MYKONOS – LoT – an architecture studio led by Leonidas Trampoukis and Eleni Petaloti – recently completed Guilty Beach, a luxury club on the coast of Mykonos, Greece. Preceded by a long (and decadent) history of hospitality design in Mykonos, LoT paid homage to the island’s iconic architecture in this pared down interpretation of a beach club. They approached the project by ‘stripping the beach club typology of its artificial embellishments to rediscover an essential Greek spirit’.
Mykonos’ vernacular architecture incorporates elements of ‘cool’ design comprised of white walls, shading devices and perforated screens which improve people’s comfort in the hot climate by increasing cool surfaces, shade and air movement around them. LoT use similar ‘cool’ materials, design elements and visual techniques in Guilty Beach, from marble table-tops, to steel mid-century sun shades and crisp blue pool water, which when combined, create a refreshing and sophisticated scene. Aside from their cooling effects and reference to traditional Mykonos building, materials also manipulate spatial perception by creating visual filters and adding complexity to an otherwise simple design. Leonidas answered a few questions about these and other Guilty Beach design decisions:
In space design, ‘luxury’ usually translates into separation, creating ‘exclusivity’ by keeping groups apart. Guilty Beach has quite a dense layout, the mini-cabanas are close together with no visual separation. Would you say this project was redefining the spatial language of luxury?
LT: Guilty Beach is above all a social space. The simplicity of the setting leaves room for a full experience of the club’s hospitality, flavours, and exclusive service. This is our definition of luxury, it challenges preconceived notions of what a beach club should be. It gives room for and urges interaction.
You’ve spoken about ‘permeable boundaries’, ‘porous boundary conditions’ and creating ‘a sense of interiority outside’ in Guilty Beach. What interests you about blurring the lines between spaces?
LT: It’s an interest in designing quality spaces that enhance social interaction and an appreciation of the immediate context. Interiority outside as a concept stems from previous explorations of ours and is an ongoing study. It may not always be about porosity but also about enclosure and transparency, volume and sensitive gesture. The Aegean Sea islands offer a unique setting to explore the relationships between indoor and outdoor, nature and artifice, shadow and light. The strong contrast between land and water and the visual continuity between inside and outside is what blurs the lines in this case and situates the project within its physical and social context.
Guilty Beach’s champagne room, shop and DJ booth could be described as pieces of super furniture, which – in Jimenez Lai’s conception – are objects ‘too small to be a building, too big to be a couch’. Do you consider these objects as independent architectural entities or simply as elements in the composition?
LT: Yes, they are independent architectural entities. We play with the idea of temporary pop-up shops and elements that can have their own language and are fun, but somehow fit in the overall scheme. These are unique points of attraction that appear as surprising elements for the guest within the overall simplicity. They are in formal contrast with the rest of the setting and through light effects, create an interesting atmosphere in the evenings.
And finally, why ‘Guilty’ Beach?
LT: That’s the name the clients chose. I guess it’s a Lord Byron ‘Pleasure's a sin’ sort of thing... It’s a relaxed place, free of pretentiousness. An authentic place.