Lab Boutique Hotel by ArchZone architecture studio won 1st prize at the category “Interior – Commercial (Concept)” of the international competition Global Architecture & Design Awards (GADA Awards) 2019 between 2000+ entries from 40+ countries worldwide.
–text by the authors
LAB Boutique Hotel is located in Plaka, the historical center of Athens, where the Greek heart beats, and countless ancient monuments reside. It is a four-story newly constructed building, comprising the entrance, reception area, the wider lobby area, a restaurant, 18 rooms and ancillary spaces, all easily accessible to people with disabilities.
The concept borrowed its inspiration from Greek antiquity and mythology by creating structures and areas that implement elements that are reminiscent of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth, the trajectory-course (Ariadne’s thread) as well as the design of Minoan palaces.
The intricate construction of the Minoan palace of Knossos during the Neopalatial period (1700 BC) has been a semantic reference point for the construction of LAB Boutique Hotel.
Upon the visitor’s entrance, “grooves” on the floor lead him to the reception area (on the right) and the “labyrinth” installation-construction (on the left). The reception area has deliberately been designed using austere lines, giving the visitor an idea of what is to come in the other spaces. We chose the wider lobby area to set up the labyrinth installation; here the visitor is able to discover the “world” around him and is receptive to mental images and memories. We also chose to symbolize his journey via the different routes we created in this construction; as the visitor wanders and explores, he receives stimuli, which he interprets in his own way, and with a variety of emotions.
The construction of the labyrinth is a personal experience for each individual as they explore the area, come into contact with the various materials, see reflections of themselves and are led to a process of soul-searching and introspection.
We employed the geometry of the labyrinth in order to enhance the visitor’s “journey” aiming to inspire memories that are directly connected with ancient Greek history. For example, in the design of the rooms, the labyrinth either dominates the space as a visual element (two-dimensional representation) or serves a functional purpose (as a three-dimensional construction).
To illuminate the spaces, we used linear lights where appropriate, pin spotting, as well as hidden lighting, according to the functional and aesthetic needs of each space. More specifically, the lighting at the ceiling of the labyrinth construction follows the trajectory and route of the floor plan, in a more abstract way perimetrically, employing clean, circular patterns as we move towards the center. In conjunction with the labyrinth’s lit surfaces, this enhances the visitor’s experience.
The color scheme is mainly confined to earth tones. Beige (clay) dominates almost all spaces, followed by black (amphorae), white (balance), gold (sun), and finally, small touches of dark green (nature).
By attaching this particular identity to the hotel, we are also addressing the demand of a large target group – visitors who have an interest in our country’s history – through a modern prism.
Facts & Credits
Project title LAB Boutique Hotel
Competition International competition Global Architecture & Design Awards (GADA Awards) 2019 by Rethinking the Future
Category Interior – Commercial (Concept)
Awards 1st prize
Architecture studio ArchZone
Architect Zoi Antoniadi
Project construction March 2018 – May 2018
Location Plaka, Athens