survival is precarious. They are fragile presences characterized by invisible, ephemeral, milky architecture. Luminescent at night. An archipelago of small islands in the sea of city traffic. It wants to underline the beauty of this spontaneous Greek architecture and its particular ability to disappear while remaining a point of reference, a meeting place and orientation. A ripple in the flow of visual information, of messages, in the material and immaterial density of urban space. It becomes an architecture with a symbolic function, a metaphor for its own evanescent and lucid quality. A fundamental dimension for the architecture of public space more generally which must be sensitive and shine a light on the different aspects of reality: the physical but also the invisible side.

Published in Athens Voice HOME MAG (text in english)

In the logic of reclaiming the green and public space of the city, this pavilion does not “simply lower its blinds” when it closes, it sinks entirely into the earth, handing over the space of its roof to the residents. On its planted roof, a bench and a light with an on-off switch, a potential garden that hides and reveals a… surprise: under the greenery there is a pavilion… It “sprouts” through the earth when it opens and performs its usual function. An otherwise classic stand, a familiar image. With one more peculiarity: de-materialization. The city thus acquires a pavilion – a piece of furniture that, when not in use, is withdrawn. It is transformed into a valuable urban void, a green space, a meeting and resting place. Sometimes a homeless person sleeps on its bench…

In the morning, the stand rises. A little event each time. It can’t help but elicit a smile from the passer-by when it appears or disappears: The magic of a plumbing system and some greenery.