The large collection of the Cycladic Civilization is housed within the building of the Museum of Cycladic Art, a distinctive example of neoclassical architecture in a prominent location in the city center of Athens. The Cycladic Shop and Café of the museum were recently redesigned by the award winning firm, Kois Associated Architects, in order to correspond to the Cycladic feeling. Inspiration was drawn by the simplicity of the forms of traditional Cycladic art, creating a merge with the building’s classical character. The proposals for the new store and café of the Museum of Cycladic Art are the newest architectural interventions, which coexist with the spirit of the museum. Upon entering the ground floor, the visitor encounters the Cycladic Shop and Cycladic Café in the atrium. The layout strongly connects to the freeform layout of the ancient “agora”.
The Cycladic Shop is situated in two levels with a confrontation between introversion and extroversion. Two rectangular volumes are connected perpendicular, with the first being extroverted and the second characterized by intense introspection. In the first area, two parallel blocks develop in a vertical plane, forming a cubist landscape. The openness of the space invites the visitor to investigate further the objects of the store. A linear path guides the visitor in the successive space, instigating an introspective wandering of allusions. Simultaneously, an intangible effect differentiates the materiality and form into two surfaces. The first part is identified by a partition wall, which creates a rhythm via recessed displays. The surface of the following part emerges through the monolithic roughness that flows organically to meet the ceiling. The pace, scale and morphology of these elements refer to monolithic marble blocks of ancient Cycladic quarries and the "anamnesis" of the architectural character of the Cyclades.
Beyond the Cycladic Shop, the visitor is welcomed by the Cycladic Café, tranquil and sun-filled urban garden, with the characteristic roof screens that filter the sunlight, creating subtle shadings. The color palette and materials used derive from the natural tones and textures of the Cycladic landscape. Stone, timber, metal and glass are utilized to create an urban oasis referencing the feeling of the islands. The pinpoint of the Cycladic Café is the white canopy which refracts the light and imposes the specific Cycladic aura in the space. Kois Associated Architects was heavily influenced and guided throughout the design process from the scale, harmony and simplicity of the reinstated Thesaurus of Keros and the larger marble vessels and idols. The natural light is further accented by the thoughtful lighting design by Eleftheria Deko, while the marble benches and green wall reaching to the atrium’s ceiling is a work of doxiadis + team (Aggeliki Mathioudaki, Architect, Landscape Architect).