Location: Mykonos, Greece
Status: Completed 2019
Photography: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann
K-STUDIO is a design practice rooted in Architecture. Our contextual approach produces unique and immersive experiences through Architecture, Interior, and Hardscape Design, allowing us to achieve a holistic sense of experience across the range of spatial qualities within every project.
This approach is applied to any scale of the project and allows us to treat larger-scale, more complex works as collections of smaller studies, creating expansive systems for design with greater clarity, definition, and attention to detail. We are a creative studio of architects and interior designers based in central Athens.
Our home is Greece, a country of incredible natural beauty and resources, where the cultural identity is founded upon being outside and making good, economic use of local skills, materials, and agriculture to provide nourishing hospitality to visitors from near or far. We create crafted architectural experiences that are informed by tradition, enriched by materiality, and inspired by contemporary life.
We do not like a waste. We make minimal interventions that use minimal resources and always prefer to work with the elements to create comfort that is naturally luxurious. Our expertise is instinctive and is applied to projects of various programs.
But over the years through academic research and practical experience, we have evolved to specialize in the design and realization of projects within the leisure industry. Enjoyment is paramount in determining the success of our designs, from private holiday homes to restaurants, bars, hotels, and resorts. But it was also the driving force behind the recently completed designs of 2 larger-scale projects: a marina on the Turkish coast, and the refurbishment of Mykonos Airport.
We work collaboratively with highly experienced and knowledgeable teams to enrich and expand our services and results. Over time we have nurtured and continue to nurture our valued relationships with companies such as WATG, Tombazis & Associate Architects, Betaplan S.A., ISV Architects, and Lambs and Lions.
We have enjoyed working with and learning from the vastly experienced and knowledgeable teams of clients such as Four Seasons and O & O in Athens, and TEMES in the Peloponnese. We have also been invited to bring our contextual approach to international projects in destinations as varied as Israel, Qatar, Panama, and Kuala Lumpur.
Wherever we go our ethos remains the same: to build strong identities and architectural narratives that use the local context in balance with contemporary aspirations to elevate and enrich the user’s enjoyment.
Sitting on the ridge of the hill of Aleomandra in Mykonos yet almost entirely hidden from view, Villa Mandra looks straight out to sea and the sunset over the neighboring island of Delos. A 6-bedroom holiday house built for a young, dynamic couple to enjoy with their family and friends, it celebrates its spectacular view from a grounded viewpoint blended into a sensitively landscaped, stone-walled garden that screens it from the road behind.
The house is built upon the idea of slow, laid-back summer living, and encourages mindful connection with family, and friends and the freedom to exist peacefully in nature. Form follows emotion rather than function, as every space becomes another opportunity for rest, reflection, and exploration.
To create a house that would allow guests to enjoy being outside throughout the day we needed to filter the overwhelming intensity of the climate by providing shade and protection from the elements. And although the house needed to accommodate a large number of guests we didn’t want to dominate the landscape with oversized volumes.
Inspired by the humble complexity of the traditional island vernacular we reduced the architecture to 2 small traditionally whitewashed volumes and a third of stone dug from the site, built around a large ‘courtyard’ living area which is covered by an expansive but lightweight chestnut pergola.
This courtyard becomes the focal point of the house, seamlessly connected to the living room and kitchen volumes and looking over the pool and gardens beyond. Beneath the pool garden are the private bedrooms, separated for privacy and quietly enjoying the uninterrupted view over the lower garden to the sea. Their separation further reduces the overall impact of the house and cleanly divides social and private space.
Key to the character of the house is the palette of traditional materials such as lime-wash, stone, and wood that have been applied and engineered with contemporary techniques to create un-nostalgic architecture that bridges heritage and locality with contemporary life. Hand-built stone walls are sharply confident; traditionally rendered, round-edged volumes are perfectly flat and smooth.
The customary chestnut pergola has been engineered to increase its structural integrity, to form a glue-lam beam lattice that sits lightly on the white volumes, shading and protecting the extensive courtyard beneath.
The simple white volumes, straight stone walls , and light pergola planes sit comfortably in the Cycladic landscape and the efficiency of their layout centered around the courtyard living space streamlines daily life. Villa Mandra is informed by humble Cycladic tradition, enriched by natural materiality, and inspired by contemporary summer living.