Pink Varnish Puts a Playful Spin on a Brutalist Apartment in Athens

Architecture firm AKA softened the concrete living spaces with a powdery hue punctuated by a "petrol blue" stair.

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Project Details:

Location: Athens, Greece

Architect: AKA / @aka.archs

Footprint: 2,150 square feet

Builder: 2Build

Photographer: Alina Lefa / @alinalefa

From the Architect: "The aim of this renovation was to create warm multifunctional spaces for a young family throughout the two floors of a characteristically brutalist duplex apartment, while embracing the existing features and geometries of the floor plans. The dominant materials are industrial in nature: exposed concrete walls and ceilings, hardwood floors, and strong metallic elements.

"The apartment is composed of two floors and a rooftop garden. The lower floor hosts the family’s living quarters (a large primary suite and two children’s bedrooms with auxiliary spaces), while the upper floor is an open plan living area, organically composed of various seating and dining spaces, and an open kitchen. A winding concrete staircase guides visitors from the main entrance on the lower floor to the more public upper floor, while a floating metal staircase offers a connection to the rooftop terrace.

"The first major intervention involved the application of a veil of translucent varnish onto the previously gray concrete throughout all spaces, offering levity to a traditionally heavy material. An aqua blue was selected for the lower floor, and a light pink for the upper floor. The treatment successfully transformed the overall atmosphere of the household, adding a touch of playfulness.

"The incorporation of custom woodwork was the second major intervention, focusing on the living space of the upper floor. On the upper level, the building’s concrete skeleton was strategically encased in geometrically complex and aesthetically pleasing wooden elements, offering a sense of warmth and dash of color. Echoing the lines of the concrete beams, a series of wooden bookcases were hung from the ceiling.

"Metal elements throughout the spaces were also treated for better incorporation into the new color scheme: bookshelves, railings, and the floating staircase were painted petrol blue. The application of mirrors against the staircase wall multiplied the impact of this poetic central piece.

"Several pieces of furniture were also designed and constructed. The circular kitchen table, made of wood with different varnishes, was designed with a small inbuilt storage bin for the children’s toys. The dining table, composed of linear light blue and wooden surfaces, was topped with a fabric pendant light that was designed as a playfully oversized lampshade."

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