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Anastasia Sgoumpopoulou
Co-founder Perianth Hotel, Athens

– Can you first introduce yourself and talk about your role at Perianth Hotel?

My name is Anastasia Sgoumpopoulou and I am one of the co-founders of Perianth Hotel. We are three siblings and we are all involved in all major decisions regarding the hotel. I am personally responsible for anything PR / marketing / branding related and of course the collection of the hotel. : )

– Contemporary art seems to be part of your business. Can you talk about your collection, how it fits with the ethos of Perianth and the impact it has on the visitors engaging with the hotel and the city?

It is important to understand that Perianth is located in the historic centre of Athens. Thus, we wanted to create something very Athenian both in terms of aesthetics, but also in how people would experience the city and the hotel’s surroundings. We all lived and worked in the centre and we wanted people to experience and appreciate Athens the way we do.

The idea behind the hotel was to have Greek creatives involved in all the stages. From our architects k-studio, to Efthimis Filippou our “god father”, to the late Sofia Kokosalaki who designed all the uniforms, to MNP who is responsible for our branding. As a result, when the design stage was almost completed, we discussed the “decoration” of the walls etc. Being involved in the arts, I stepped in and said we definitely need to have good and substantial art to complement the beautiful design. We have seen the art that is typically placed in hotels and did not want that.

Our hotel is in close proximity to Acropolis, and around half of our rooms have views to the Acropolis. Moreover, a big percentage of tourists coming to Athens (especially back in 2016-17 when the discussion about the collection took place) mostly visit the Archaeological or the Acropolis Museum. People were interested in Greece’s past, its ancient past to be precise.

Being what you might call an art traveller, I felt that Greek artists were way underrepresented and underappreciated in the international art scene. As a result, we decided to focus on our local art scene, engage and communicate with them, and then in turn, hope for an engagement between our clients and the art. It is a slow process but I am sure it will have a long-term effect.

The overall idea is to collect and represent the local artistic community. Being true to what we do, I feel there is definitely an impact on the visitors. It might not necessarily be direct but I am sure it complements the hotel’s identity and the whole experience in a positive way.

– From your experience, what can be the benefits of businesses from the hospitality and corporate industry collecting and showcasing art?

I believe that good, meaningful art creates an energy within the space that is priceless. It is not necessarily something tangible but when people actually connect with the art in the space, I believe it generates a unique experience.

I must argue though, that this mostly happens when the approach is not corporate. Art can be considered a luxury in the hospitality industry, so if you just look at the numbers it will probably make no sense. For me, it is a long-term investment and support through the relationship we develop with the local scene which I personally find really valuable.

– Is Perianth’s collection accessible by the public?

Perianth’s collection is both in the public spaces and inside the rooms. Obviously, works in the public spaces are accessible.

– How do you envision the future of the collection, its expansion and circulation?

The collection was created organically, so there are no actual plans regarding its circulation and expansion. In the beginning, I aimed at finding editions and prints for the rooms thinking of it as a more cost-efficient quality solution. But, being in Greece, this was not easy. I am not sure whether it has to do with demand being low or costs for prints being high. Whatever the case, I could not find prints from the artists I was interested in. As a result, we ended up acquiring original artworks for the rooms. This made the process slower and it is still a work in progress, but I believe we will end up with a more important collection.

In terms of its expansion, I must say that whilst I initially focused mainly on contemporary artists, lately I have found much interest and enjoyment in connecting older works (from the 60s, 70s, 80s) with contemporary ones. So, one thing I have witnessed is that the collection has organically begun to include an older generation under its umbrella.

Ideally, when we conclude the collection, we would love to make a catalogue with the works, including information on the artists as a way to share the work we do.

All photographs by Reiner Baumann and Claus Brechenmache

Anastasia Sgoumpopoulou was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She studied Business Management at Boston University, Fashion Marketing at Parsons School of Design, New York, and completed an MA in History of Art at UCL, London.

Most of her life, she has been working in the fashion business. First, as a Buyer & Sales and Store manager at United Colors of Benetton, Athens and later as co-owner of TOMS Greece. During this period, she also worked voluntarily at AMP gallery, Athens for two years.

In 2018 she co-founded Perianth Hotel with her two siblings. Her current responsibilities include Marketing, PR, branding, as well as the Perianth collection consisting of Greek and Cypriot contemporary artists.