For those with a keen eye for thoughtfully designed interiors and spaces, it’s nearly impossible to oversee Eva Papadaki and her 10AM projects when zooming in on the creative landscape of Athens. There, within the walls of a former industrial building, she has built a multifunctional space that spans more than six floors and functions as a haven for like-minded people from around the world. In the final days of summer, Ignant travelled to Greece and visited Papadaki in her space, which is defined by a meticulous sensitivity to materials and forms.
As we found ourselves in front of the entrance of a transformed 1970s building in the Athenian district of Gazi, Eva Papadaki ran down the stairs and opened the door with a wide smile and a warm “Welcome Home”—a gesture that not only set the tone for our visit but also already provided a glimpse into the essence of the space we were about to explore. The building, once dedicated to storing wood and various materials, has been transformed into a place that communicates a welcoming sense of home, particularly appealing to those with a deep appreciation for minimalist design and raw aesthetics. “I wish for this place to be a space for connection. I put all my passion and every part of my soul into this project,” Papadaki tells us as we ascend the stairs.
Born on the Greek island of Crete, Eva Papadaki remembers herself “as a girl from the island, running around barefoot and always next to the sea.” Already then, she was developing her sensibility for aesthetics and dreaming of the world of fashion and creative production. “As a young girl, I would always read international fashion magazines, like the UK Vogue or Elle,” she tells us. “Curiously, I was reading the credits and asked myself what it probably would take to become an Editor-In-Chief in one of these publications,” she remembers with a soft laugh.
"I am incredibly blessed to still work with these talented people who truly feel like a family."
After some years in London, where she delved into the creative scene of the British capital, Papadaki moved to Athens and got involved in working for model and creative agencies until she decided to start her own project, 10AM, also known as 10AM Artists Management. “During the peak of the economic crisis in Greece, many people decided to leave the country, as the situation here got quite tough and many businesses had to close down. I was hesitating whether I should also leave or open my own company,” Papadaki explains. “I was working with great people then and didn’t want to give all of this up, so I decided to keep going and just to give it a try,” she tells us about the agency’s beginnings. “I am incredibly blessed to still work with these talented people who truly feel like a family.”
When, in 2016, Papadaki was searching for an office for 10AM, she came across the old building. “Everything happened step by step. I was just looking for a space for the agency, but when I found this building, I saw it had so much potential and offered many more possibilities,” she explains. In a slow and thoughtful process, she transformed the building into the multifunctional location for creatives it is today. “We have a penthouse, a venue, and four lofts which are available for exhibitions, photo shoots, creative productions of all kinds, and private dinners,” she tells us. Each space, which Papdaki designed in collaboration with architecture firm Gavalas Ioannidou and Studio Andrew Trotter, has a unique character. Carefully selected design pieces, architectural interventions that respect the history of the building, and natural materials meet personal items —memories— that she has collected on one of her many trips abroad.
Papadaki herself lives on the top floor of the building—a penthouse offering an incredible 360-degree panorama of Athens. While the bathtub accommodates a sight on the Acropolis and the Parthenon, the living room allows for views as far as the port of Piraeus. “For this space, I wanted to create a feeling as if you were on top of an island, overlooking the city from all sides. We even chose plants for the terrace that usually just grow on the islands.” While the interior has a minimalist and calming atmosphere, combining objects of the past and the present, everything is purposefully selected and chosen. “One of my favourite pieces here are those Charlotte Perriand chairs,” she says, pointing toward four chairs surrounding a round wooden table. “I was living in Milan for a while, where I connected to many people from the design world. One day, I got a call that those four chairs were on their way to Milan from an old Palazzo in Venice. So I got up at six in the morning and ran to the market to get them before they were gone.” It’s one of the many stories we hear about the unique pieces in the place, all put together into a harmonic whole.
“Apotheke talks about roots. More than just mere products, these items are an open invitation to a conversation reflecting on what connects us to our origins and thus to each other.”
With the recent launch of her product line, 10AM Apotheke, Papadaki has introduced a new project very close to her heart. “Apotheke means ‘storage’ in Greek, so in one way, I am referring to the history of the space, but I am especially talking about my inner repository—a place in my soul where I keep my memories.” The items featured in this collection are inspired by words describing both tangible and intangible elements that are synonymous with some of her most precious memories. The products range from soaps manufactured after her grandmother’s recipe to herbal tea that only grows on Crete, natural incense made on Mount Athos, and ceramic tableware crafted by her favourite ceramists. “Apotheke talks about roots. More than just mere products, these items are an open invitation to a conversation reflecting on what connects us to our origins and thus to each other.”
As the sun sets and crowns the city with golden roofs, we step onto the balcony of the penthouse and let our gaze wander over the vast urban landscape. “Athens is a never-ending inspiration for me,” Papadaki tells us as we look over the city. “It is a place of infinite creative freedom—you never know what awaits you, and as much as I love travelling and exploring the world, I would always want to come back here.”
We wonder where we would find her favourite place in this seemingly endless ocean of white buildings. “My paradise in Athens is definitely by the sea,” she responds without hesitation. “Every weekend, no matter the weather, I drive to the beach. I take my book and sit by the water for hours. Because, in some way, I am still the girl from back then—preferably barefoot and by the sea.”