Sitting among the signature silk scarves and handmade handbags meticulously placed in the display windows of the Hermes store off Syntagma Square in Athens, Zafeiris Kontopitharos seems perplexed.
It’s not the French powerhouse’s world of high luxury that puzzles the fictional character but reality itself, his hard-to-grasp daily environment.
The name of the installation is “Ordinary Fairy Tales” and it stars Zafeiris Kontopitharos, the pensive protagonist in a children’s story of the same name penned by Greek architect-artist Philippos Photiadis (originally published by Militos Editions in 2011), who teamed up with the landmark French ‘maison’ for Hermes’s central Athens store.
Once a year the luxury company selects and invites a Greek artist to bring his own vision of the brand to the Syntagma store, which is located in the CitiLink commercial complex. In “Ordinary Fairy Tales,” Zafeiris Kontopitharos is cast alongside a variety of ordinary characters who develop their own microcosms of coexistence with the refined objects and accessories around them.
“Kontopitharos is a character who is more or less living in his own world, while observing the Hermes items and reality in general. He doesn’t really comprehend this reality, while at the same time, in the same installation, the brand’s items give pleasure to those in the Hermes microcosms,” said Photiadis, co-founder of We Design Studio, speaking to Kathimerini English Edition.
Wood and cardboard are the principal raw materials comprising the parallel universe of the amusing and fun-loving “Ordinary Fairy Tales.” The installation is based on one-dimensional materials, while small multicolored boxes holding porcelain Hermes mugs and elegant sandals, among others, create an antithesis with the large-scale display compositions.
“On the one hand lies the incomprehensible daily life we lead, while on the other, the small boxes are joyful and playful,” noted Photiadis. “In times of crisis people are not in the mood to be constantly reminded of their problems. For example, if you go to the theater you’d rather see a comedy.”
Zafeiris Kontopitharos will be watching Hermes boutique visitors and other city dwellers through Saturday, June 15.