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Athens Capital Centre Hotel – M-Gallery: A lighting journey through Greek art

Posted by Sandra Brookes on 25 Jan 2022

Athens Capital Centre Hotel – M-Gallery: A lighting journey through Greek art

Art and light is a relationship that has always existed from the beginning of time: from the humble picture light to more immersive installations. Art and lighting are used throughout hotels to help accentuate the identity of their location, so the guest gets a local feel. Nowadays, art is taking centre stage in hotels more and more, attracting the interest of potential guests and passers-by and with lighting adding a new dimension to the experience. 

There are several ways of using light to accent art, and these are all been used throughout the Athens Capital Centre Hotel – M-Gallery Art. The hotel’s art was inspired by Greek culture. The hotel is at the heart of Athens in a prominent position on the corner of Parliament Square, looking towards one of Athens’ most popular tourist destinations. The Parthenon on one side and the other side looks towards the bohemian quarter Kolonaki with numerous art galleries setting the scene.


Art+light: Setting the scene:  Impact and Visibility

The hotel presents a luxurious arrival experience welcomed by a warm and vibrantly uplit façade and an arcade comprising the Gallerie Café. The arcade Café incorporates an abstract marble relief inspired by the Greek Flag and is located at the inner perimeter wall of the Café. This element is enhanced by accent lights that emphasise the form and texture by using light and shade. The marble wall introduces the excellent blend of art and architecture experienced throughout the hotel.

The ground floor public areas are a labyrinth of spaces interwoven with each other tied up by a central atrium flowing from the main entrance to the Galerie Cafe. Art is dotted around all these spaces, with lighting providing interest and focus in every corner. 

The reception is at the far end, away from the entrance, offering a sense of intimacy and exclusivity, highlighted by the subtle lighting atmosphere. This area is perfected with two paintings by Yannis Adamakos, which were highlighted with recessed spotlights, enhancing and lifting the blue hues that symbolise Greece.


Art + lighting the bedrooms: Creating intimacy

The 177 bedrooms and suites are cosy and contemporary. The luxurious materials, flexible lighting, and original artwork were chosen to add to the experience of luxury and intimacy. The interiors and art represented the Greek heritage, and the resulting fresh approach helped enhance the art within the rooms. Spotlights and traditional picture lights were used to accent all artwork exhibited.


Intimacy and art were connected via the creation of lighting scenes. At a touch of a button, the atmosphere of the room changes, and different objects are highlighted in each different scene. These scenes are governed by a control system which is essential to realise the subtlety required to create the perfect balance of lighting effects within a space. As an artist, the lighting designer uses different light levels across a space to create the desired ambience throughout the day. During the night scene, the levels were subtle, and the art was emphasised by increasing brightness, reinforcing the significance of great artistry to the MGallery brand.


Light+Art: Mappemonde:  The pièce de résistance

The pièce de résistance is located in the central atrium. The Mappemonde art piece is mounted on the entirety of the facade viewable from the main staircase, the guest rooms and roof terraces. The original Mappemonde sculpted by leading Greek artist, George Lappas, was revealed at the Venice Biennale of 1988. This consists of pieces of metal cut out of a house-shaped form at roof level and mounted horizontally on square whiteboards in a checkerboard formation. During the day, the sun casts moving shadows of the metal shapes on the square boards as the sun moves around, and the perforated house at roof level throws forms of the perforations on the surrounding terrace. However, at night a different concept was used with the 3,000 metal pieces carefully lit with colour changing floodlights producing movement and creating an explosion of shadows, textures and patterns through individually controlled white and colour changing lighting horizontally positioned throughout the length of the piece. A special effort was made for the sources to be carefully concealed from view within the building envelope, focusing on the art piece.

A journey through the Athens Capital Hotel displays a wide range of original artworks by Greek artists tying the hotel décor and feel to its roots and location. A walk through its labyrinthic spaces highlights the unique pieces which define each space through nuanced lighting with a dramatic touch focused on art. The icing on the cake is its central piece: the Mappe Monde. This piece presents a more modern take of art where the lighting is the protagonist. The experience is immersive and delivers the memorable rooted experience that this Greek hotel is renowned for.

Project Information 

Client: Accor Group
Interior Designer: MKV Design
Architect: Alexandros Masouridis
Project Managers: ECC Greece
Photographer: Gavriil Papadiotis