A specially designed hug

AGALIA LUXURY SUITES is a boutique hotel overlooking Tzamaria beach on the Greek isle of Ios. Agalia is the greek word for “hug”.

The hotel’s truly unique interior and exterior design reflects the inspired creativity and original style of owner Angelos Michalopoulos, who also supervised the production and installation of every singular design element. The initial sense of relaxation and well-being our guests experience when they first arrive at AGALIA LUXURY SUITES stems from both the hotel’s innovative design and the amazing view so generously provided by nature. The AGALIA LUXURY SUITES hotel is Angelos Michalopoulos’s personal project, hosting in a rather original way all his artistic endeavors, ncluding sculpture, painting and writing, incorporating them in a stylishly updated version of traditional Greek hospitality. His body of work can be viewed at: http://angelosm.com/eng/

AGALIA is like a book full of stories and fairytales, each suite a different chapter. The materials used in its construction were Greek marble*, iron, wood and light. All the narratives at AGALIA focus on man and his relationship with himself, his emotions and his soul, and are relayed through a series of 480 different marble figurines that play leading roles in the stories depicted by the hotel’s elaborate floors and furniture.

The transformation of AGALIA from a traditional country tavern to a cutting edge hotel took more than two years, with the painstaking installation of the marble requiring over one year to be completed.

THE ROOMS

The floor of each suite is a page from the AGALIA book, a unique narrative written by and in marble. More than 2500 pieces of marble in different colors and shapes comprise each floor surface. The figures incorporated in the various decorative motifs are hand-designed by the artist, then digitized and carved from marble slabs using Autocad software and a sophisticated water-jet cutting process. The pieces for each room are assembled in panels, fitted together like puzzles on bonding benches in the cutting workshop by expert craftsmen who use advanced dremels, burs and marble art routers to render each specific image. Each puzzle-like panel is then carefully crated and the fragile content is shipped to Ios island and its final destination. It takes more than three weeks to complete the installation of each of these multifarious compositions. The process comprises a number of stages, including careful placement and detailed joining with adjacent pieces using special adhesives, followed by grinding, polishing and crystallization using natural materials.

THE BATHROOMS

The decorative marble in all bathrooms is installed using the book-matching technique, enabling the display of nature’s wonders as reflected by the stone itself. To maintain continuity and proper flow, as in an open book, each slab is matched to the one adjoining it and not the one following so that they mirror each other, while each image installed on the wall is comprised of four perfectly matched marble slabs to highlight their exceptional beauty. The bathtubs are crafted using CNC technology, revealing the natural contours of the marble pieces which are placed in plaster cast molds. Each bathtub is made from more than 200 pieces in 50 rectangular forms.

THE ROOMS & PUBLIC AREAS

Iron is the main material used to manufacture the furniture in all rooms and public areas. Each piece of furniture is a unique sculptural object embellished with lacy details that endow the weighty material with an airy feel. Each chair and sofa is assembled in Ios and is comprised of hundreds of figures in constant motion. Each component is hand-painted by the artist, then digitized using Corel software and cut by laser. Each telling a different bedside story, the beds, whose sheer mass seems to be suspended in mid-air, are anchored to the floor only on one side. The light fixtures, each one a unique composition of figures and designs created using laser cutting techniques, adorn the rooms and public areas. Every sculptural piece of furniture is a light fixture and every light fixture is a sculptural object creating a rainbow of colors and design patterns. The pool-side lounge chairs, the restaurant’s seating, the bar’s stools, the intricate framework supporting the massive marble table tops, and the cabana beds are all unique art pieces. There is no single piece of furniture in the hotel that hasn’t been designed by the owner.

THE BATHROOMS

All bathroom accessories, from the towel rings to the paper holders and waste baskets, have been designed by the artist with a sense of humor as endless combinations of forms and figures in bold cheerful colors.

THE MOSAIC AND THE LIGHT

The mosaic flooring in all public areas is an intricate composition of 420,000 pieces of marble, cut in geometric or human-like shapes, hand laid one by one on a smooth thinset cement substrate and joined with a special colored grouting mix. This cheerful mosaic in the colors of the sky and the sea embraces the Cycladic light throughout the day.

THE DETAILS

Handmade fabric toy-like frogs and donkeys suffuse every suite with their childhood tenderness, symbolizing the healing power of a hug (agalia) that enfolds everyone regardless of sex, creed or color. The paintings in the suites are the work of Angelos Michalopoulos. The decoration of the reception area combines examples of his own work and other art objects handpicked by him. The original wooden jigsaw puzzles in the reception area, depicting paintings by Angelos Michalopoulos and made by Liberty Puzzles, were lovingly donated by hotel guests to AGALIA. The styling details so lavishly displayed in all public spaces and private suites reflect the vision and original spirit that created AGALIA LUXURY SUITES. All the sculptural furniture is assembled in Ios.