«I was always thinking like an Architect. I never doubted that I will become one.»
Kostis: I am Kostis Benning, half greek and half german, born in 1989 in Athens, Greece and now live in Berlin. I studied architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and the Technical University of Berlin. After my studies I worked for ALAS Architects in Berlin and after that I started working as a freelancer.
Yannis: My name is Yannis Mantzaris, I am a product & industrial designer living in Athens, I’m currently working for Enlite Vision & KK Jewelry Lab.
Lara: I am Lara Niovi Vartziotis, I am also half Greek and half German and I recently moved to London to study at the Design Research Lab of the Architectural Association and at the same time I do my PhD at the National Technical University of Athens. Before moving to London, I worked in Berlin and did my bachelor and masters in architecture in the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe.
Kostis: When I was in school I enjoyed art classes and science classes as well. When I had to decide what I wanted to study, I thought that being an architect might be the combination of these two worlds.
Yannis: My way to design was a transition from one subject to another, learning everything that drew my attention and inspired me, an attempt to know and to collaborate with as many people as possible with a main goal: solving problems.
Lara: I was always thinking like an Architect. I never doubted that I will become one.
Kostis: To serve social and human needs, to be honest to its purpose, to its construction and materiality, to create atmospheres that are needed, wanted or not even imagined so it can improve our lives.
Yannis: To satisfy, but also to contribute, by critically articulating the needs of people.
Lara: Anyone can find a different meaning in Architecture. For me, Architecture has to be for the people.
Kostis: I was never good at choosing “masters”, I always preferred the collective spirit. My first and still biggest inspiration is the Bauhaus generation that managed to create such a holistic and social methodological approach to architecture and design, that is still unsurpassed. After that I started admiring Tadao Ando a lot, a man that managed to introduce the eastern spirituality to minimalist architecture and the swiss architects, especially Peter Zumthor, for their honest materialities and incredible atmospheres.
Yannis: In the last century, many designers were tolerated under the title of designer stars, forgetting about the essence of design. In our days by following blindly market trends, we forget about why and for whom we design. So, no masters for me as well, only bright moments of humans who are able to change the way you see the world. The list is endless, Victor Papanek, Tadao Ando, Herman Hertzberger, Stavros Stavridis …
Lara: In 5 years I will probably be able to give you an answer.
Kostis: To never stop trying and to keep an open mind. Especially in architecture and design, you never know what will each moment bring.
Yannis: Understand and redefine the true needs of the people for which you design. To draw with your heart and not just with your mind.
Lara: After my Master Presentation my professor Daniele Marques told me: “Lara, design.”
Kostis: Why do you design?
Yannis: Can you imagine Design 20 years from now?
Lara: Could you imagine yourself without architecture?
While working on the competition for the renovation of The Circus Hostel we wanted to bring together a contemporary minimalist approach to design and the atmosphere of a circus. We got inspired by the existing color concept of the hostel, as well as the forms, the curtains the hanging elements of the tents of the circuses and brought these images together with black and white, geometrical furniture and objects. This way we created an atmosphere that is cool and cozy, urban and dreamy at the same time.
By Kostis Benning, Yannis Mantzaris, Lara Vartziotis
Light Design by Orestis Gouvas