Ancient Greek

Maria Vafiadis, MKV Design, creates the interiors of The award winning Romanos at Costa Navarino, Greece

The Romanos, at Costa Navarino, opened last year, together with the Agora village centre, the House of Events conference centre, The Dunes Course Clubhouse, Westin hotel, and Anazoe Spa — all designed by London-based MKV Design.

Together they form Navarino Dunes, the first phase of a 20-year long vision to create Costa Navarino, a new destination in the Mediterranean.

Navarino Dunes is the first of four sustainable resorts created by Costa Navarino’s developer, Temes. The brief for MKV Design’s owner, Maria Vafiadis, was to create a destination designed to celebrate and support the history, culture and ecology of Messinia.

“The original vision for Costa Navarino belonged to the “Captain”, a native of Messinia. He left his rural homeland when he was a young man and went on to make his fortune as the head of an international shipping company that he founded in 1974. However, his passion for his native land did not abate and in 1982 he
started buying land around the coast of Navarino Bay,” said Vafiadis.

“A keen environmentalist long before it became fashionable, the Captain was driven by a desire to preserve the heritage and natural beauty of Messinia while developing it as a destination that would create employment for local people. Today, it is the Captain’s son, Achilles, who runs Temes, sharing with his father the vision for sustainable resorts that will help make Messinia a sought after destination in the Mediterranean region.”

As part of the eco-vision for Navarino Dunes and its objective to celebrate the natural environment, the key materials used are local and organic. Pale stone is used both inside and out and timbers are dark, to bring out the colour of the stone. The design aesthetic at The Romanos was a response to its location — the sea, the sun, the curve of the bay, the dunes and the olive trees.

“The in/out experience is everything; there are no barriers in between. We achieved this by continuing the key materials used indoors, outside, such as the timber flooring of the guestrooms which continues onto the private terraces, and, in reverse, by bringing some of the water channels which criss-cross the gardens and terraces into the buildings,” said Vafiadis.

“Both public and guest spaces flow, from open terraces to shaded ones in interior spaces that are open out onto the view and then indoor areas that are intimate. Our choice of natural materials and fabrics, together with largely monochromatic colour schemes, added to the in/out quality of the experience.”

The Anax Lounge in the resort starts outside with a sunken terrace surrounded by a small canal. The next “zone” is a glazed colonnade, with views towards the sea and the main space is behind this where the ceiling has an exposed timber roof.

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