The Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre is home to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. The first public building in Greece to achieve a Platinum LEED certification, it is located in the Kallithea district of Athens.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop won the competition to handle the project, which involved transforming a parking lot left over from the 2004 Olympic Games. They started by building a large artificial hill, which provides a panoramic view over the city to the sea. At ground level, the opera house and the library are organised around a public plaza known as the agora. This references the central gathering spaces of ancient Greece cities. The roof is formed by a sloping park, planted with indigenous Greek plants.
The opera house comprises two auditoriums. The largest, which contains 1,400-seats, hosts traditional operas and
ballets. The other hall has 450 seats and is used for ‘experimental’ performances. Situated on the opposite side of the building, the library features large walls of shelves. These hold the collection, which includes over 5,000 manuscripts, documents and engravings, dating back to the ninth century.
Haakon, Remix and Star are used in the auditoriums and Hallingdal 65 in the library. The chairs in the auditoriums are designed by Poltrona Frau and upholstered in Haakon.
“The diversity of the Kvadrat collection allowed us to meet our goal in many different areas, from the furniture to the acoustic environment. But it is in the main auditorium, the heart of the opera house, where Kvadrat’s textiles are most essential to the architectural result. For instance, the fullness, richness and colour of the Haakon velvet bring a unique atmosphere,” Vassily Laffineur, Associate, Renzo Piano Building Workshop.