LIFE

Metoo designers draw inspiration from Greek folk art

TAGS: Design

Fluid black-and-white designs with bold brushstrokes, prints that have a handmade feel, geometric motifs and organic forms in perfect equilibrium, ecological, natural and earthy: Metoo's work reinvents Greek folk art by mixing graphic and industrial design, with modern technology and traditional methods.

The team works with experienced craftsmen who work with silk prints and wood carving to design and produce coasters, trays, scarves, talismans, sleep masks, lampshades and tablet bases.

“We want our objects to be easy to use on a day-to-day basis, and to be made of natural materials,” say Dimitra Vassilakou and Aliki Kakoulidou, who founded Metoo in 2005, after earning their degrees in communications and digital art respectively.|

Their downtown Athens studio was the first place they exhibited their early experiments in this marriage of technology and tradition. “We studied traditional embroideries in books and observed the elements that compose them, noticing the similarities between the canvas and the pixels of a computer. The monochromatic shapes jumped out at us from the complex compositions of the embroideries.”

Metoo uses figures and shapes from traditional Greek folk art not to evoke an old feel, but to transform the stuff that cultural identity is made of in a modern way, with respect to the genius loci. In many ways, their products redefine the Greek souvenir, though they are not aimed exclusively at tourists. “We are exploring ways to evoke a sense of familiarity for things that come from a bygone era,” they explain.

Their work also borrows geometric compositions and decorative motifs from the traditional costumes of the nomadic Sarakatsani tribe of Crete. “This constituted our first and most complete line of objects – with the significant contribution of architect Stella Sotiropoulou – as it piqued our interest because of the way the designs appeared to reach out to nature and develop a symbolism with ‘magical’ qualities,” say the designers.

So far, Metoo products can only be found at Benaki Museum shops and select exhibition spaces. To find out more, visit www.metoo.gr.

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