The talented Mr. Georgios C. Carabellas is certainly an iconic figure of the Athenian Société. If he didn’t exist, we should have invented him.
His flamboyant style, his unique way of thinking and creating, and his lust for life, made him soon enough realize that Law School was not exactly his cup of tea. Instead, he decided to lead his life to different and exciting directions. Designer, entrepreneur, journalist, collector, a real globe walker, owner of the “A je ne sais quoi // Bespoke” company, he loves to work on extrordinary concepts, where he can let his fantasy run wild and show him what needs be done. He has transformed stores and hotels, created magnificent fashion editorials, and has played with the ID of art exhibitions and launch marketing campaigns. His hands are always full, as he’s constantly in search of a new object, person, idea or place that will inspire him. Among his many projects, TR2 // Thission Revisited recently moved from the historical Thission to a small paved road in Kolonaki, on the southwestern slopes of Lycabettus hill, a wealthy, chic and upmarket district. The concept store introduces the “Dolce Far Niente Wednesdays“, the perfect “alibi” for night shopping and fantastic aperitifs, the Italian way. And many many colorful goodies that he has designed under the TR2 label.
We simply had to “steal” some of Mr. Carabella’s precious time, in order to closely examine the things he loves, the projects he is currently onto and his future plans.
Why did you decide to move the TR2 from Thission to Kolonaki?
I first introduced TR2 in Thission as showroom/private study for people just to come and look. Pretty soon the request was unanimous. I had to sell directly and not only through other stores with which I have a contract (i.e. Interni Store). That means that I was never into commerce. I became an entrepreneur through observation and practice. So, after an extraordinary first year (by all standards, publicity, awareness, sales), TR2 IN Thission reached it’s climax, as the Greek consumer obviously being not extremely recherché and willing to explore his own city, at least not in the way that he does when he travels. About 70% of my sales were done with me sending the goods to their new owners with a taxi, sometimes with their drivers! I had to move to upgrade my product, giving my brandname and it’s numerous aficionados the status they are worth. Kolonaki was the apparent step. An all time classic and classy market, especially my little alley, Xanthou str, which has a distinctive cosmopolitan allure, the only street in the area which is still alive and kicking!
What about the Dolce Far Niente Wednesdays? How did you come up with this idea?
TR2 is a live hub in both as a retail space, where one can find nearly everything one wants, from fashion to interiors to books and music, as well as a platform that creates and executes concepts from the entire spectrum of today’s lifestyle. What I do, is to create concepts, come up with out of the box ideas for an interior design project, like the new fashion workshop in Psirri, οr the spectacular story for “Gynaika” magazine, for a style guide book, like the one I will launch in December (a proper coffee table book based on my philosophy, aesthetics, joie de vivre flair for the modern man to be inspired).
The “Dolce far niente Wednesdays” is such an out of the box concept. Following generations of Italians, drinking late afternoon aperitifs, we serve drinks and dolce far niente attitude, together with interesting lifestyle statement from collaborating designers, chefs, mixologists, actors, you name it.
Synergy is the idea, getting together is the notion, reacting and joining forces is the only way to go. And TR2 as a creative body applauds such choices and introduces unexpected things in unexpected places. This is it’s DNA, this is it’s USP (unique selling point). So we started March 21 with our “TR2 summer survival kit”, consisting of eight must-have items for summer. On April 4 I am hosting an exclusive presentation of Eleni Psichoulis’s “Idi Prikos”, a one-of-a-kind collection of quaint home ware, which you have to see to believe! In May, Sotiris Georgiou and TR2 are co-designing a capsule collection of sic t-shirts, inspired by the vast Skyrian tradition, pottery, wood-carving and embroidery. In June, we are throwing a 20’s like pick-nick and a cinema project, which for the moment has to be a secret.
Among the objects of the already famous “Summer Survival Kit” we found some rather “different” things, such as the “Gone To The Beach” Bags, made out of tents. Where do you draw the inspiration for your creations from?
I can never tell. If I knew that such a place existed, where I could draw inspiration from, I would move there! TR2- the Kolonaki edition is such a personal project, based entirely on who I am, what I like, what I would wear, eat, smell, give, travel etc.. Since I never stop thinking, thus working, I would say that everything has the capacity to inspire me, everything is a potential idea, resulting to a potential project. Having worked for years as a creative person -actually I’ve been a creative person from the moment I was born- this is a process so subtle and natural to me, so running with me, through my veins, so absolutely mine, that sometimes I myself cannot tell, if this is an idea that came while I was “working” or “living”. The motto of my company, “A je ne sais quoi / Bespoke”, a project of which is TR2, is “Life Has A Concept”. Need I say more?
The TR2 objects “travelled” to London recently. How was this experience for you?
I usually like to say that for me the easy thing to do would be to move to London, which I absolutely adore, to live and work there. It’s a market well ahead of the Greek one, with solid lifestyle background, where my avant-garde work could automatically fit in with the society. Eventually, if I was based in London, 70% more people would instantly understand what I do, and I would have to instantly face 70% more competition, which is always a good thing. I choose for now, especially now, to keep my base in Greece, despite everything, and beat the system from within. On the other hand, I do keep my antennas up and my networking running and I came up with the idea of visiting other countries and places for a brief period of time, opening TR2 pop-up stores wherever I can. It’s a really innovative new marketing technique. So last May Notting Hill in London was my first obvious choice, an event of raving reviews and great success, followed by Thessaloniki in December, where Area Domus / Kartell were the perfect host for the TR2 philosophy. For this year TR2- the Kolonaki Edition is planning a pop-up store in the most eclectic of places: Istanbul, Beirut, and Geneva for starters abroad, Patmos, Symi and some hotels in Greece for the summer. So, stay tuned for more!
What do you think that creative people can do in order to remain creative in such difficult times and attract fans and customers?
What I stated before. Act, react, give up old spoiled brat-like habits, which we’re very fond of, come up with original ideas for a change and stop imitating what others do. Enjoy and dare!
Which artist is your biggest inspiration? What kind of music do you like? Is there an object that you can’t live without? Do you have a style-fetish?
Oh, that’s a complex question! How much time do you have? I like Seferis and Audrey Hepburn and Tuscany and Ralph Lauren and Jackson Pollock and a cypress tree and Morocco and socks and camparinos and espadrilles and flipping through Vogues and Skyros and eating everything and an occasional cigar and Thisseas, my dog and orange juice and sun and winter and rain a lot (hence London) and Elytis and Aris Constantinidis and Dimitris Pikionis and Balzac and Lacroix and water and writing letters and Cote Sud and Positano and to catch a thief and marinieres and clever people, and, and, and life. And so many things after that.
Is there a design object that you wish you had designed yourself? Which is your favorite industrial designer?
The Skyrian Vraka, an updated version of which we launch at TR2. And as for my favorite designer, I have to say the Eames, definitely the Eames.
Is there something that you can’t resist to? A favorite “sin”?
Ice cream! Rain or shine!
Which do you think is the best designed (handy or not) object in the world?
A straw basket I found in the south of France.
In your opinion, what can transform a room ? And what can transform a person?
What are your plans and expectations for the summer and the future?
Expansion is the word. A lot of TR2 “editions” worldwide.
TR2 THE KOLONAKI EDITION
6 Xanthou Str., 10673, Kolonaki, Athens
T. 210 3460096
All images shot by Ioanna Roufopoulou.