Aphrodite Bonatsou is a Greek architect, who owns the successful design office, ‘Stones and Walls’, based in Kifisia, Athens.
The office started its operations in 2009 and throughout these eight years, it has marked an international presence.
But first things first. I would like to introduce to you Aphrodite - the talented architect; Aphrodite has studied at UK’s Middlesex University and continued with a postgraduate diploma in fashion styling in Saint Martin’s. She lived in London for four years.
Her student life and choices clearly hint that she has received a high standard of mentoring and has been influenced by international trends.
Areas of work →
"We started with designing restaurants and professional spaces in general, so yes, we are highly experienced in this sector. This doesn’t mean of course that private houses are not in our area of practice," says Aphrodite.
An International presence →
‘Stones and Walls’ has left a significant mark worldwide, since it has completed remarkable architectural designs across boarders. Restaurants in Dubai and London are just some of these designs.
"Well, we have designed two restaurants in Dubai, Nola and Mythos, the Hungry Donkey in London and the Mezcal in Cairo. Moreover, in our portfolio, there are a few stores in Cyprus and Bahrain."
The office seems to enjoy working on an international level. Aphrodite and her team, which consists of five members, believe that architecture has no limits, people can express themselves work wise from anywhere in the world. "Now, the Internet helps us develop and promote our work outside Greece. The market out there is huge, challenging and full of interest. We are always ready for it."
From Paris to Japan →
"I admire Paris for its architecture. Buildings are imposing, the streets are broad and the squares huge," says Aphrodite; whilst she highlights that the city she really loves is New York. "New York is the best place in the world, without necessarily having remarkable architecture. Nevertheless, it has an urban dynamic style, which I personally love."
Aphrodite believes that Japan is a highly interesting culture, which challenges her to explore further. "I admire Japanese people for their way of living, for the things they learn since childhood. More specifically, they learn to keep everything clean and they are disciplined. They also have the amazing architecture to show, which combines the traditional with the modern elements and the food…it’s a different story by itself!"
"Japan is also known for its technological development and impressive fashion. In other news, it has it all! ‘India, Argentina and Mexico have their own impressive “colour” as well, but Japan combines everything. Now, the country also makes videos for the Olympic Games and they are simply shocking," says Aphrodite.
Architecture and culture →
What is the correlation between architecture and culture? Is architecture a carrier of culture, as many believe? Are a country and its people identified by the architectural expressions? "Well, I am not completely sure if this is the case," admits Aphrodite. "Generations are evolving, are moving forward and they differentiate from the previous ones. So, I cannot say with certainty that a country is identified by its architecture."
If you visit the Stones and Walls site, you will definitely notice the following statement: "It’s not only the building that is changing; it’s the perception of the owner as well." What does that mean? Aphrodite explains: "When you design something, you also try to make a whole new experience come out of this. When people ask you to change their house, or design their commercial property, you also get to change their everyday life; they experience something new, is a unique adventure."
A woman starts her own business in Greece in 2009 →
Aphrodite has always worked as a freelance architect, and she decided to start her own business in 2009, despite the economic difficulties of the country. And she decided wisely. "Working on my own, helped me identify problems that I had during the construction. This is a part that I could not organise the way I wanted to; basically, the part of the implementation of the project. I designed the project but I had difficulty in implementing it."
So, the architect and her business partner decided to join their forces.
He would organise the construction part and Aphrodite would continue her designs. Now, they collaborate with a few specific partners forming a cluster of specialists that deliver high-quality services to each project and she says, "Every day is a day of getting to know each other. In this way, I manage to deliver my projects in better time schedule."
Stones and Walls is one amazing example of proving that creativity and hard work can create cross-border opportunities.