This project is located in Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, in the Nafsika Hotel pool area, with part of it positioned in front of the hotel building, parallel to the pool and looking to the sea, and the other placed perpendicular to it, in an L-shape cornering the pool and closer to the sea. The first structure, closest to the hotel, is the restaurant and bar for which we were asked to provide seating for 180 covers arranged in zones of lounge, low dining and standard dining. Four Seasons’ operators wanted this place to be as much a place of relaxation as it would be a restaurant and bar.
We wanted the identity of the spaces to be a continuation of the modernist architecture of the existing hotel building, an emblematic building with a strong orthogonal grid. We used this grid as a guide to zoning the spaces and extended it within our building, placing a pergola on top of it to create free-flowing space below and alongside the pool, and avoiding any competition with the building behind it. The white aluminium pergola respects the grid and integrates with the linear, orthogonal identity of the building. Making the pergola of aluminium allows it to withstand the abrasive seafront environment but also means it is visually a lot lighter than the building, like a sketch over it. This pergola quickly became a sequence of pergolas with varied heights to allow a distinction between each and creating the opportunity to create zones beneath them.
We established two cores: a food bar and a drinks bar. These two attraction points have different types of seating either side of them and a free-flowing circulation and visual connection between them, showcasing the artful creation and presentation of food and drink that is a signature of the Four Seasons brand.
The floor divides the grid of the pergolas in half, creating smaller areas at varying heights to allow for cosiness within the openness. So whilst the pergola connects space, the floor separates it. A sequence of hanging curtains creates an ephemeral boundary between the zones, adds playful animation to the spaces and a soft sense of privacy. At the cocktail bar and its surrounding lounge area, the floor breaks up and spills out onto the beach in front, creating small areas of laid-back seating with fire pits, for even more casual gatherings. Extra care has been taken to incorporate the existing trees and rock formations thus integrating the building well into the site. The pergola is woven around and between them and allows them to push up through it in ‘stitching moments’.
The overall impression is of an elegant white structure that celebrates the design, character and ethos of the adjacent building, extending its formalistic architecture into a more diagrammatic space, filled with light and movement.