Marketta is a Mediterranean cuisine-inspired bistro, located on the ground floor of a unique, iconic, modern building of the 1930s. The building, originally designed by Kidoniatis architects, is near Syntagma Square, downtown Athens Greece.

We created an interior inspired by the traditional local coffee shop ‘kafeneio’ spread around Greece, which is characterized by simplicity, functionality and originality. We also reworked and enhanced original features of the modernistic building, in order to disclose its architectural values.

The layout is organized by enhancing the transparency of the space between the street and the interior. We introduced the concept of the food preparation and the seating area to be in the same, main room. Therefore, we designed a single space in the front, where both food service and eating is taking place, while the auxiliary spaces, storage, baking room and the powder room, are all designed at the back. As a result, a gradual feeling of privacy is created as you enter the store, and you get a relaxed feeling like being in the living room of your home.

All interior furniture is custom-designed by SOUTH, based on abstract patterns of traditional utilitarian ‘kafeneio’ furniture. The major element is the piece of furniture with lower cupboards and built-in refrigerators, marble working top, backsplash surfaces and upper pedestal with open wooden and glass shelves. We extended the lower cabinet into the storefront in the form of a display fridge. On the other side we designed a full-height wooden beadboard. It serves as the back of the seating area. It gives a sense of comfort.

The steel storefront of the store is designed in response with the proportions of the landmark building. We enforced the modernistic idea of transparency, by recessing the entrance and creating a threshold, which attracts the customer and protects him at the same time. Thus, the interior is fully seen from the street and the threshold becomes the space where the customer can order and have a chat with the owner/chef.

The main color we used throughout the interior, is turquoise green combined with fresh white. We chose this color, which is vivid and original yet commonly found in traditional Cycladic coffee shops. We also set it as its brand identity color. The citron yellow shade awning works as a counterpart to the turquoise interior.

Per restoration strategy, we wanted to enhance the existing modernistic elements of the building. So we applied the Japanese restoration pottery technique “kinjuki” of reconnecting broken parts with golden glue. In Marketta, we reassembled broken and destroyed terrazzo pieces by using golden mortar glue. So the existing terrazzo becomes a precious part of the ongoing history of the place.

Interior and Graphic Design: SOUTH architecture / Eleni Livani, Chrysostomos Theodoropoulos

Team: Menandros Ioannides, Myrto Christou, Federica Scalise

Construction Supervision: SOUTH architecture / Chrysostomos Theodoropoulos

Images © Alina Lefa