THE HOTEL New Hotel, in Plaka at the heart of old Athens, is an astonishing work of art. All 79 rooms and suites engage their guests with vivid, off-the-wall installations. A rooftop lounge offers panoramic views over the historic city. Overseen by Greek art collector Dakis Joannou, and with interiors by Brazil's famous Campana brothers, the hotel is a true Gesamt-kunstwerk, bringing all the senses in an intensified visual, tactile, and somatic interaction with the objects, structures, and materials. MADE BY ORIGINALS One of the most powerful figures in contemporary art, Greek Cypriot Dakis Joannou has amassed one of the most important collections of postwar and contemporary artists. Joannou began collecting art in the mid-1980s after making his fortune expanding his family’s construction business in the Middle East, North Africa, and southern Europe. Through his DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Joannou frequently mounts exhibits, and gives awards to support emerging artists. He is active in the Greek hospitality industry through the luxury boutique chain Yes!Hotels, which includes the Semiramis, designed by Karim Rashid, and Periscope Hotel in central Athens. ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN Formerly The Olympic Palace Hotel, this Modernist 1950’s building in central Athens was first designed by Iasonas Rizos and has been given a daring makeover in the form of New Hotel. An inspired collaboration between hotel owner and art collector, Dakis Joannou, and Brazilian visionaries, the Campana brothers, the design process took the form of a workshop together with design and architecture students from University of Thessaly, resulting in recycling furniture pieces of the former hotel, while adding the Campana’s handmade chairs and lamps — a blend of art, sculpture, and design. Joannou adds to the spectacle by liberally dotting corridors and communal spaces with contemporary art from his vast collection.
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