Artists under Lockdown: Voukenas Petrides
A design duo grounded in Athens.
The Design Edit (TDE): How are you keeping busy in self-isolation?
Voukenas Petrides (VP): We are continuing to make new work and to complete commissioned works. We transformed our downtown Athens loft space into a studio with two distinct workshops: one for each of us. Andreas is busy in his studio experimenting with forms, shapes and light; and Steve is dedicating his space to painting and drawing. Both studios are a short distance from our bed. After the first few weeks of quarantine (itching our faces with our elbows), we have settled into a routine. Steve is now going back to our Tavros workshop regularly to work on new works. He walks the five mile round trip – avoiding the use of the metro – in his black cloth mask. Andreas continues to work on his experiments at home and makes critical trips to the workshops of our mould maker (on the Athens beltway) and concrete caster (near the airport), to complete commissioned works.
TDE: Everyone’s pace of life has slowed down considerably; what is the impact of this new rhythm on your work and home life?
VP: Despite the economic pain the pandemic is causing, this new rhythm is very pleasing to us. We live in the centre of an empty downtown Athens. No more jackhammering and noise of Airbnb renovations. No more jet contrails crisscrossing our view of the sky. The air is clean and clear and the new quiet is attracting songbirds. The stars are brilliant at night.
TDE: Do you have a favourite self-isolation recipe to share with us?
VP: Our self isolation recipes include fresh pizzas – so we’ve helped to empty the yeast sections of our local supermarkets. And we’re watching lots of Star Trek (the original series with Leonard Nimoy), as well as Rick and Morty.
TDE: What is saving your sanity under lockdown?
VP: We are listening to Bach violin concertos by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in the morning, Schumann’s violin sonatas by Martha Argerich and Itzhak Perlman in the afternoon, and Ella Fitzgerald’s complete piano duets and Miles Davis at night with plenty of Nostos red wine from Crete. We are trying to fertilise the avocado blossoms on the tree we started from seed four years ago. On our terrace, the avocado tree is surrounded by roses, wisteria, an olive tree, a grape vine, honeysuckle, sage, rosemary and lots of strawberry plants growing everywhere. From the terrace we enjoy a view across a vast industrial valley to the sunsets over Mount Egaleo in the distance. Of course we are Skyping and Zooming, but need to do more yogaing.