Sweet Alchemy by Stelios Parliaros designed by Stelios Kois for Kois Associated Architects. A confectionery and pastry shop in Athens, Sweet Alchemy creates an atmosphere of mystery around its many delicacies, presenting them in glass-topped cases in a space that feels a bit like a sorcerer’s workshop. Jars, bottles, bins, and trays of candy, jam, chocolate, and pastry fill the rooms, which are lit dramatically from above; abundant sunlight is refracted through a dense grid of tall metal shelves, highlighting the shop’s many unfinished-wood and concrete surfaces and the very refined sweets on display. The space awarded by theTravel+Leisure Design Awards with the title of Best Retail Space in the world.
Kois Associated Architects talk to us about this project. “The store is located in the up market suburb of Kifisia in the northern region of Athens. The client is Stelios Parliaros who is considered to be the best Patisserie in Greece, author of many culinary books and host of a very popular patisserie show in Greek TV. Alchemy a notion associated with darkness mystery and mysticism practiced in laboratories full of peculiar enigmatic devices, rare distils crystals and potions. These images were the starting point for the development of a central idea, the recreation of this atmosphere in a contemporary outtake.”
“The space is characterized by the high degree of transparency which was manipulated in order to diffuse the light and filter the optic penetration. The role of light was highly regarded and thoroughly studied since the beginning in order to create a unique solution for the particular location and user. Light and shadow change throughout the day giving the space a unique atmosphere every moment. Serenity is followed by tension and drama. The punctured bronze skin of the main facades creates the impression of the chamber of treasures, of the golden cage which encloses the precious, the rare commodity, the sin of the pleasure of the forbidden fruit. The philosophy behind the choice of materials was in tune with the philosophy of our client. Selection of the raw materials and no substitutes, Iron, bronze, copper and wood were selected for their natural characteristics and were only processed but not altered in order emulate an appearance.”
“Our purpose was not the stenographic representation of a mystic environment but the formulation of the spirit of the place, the ‘genius loci’, the atmosphere that will saturate the space and will transform it to a true place with its very own distinctive character. The sense of mythical, the mysterious discovery and the transition to an other reality were the characteristics of the ‘Sweet Alchemy’ of Mr. Parliaros and those we wanted to transfuse to the new store.”
Credits: Principal Architect: Kois Stelios || Design Team: Patsiouras Nikos, Marielina Stavrou,Filippos Manolas || Photography: Giorgos Sfakianakis