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Terraced Stonewalls Sprawl Down To Offer An Exploratory Route In An Old Vineyard In Samos

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A series of terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in a 100 year old vineyard in Samos, Greece

Named Liknon, the 380-square-metre building was envisioned for wine museum developed for the Metaxa brand to connect its roots through a meandering pathway. 

The building, where it is not clear where the building begins and where it ends, takes its visitors around in an exploratory space by using the existing contours of landscape and topography.

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

To reference to the origins and roots of the brand, Greek architecture practice K-Studio aimed to accentuate and preserve the dominant feature of the terraced landscape by carving out a route along the stonewalls, and by embedding enclosures throughout. 

In order to positively project onto its future, the brand decided to take a nostalgic look back to celebrate its origins and unique product, and to highlight its most precious ingredient, the fortified sweet muscat wine.

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

This story could not be told in any other place than the very same ancient vineyard where Spyros Metaxas developed his precious spirits based on the fragrant notes of sweet muscat grapes, a specialty to the terroir of Samos. 

Spreading beneath the traditional village of Vourliotes, 800 meters from the sea level and subject to the northern meltemi wind, the vineyard sprawls down the valley on a sequence of stonewall-held plateaus. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

This man-made productive landscape was formed by collecting and artfully placing the rocks of the site in a manner that tamed the slope into terraces that could be cultivated.

Rather than creating a building, they peppered the terraced valley with structures that stitch onto, and take a cue from, the pre-existing topography in order to guide visitors through a curated, yet spontaneous experience of sensorial activations.

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

The brief for a brand home that guests could visit in order to explore the locus, the values, history and heritage of Metaxa included the intention to offer an immersive experience into the vine’s environment for a thorough understanding of the past, as well as the direction of the brand. 

The mission of the design would be to celebrate and enhance the sense of being there to enjoy the unique qualities that distinguish Metaxa and make it a spirit so complex in aromas and character. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

The story tells itself as the visitor is invited to explore the different aspects of the vineyard, from the productive processes all the way to the user's enjoyment of the goods that arrive at a well made table. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Three key structures-checkpoints - Each representing a distinct quality in the journey

TOPOS (place), a breathtaking transverse cut through the stonewalls, is an interpretation of the pre-existing paths and steps that connect consecutive terraces. 

Through a deeper cut into the landscape, the visitor is brought underground, stepping into a space filled with argillic smells of the earth. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

A highlight of the space is the cross section of the terrain through a bespoke glass opening, where one can witness the full growth of the plant, under- and over-ground, as roots and main body are revealed, along with the terrain’s layers. Here, the qualities of terroir - intrinsic in the quality of the product, become evident in a museum-like exposition.

Second stop, CHRONOS (time), a key ingredient in the aging process of the fruit after the harvest. That concept was translated into a Metaxa cellar, where special casks are kept to develop the unique products of the brand. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Visitors can taste their evolution through time and get to know the differentiated characteristics in color and taste, from the fresh grape up to years of fermentation. It is a space where one can actually sense what 40 years may feel or taste like, in a space filled with mesmerizing smells and textures.

The final stop is the Metaxa Bar, an area to relax and sample the brand's finest distillations. The outside terrace complements the experience, with its hanging pergola, woven with vines, where delicacies of Samos are generously served in order to showcase the broader culture of the handmade-craftsmanship and conviviality that infuse the Metaxa spirit.

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

The walkthrough unravels among the vines, both above and underground, close to all the elements that compose the terroir, the special conditions that define soil and plant. Throughout the journey, the building is present in different configurations around the guest - under, over, next to - subtly woven into the vineyard surroundings.

The existing language of undulating stone ribbons is extended to embrace interior spaces and courtyards that stitch subtly to their surroundings, simply by gradually modifying their scale and presence. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

By employing the original craftsmanship of stone-stacking, as seen in Samos, K-Studio managed to recreate the spontaneity of the landscape in geometry and materiality, blending into the valley with a roughness and dynamic borrowed from the natural and traditional productive landscape.

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

As the stonewalls organize and bring order by embracing the inevitable nature of the valley, they reach an unexpected crescendo, a moment of surrealism by the time the visitor exits the Metaxa bar: one of the terraces hovers over the ground, allowing for a passage and exit from the dark, underground cellar, towards the light and the dramatic view to the sea in front. This sense of lightness and uplift adds to the extraordinary accents the visitor gets to experience.

In Liknon, the vine is the protagonist, and the traditional concept of a building dissolves into a walkthrough and an exploration around the vine’s habitat. 

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Rather than a building, it is a landscape, where the visitor wanders around and under the vines’ birthplace, and submerges underground in order to get in touch with the history of the brand through an interactive experience and a series of sensory activations. 

Together with the experience in the Kifisia premises, LIKNON showcases not only the origins of Metaxa, but also the continuation and expansion of its production circle beyond its limits through experimental new products and practices, as well as the exciting exploration of the drink’s textures when it is found on a table with local goods.

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Terraced stonewalls sprawl down to offer an exploratory route in an old vineyard in Samos

Axonometric drawing

Video © Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Baumann

K-Studio is a design practice rooted in architecture, guided by a contextual approach that produces unique and immersive experiences through architecture, interior design, and hardscape design, allowing for the achievement of a holistic sense of experience across the range of spatial qualities within every project.

Project facts

Project name: Liknon

Location: Samos, Greece

Year of completion: 2022

Area: 380m2

Design team: K-Studio Design Team - Dimitris Karampatakis, Christos Spetseris, Stavros Kotsikas, Marina Leventaki, Achilleas Pliakos, Argyris Mavronikolas, Arianna Mechili, Dimitris Eleftheriadis, Myrsini Ziogou, Christina Charistou, Konstantinos Stergiopoulos, Natassa Kallou, Thalia Sachinidi, Antonis Tzortzis

3d visualisation: Bakagiannis Pavlos 

Branding designer: Daphne Stathis 

Project management: Conjekt 

Surveyor: Georgoudis Michalis, Palaiokastritis Yannis 

Planning consultant: Palaiokastritis Yannis 

Structural consultant: Elliniki Meletitiki - Aggelos Ladas

Mechanical engineer: Conap - Andreas Psaroudakis

Lighting designer: Last - Lighting Architecture Studio, Aris Klonizakis

Landscape designer: Fytron - Petsagourakis Michalis

A/V Consultant & Supplier: Panou Systems

Kitchen consultant: Xenex, Inoxland

Contractors:

Main contractor: Ballian

Metal works: Ballian, Qoop(Bar)

Wood works: Despotakis 

Window | Door frames: Orama - Tsimpikos (Aluminum), Despotakis (Wood)

Tile cladding: Ballian

Wall renders: Develime - Devetzoglou

Custom stone sinks: Kambourakis Marbles (Crete)

Custom tables: Knock - Thanasis Papapostolou

Top image © Nikos Daniilidis.

All images © Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Baumann (Breba) unless otherwise stated. 

All drawings © K-Studio.

> via K-Studio 

K-Studio museum Samos stone wine museum