Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Graphic Designer & Illustrator, Elena Zournatzi

It occurred to me recently that I have not shared many details with you about my trip to Greece this past August, that feels like so long ago. This frigid day feels like a perfect one to travel to warm, sunny Greece, if only in our minds.

One of the stand out moments of the trip was visiting the new Acropolis Museum which opened in July. It is almost more awe-inspiring then climbing to the top of the Acropolis. I can't even begin to imagine the overwhelming responsibility the Bernard Tschumi architects must have felt when they set out to design a museum that honors the Acropolis and sits just 300 meters from it (check out the reflection of the Parthenon in the glass windows of the top level).

The New Acropolis Museum

The top floor of the museum,
The Parthenon Gallery, offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Acropolis and modern Athens. This floor, which is made up of the rectangular Parthenon Gallery arranged around an indoor court, has exactly the same dimensions as the cella of the Parthenon and orients these marbles exactly as they were placed at the Parthenon centuries ago.

The New Acropolis Museum

It's incredible to be so close reliefs, statues, pottery, etc from the 5th century BC that you could reach out and touch it; but of course you can't actually touch it because there are museum guards stalking the place. But it is all there, just an arms length away, with no ropes or glass standing between you and all of that history. All of the articles inside the museum, including the pediments and frieze from the Parthenon, are the real deal. The government decided to remove the statues and marbles from the Acropolis and house them within the museum to prevent and further decay caused by the weather. The created replicas of the statues and placed these replicas on the Acropolis site.

The New Acropolis Museum

I can go on all about how much I loved the museum, I was practically walking around with my jaw hanging open, but what I really wanted to share with you today was the work of Greek graphic designer Elena Zournatzi. What does she have to do with the new Acropolis Museum, you ask? Elena created many of the designs you see on products sold in the museum gift shop. I know you might be rolling you eyes when you hear museum gift shop but trust me the stuff is amazing.

Elena Zournatzi

I was really wowed by the items sold at the museum shop. It lacks the cheesy plastic magnets and pens that you would expect to see and instead contains some really beautiful pottery, mugs, dishes, scarves, and jewelry. I wish I was able to find a better photo of the dishes because they were my favorite items in the shop. I love how Elena was able to take such classic designs and create really modern tableware. I also loved her representation of the Caryatid's braid for the back of the t-shirts. I really wish I snagged one of those.

Hermes Windows Athens

In addition to her work for the museum, Elena also created the windows for Hermes in Athens which contain her whimsical illustrations representing Greek folklore. She has also created these great wallpaper patterns inspired by regions and islands of Greece.

Elena Zournatzi Wallpaper

Elena Zournatzi Wallpaper

Elena Zournatzi Wallpaper

I'm always super interested to learn about designers living Greece because I hope to spend much more time there but I am really not familiar with the Greek design aesthetic. If you know of any Greek designers, interior, graphics, or otherwise, please pass their information along to me.

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Photo Credits: All illustrations courtesy of Elena Zournatzi's website, Photos of the Acropolis Museum courtesy of Me

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