Design that works

KN Group partners with artist - designer Stamos Michael to present Part of Something, an ongoing research practice investigating the human position in the natural landscape through an architectural perspective. 

Conceived as a site-specific environment that calls upon ecologies of the local, traditional, and personal vocabularies, Part of something takes the form of a repose pavilion, enclosed within the realm of open space surroundings. Four individual elements — a tree, a platform, a set of partitions, and a gate — are pieced together to form a quad where materiality, the natural environment, craft, design, and open space, are contemplated to a symbolic coexistence. Manifested through a modular design logic that KN Group developed, all elements allow for several combinations that adapt in different locations while referencing a universal architectural adobe vocabulary that emphasizes local craftsmanship and production, conscious sourcing of materials and construction techniques. The first realized installation was presented at the garden of Vorres Museum during the first edition of Athens Design Forum in 2021. While a series of studies in alternative locations, the research and creative process behind Part of Something, were on view at KN Group’s head office.

Following KN Group's research on matters concerning the architectural development in the natural landscape, Part of Something examines the function of the constructed space as the initial subject. The design process is identical in all studies and begins with the selection and characteristics registration of a single tree. Within the realm of the construction features, the tree serves a dual usage: As a local signifier, it is a binding element linking the construction -and by extension the human gesture- with the surrounding environment, creating an in-situ installation on each landscape. Additionally, the tree serves the pavilion as a shade and protection apparatus even though there is no interference to its physical evolution, no alteration to its parts.

Consequently the architectural design produces two additional elements -the ones that the history of housing construction recounts as vital- a platform and a series of vertical partitions (walls). In Part of Something the construction process of the walls refers to traditional building methods as seen around the Greek landscape, while their shape refers to cultural elements originated from Greek antiquity and Byzantine culture to Cycladic architecture and so on. The partitions are constructed from a wooden structure utilizing ancestral techniques that allow bonding without additional apparatus, while thermal and sound isolation is achieved by using natural materials such as straw and sawdust. Similar techniques allow the free-standing position of all vertical elements by attaching the structures to the frame of the platform. Materiality, coatings, and color differentiate according to the site characteristics, the environmental conditions as well as the aging process of each tree.

In juxtaposition to the tree that calls upon the specific geography and topography we are placed within, the last element of the pavilion, the gate, calls upon the specific urban setting that relates to the installation. The gate reflects a smooth transition to an ordered space that doesn’t serve a specific function, it is part of its surroundings, the surroundings is its origins and its reason for existence.