April 24 2011
On a recent trip to Athens, I was exploring the archaeological park that surrounds the Acropolis; amid such ancient surroundings, it came as something of a surprise to find a little store, a stone’s throw from the Parthenon, that is in every respect thoroughly contemporary. TR2 is a small but ambitious concept store hidden in the backstreets of Thission, and here the flamboyant Georgios C Carabellas has transformed an abandoned store room into an all-white showroom for accessories and objets d’art. Some are Carabellas’ own creations; others are commissioned from up-and-coming designers or simply beautiful things he’s picked up on his travels. It’s a pick-and-mix of fashion, homeware and beauty, clustered on movable tables or suspended from hooks and rails.
I was shopping not so much for myself, more for the men in my life; thus I racked up brownie points with the python skin iPad case (€380), cigarette pants in daring shades of shantung silk (€350), and a dimmer lamp sculpted from a solid block of Carrara marble (third picture, €290). For summer, my menfolk will be swapping monogrammed velvet slippers (second picture, €430) with espadrilles (€65) from Barcelona. There are plenty of affordable little treats, too: vintage photographs printed onto cardboard coasters and placemats (€25) will brighten up any dinner party.
TR2 is only open only at weekends, or by appointment. Wandering in on a Sunday afternoon is like stumbling into a creative salon, where collaborations take shape over coffee and cake (Carabellas’ wife, Marina, is a fantastic baker and networker). Sometimes, the crowd spills over to the couple’s neoclassical home next door for an impromptu party on their roof terrace. Even in throes of Greece’s financial crisis, Athens still has an irrepressible joie de vivre. And that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
If a trip to Athens isn’t on the cards, TR2 is coming to London, with a pop-up store at The Merchant in Notting Hill from May 12 until the end of June.