Athens is a vibrant city with countless bars and cafes lining almost every central street, square, and pavement. Amid these ubiquitous but often characterless cafeterias in the high-end Kolonaki district, IT Cafe stands out as exceptional, thanks to its elementary simplicity and hybrid scheme, which was elaborated by the architects in collaboration with the clients.
The design utilises inventive architectural solutions that add character but also meet the requirements of a tight budget. The cafe doubles as a venue for presentations and exhibitions and has an interior made entirely out of compressed wood chip boards, creating a space that resembles a piece of flat-pack furniture. This idea was inspired by the humble but practical crates used to deliver food to restaurants. The packing crates allude to food markets and urban mobility and provide an architectural inventory capable of responding to the changing needs of the space. The rough, unfinished textures lend the space a casual informality, inviting everyone to participate as if dining were a collective play or group show. Wooden stud frames make a spectacle of mundane storage and provide flexible shelving whilst the horizontal glass storefront brings in natural light and encourages a dialogue with passers-by. The use of glass, juxtaposed with the wood and brick of the existing building, highlights the simple design of the interior.
Whilst using low cost materials, the space delivers an architectural experience that is elegant and structurally clever. The result is an environment that is inviting, unpretentious and stimulating at the same time.