Leonidas Trampoukis, 39, who, along with his wife, Eleni Petaloti, also 39, runs the architecture office LOT and the design firm Objects of Common Interest, was also in the crowd. The couple have for some time worked out of a studio in Brooklyn but five years ago opened another in central Athens. It was the idea of being closer to their preferred makers and fabricators that drew them to Greece. Now, they are building a production studio in an 8,000-square-foot former factory a few blocks northeast of Rodeo that will focus on a unique technique for casting acrylic. “We were looking everywhere for a big, affordable raw industrial space and we decided on Piraeus because of the vibe and the community,” Trampoukis explained. They hope to collaborate with local makers, experiment with larger-scale work and possibly fabricate pieces for other designers and artists.
This month, a solo show of their sculptural wood-and-acrylic tube lights is up at Carwan, an avant-garde design gallery that relocated last year from Beirut to a late-19th-century commercial warehouse next door to Rodeo. Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, 41, who co-owns the space with his business partner, the French architect Quentin Moyse, 33, had been contemplating Athens as a possible home for the gallery since visiting the city during Documenta; he found that the industrial architectural landscape and the animated, transitory atmosphere of Piraeus, in particular, reminded him of Beirut’s port. “We were very fortunate that we moved out at the end of 2019 before the explosion there,” said Bellavance-Lecompte, “but we already felt a crisis coming and at the same time, our client base was becoming more and more global.” Collectors have found Greece easier to reach than Lebanon, and shipping works in and out of the country has proved more straightforward.