Conversation with George Kolliopoulos of Mandalaki Studios
New to our collection is a unique miniature home in Ialysos on the Greek island of Rhodes, created by Milanese design studio Mandalaki. It’s a modular cabin, conceived as a “livable design object” and intended to blend organically with the natural world around it. Or any environment for that matter. Their design, the "Monocabin", is a neutral space that can be placed anywhere. And plans are afoot to make that happen.
Mandalaki was co-founded by three friends who met at industrial design school: George Kolliopoulos, Enrico de Lotto, and Giovanni Senin (pictured above, from left to right). They were recently joined by partner Davide Giovannardi, an industrial designer. The studio combines analytical research and technical know-how with a love for design to create products made to enhance everyday living. Essentiality and functionality are their main driving factors, as is evident in every one of their creations.
They design all kinds of functional objets d’art. The house is also host to a really interesting art residency program, and serves as a mini gallery space.
HOW MANY MONOCABINS ARE THERE?
George Kolliopoulos: “So far, only one. Monocabin is our prototype. We didn’t expect to receive so much great feedback and interest in it. We have decided to expand the project and are working on some new exciting updates. In fact, we hope to see many Monocabins around the world in the years to come. We are also now accepting orders so if you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us!”
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE RHODES AS THE LOCATION?
GK: “I was born and raised in Rhodes. Actually, Monocabin is in the exact neighborhood I grew up in. I wanted to pay tribute to my island by making the starting point of this project in that particular location. It was also an opportunity to share with my guests all the hidden gems around Rhodes. It is an amazing island with breathtaking nature as well as a long history and rich culture. I knew that Rhodes could satisfy any desire.”
WHAT’S A LIVABLE DESIGN OBJECT?
GK: “We wanted to design a house crafted around the look and function of what a person actually needs during their holidays. It ended up being a 28 m2 space. This dimension was created as we learned more about what a person needs for the perfect summer getaway. Then the crafting was conceived around concrete panels with a degree of modularity. The approach was all about using a process of industrial design more than an architectural one.”
WHICH MANDALAKI DESIGNS ARE FEATURED WITHIN THE HOUSE?
GK: “As Monocabin is designed by our studio Mandalaki, we also wanted to feature objects within the house so the guest can have a total experience of our design philosophy. You can find for example the Myeki Ring, and soon the Halo lamp.
“Halo lamp aims to combine art with technology: the light is no longer digitally created by an RGB LED that mixes the colors to obtain the chromatic effect, but rather it is produced by an analogic optical decomposition. Its function is different from that of a standard lamp. We wanted to create a dream effect by designing a metaphysical space that the user must contemplate."
“Myeki Ring is neither a smartphone charger nor a lamp. It is a new category of product designed to enrich and improve the user experience in a world of increasingly present electronic devices. The source of energy when placed in a domestic environment becomes a piece of furniture. With its bright lines, its presence is marked with softness and elegance in order to assist the user in finding the power source. A new way to integrate the electricity in a domestic device.”
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR ARTIST RESIDENCY PROGRAM?
GK: “The artist residency program is a project taught in collaboration with Viviane Yazdani, co-creator of Monocabin. It is connected with the idea of giving the space a reason for being beyond a fully functional holiday house. As Rhodes is a summer destination, we wanted Monocabin to be kept alive in low season, so we decided to make it a working place for artists.
“The artists and designers in residence are asked to work on a project proposal around the heritage of Rhodes. To support their work, limited-edition pieces are sold in the summer time. It actually created a new dimension for Monocabin to become not only an art residency but a habitable art gallery where our guests can actually find unique, handcrafted, high-quality pieces that represent the story of the island and at the same time an actual piece of the house.”
WHEN YOU TRAVEL, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?
GK: “As our design studio is based in Milan, the capital of design, I have to say that my daily life is connected with amazing design. So when I travel for leisure, I try to go back to basics and connect as much as I can with nature. In fact, nature is the best designer of all.”
To stay at the Rhodes Beach House, click here.