Exhibition Design of ‘Athens Here And Now’

Benaki Museum Athens, Pireos Street Annex
8 June – 31 July 2011

Architect: Lina Stergiou
Collaborating architect: Aris Zambikos
Project architects team: Evelina Rempi
Chrysi Gousiou, Antonis Chazapis
Lighting: Diathlasis – Architectural Lighting

Athens Here and Now exhibition presents in 5 installation booths the outcomes of the 5 respective academic workshops, which dealt with current urban and social issues of the city of Athens. With wall video projections it also documents the respective urban actions that took place in downtown Athens.

Athens Here and Now along with Ethics/Aesthetics and Slow Down Rooms form the exhibition series of AAO: Ethics/Aesthetics with 32 exhibits and surface area of 1200 sqm.

Design principles of AAO: Ethics/Aesthetics:

1. Organizing the Benaki Museum groundfloor gallery into three spaces, one for each exhibition.

2. Creating a linear movement passing through the three exhibitions so as to allow visitors read the continuous thematic narrative of the first (Ethics/Aesthetics), seeing related experimental student work in the second (Athens Here and Now), and relaxing in the art environment of the third (Slow Down Rooms). Before exiting, the space was designed for performance actions.

3. Presenting each exhibit in an autonomous unit with dimensions 2,5m (W) x 2,5m (D) X 2,5m (H). The unit’s fourth vertical wall leans on floor, creating the entrance and taking on it the information about it.

4. Each unit, while of standard dimensions, presents variations so to allow the display of diverse types of exhibits: units without ceiling allow the display of objects, others with a ceiling form enclosed cubicles and allow video projections, and others without side walls allow installations being highlighted.

Design Challenges of AAO: Ethics/Aesthetics:

1. A low budget (25 Euros/sqm) and a quick assembling of the exhibition (5 working days for 1200 sqm). These challenges are met by the decision to aim at a rough and rusty aesthetic quality, which reflects the content and philosophy of the exhibitions, as well as to work with standardized parts and pieces.

2. The three exhibitions include architecture, art and design works presented through videos, installations, objects and print-out panels. This diversity presented the challenge of finding the way in which a single concept could unfold, and a unified experience be achieved, yet with a controlled degree of diversity between the three exhibitions. Therefore, main decision is to base the design on one strong element, the Unit, that unifies all the exhibits. Its variations allow a different experience in each exhibition, but also let the different types of exhibits be highlighted.

Design principles of Athens Here and Now :

1. To arrive at a central space, with video projections of the urban pilot actions (see related post), around which the five Athens Here and Now exhibition booths are  organized.
2. To present each University workshops’ projects in an autonomous unit, i.e. a white box, that allows entering inside. Entrance walls of the unit lean on the floor, and take on them information about each exhibit.

Materials: recyclable floating screed, chip-board, ecological white paint,
recycled after the closing of the exhibition.

Works result from workshops of AAO project with 1. PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN (Instructors: Lydia Matthews, Michael Morris, Lina Stergiou, Radhika Subramaniam). Installation design: Michael Morris; 2. ATHENS SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS / MASTERS PROGRAM IN DIGITAL ARTS (Instructors: Vicky Betsou, Lina Stergiou). Installation design: workshop participants; 3. SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS (Instructors: Konstantinos Moraitis, Lina Stergiou). Installation design: workshop participants; 4. DPT. OF ARCHITECTURE, UNIVERSITY OF THESSALY (Instructors: Nadia Kalara, Maria Papadimitriou, Lois Papadopoulos, Giorgos Tzirtzilakis). Installation design: workshop participants; 5. UNIVERSITY PARIS 8 / CITU RESEARCH CENTER OF PARAGRAPH LABORATORY (Instructors: Maurice Benayoun, Robin Gareus, Lina Stergiou). Installation design: workshop participants. Workshops’ director: Lina Stergiou

Works by Vicky Betsou, Ioanna Agelopoulou, Assimina Assimakopoulou, Maria Dimopoulou, Vasiliki Filipou, Nefeli Georgakopoulou, John Karpouzis, Vangelis Katikaridis, Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Andonis Kourkoulos, Polina Kyritsopopoulou, Eleni Lomvardou, Eleanna Martinou, Nikos Mitilinios, Maria Papavasiliou,  Aristotelis Giorgos Sofianopoulos, Emilios Theofanous, Andonis Panayotis Tomaras, Panagiotis Voulgaris, group of participants in ARSIS photography, and “The New Solidarity,” National Association of Children with Mental Disability-Blindness-Paraplegics.

Photos: Dimitris Giannoulakis

Longlist WIN Awards 2015, Museum and Exhibition Spaces

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See related ‘Urban Pilot Actions’ and visit for more videos and photos AAO website