In the Liknon show vineyard on Samos, the muscatel vine is the protagonist: the traditional concept of a building dissolves into a tour to explore the habitat of the vines – and the production of the brandy, of course.
The vacation in Greece is probably already over for most people in mid-September. In the cupboard there is a souvenir in liquid form, either well stowed away or clearly visible (or already half emptied): While some tend to ouzo, for others only Metaxa is cult.
The Metaxa brandy is inextricably associated with the Hellenic Republic, being a Greek invention: it goes back to the winemaker Spyros Metaxas, who in the 19th century faced the problem of having acquired vineyards with different grape varieties. So he decided to distill the wine and add a mixture of herbs – still kept secret today.
Show vineyard Liknon in the vineyards of Samos
The brand with three- to twelve-star versions – yes, depending on the length of storage – now belongs to the French Rémy Cointreau spirits group. The group turned over a record 1.548 billion euros in fiscal 2022/2023. It probably owes much of its success to the Greek specialty with its scent of orange blossoms, rose petals and apricots and its vanilla taste.
If you can’t get enough of the drink made from old Muscat wines and are already planning your next visit to Greece, you can combine this with a visit to the Liknon show vineyard designed by K-Studio.
The designers of K-Studio had the goal to connect the Metaxa brand once again very strongly with its roots. So where else could the Liknon show vineyard have been realized than in the 100-year-old vineyard where Spyros Metaxa once experimented? There, on the island of Samos, amidst the vines, the origins of the unique product are explained and shown in style.
The vineyard is located below the traditional village of Vourliotes, 800 meters above sea level and under the influence of the northern Meltemi – this is the prevailing wind of the summer months in the Aegean. It shapes the microclimate there and mitigates the heat of the summer.
Not a building, but rather a “show landscape
Man once wrested the productive landscape from the mountainside by hand. The rows of plateaus are held by stone walls, the rocks are artfully arranged in the terrain. The slope thus became a cultivable area.
To connect to these origins, the design of K-Studio has aimed to highlight and preserve the dominance of the terraced landscape. A path was created and embedded along the stone walls.
“Topos” and “Chronos”
The brand house in the north of the island, at the foothills of the Oros Karvouni nature reserve, allows visitors to immerse themselves in the heritage and understand what distinguishes a Metaxa. From the production processes to the final enjoyment, one is invited to explore with all the senses.
The “topos”, the place, is brought close by a cross-section through the stone walls. Through a cut in the landscape, you are taken underground in Liknon and enter a space that is not only permeated by the rich smells of the earth.
The branch of the vine, made visible from bottom to top
Through a glass opening, the layers of soil and the plant itself become visible, both above and below ground, from the roots to the vine and the fruit. Inquisitive learn here a lot about the qualities of the terroir.
The second station of the Liknon is “Chronos”, time, an important part of the ripening process of the fruit after harvest.
This is how 40 years taste and smell
This concept was implemented in a Metaxa cellar, where different special barrels are kept. Visitors can understand the maturation through the different samples, by color, smell and taste.
As an end point, everyone ends up at the Metaxa Bar, where you can relax and enjoy the brand’s best distillates. The outdoor terrace with its hanging pergola entwined with vines completes the experience.
Throughout the tour, the building is subtly woven into the vineyard environment in various configurations. The architectural language of the undulating stone bands is extended to include the interior spaces and courtyards, which blend seamlessly into the surroundings.
By using and adopting the original craft of stone stacking, as can be admired especially in Samos, K-Studio succeeded in recreating the spontaneity of the landscape in geometry and materiality.
The “inevitable nature of the valley”
The walls organize and order the “inevitable nature of the valley” – and this to an “unexpected crescendo” when you leave the Metaxa bar again: One of the terraces “hovers” above the ground. The exit takes you back from the darkness, from the underground cellar, to the light and the lightness and the breathtaking view of the sea.
K-Studio is guided by context so that architecture, interior design and landscape design provide a unique overall experience, explains co-founder Dimitris Karampatakis. The approach can be applied to projects of any scale, he says, in that “we treat larger and more complex works like a collection of smaller studies.”
Text: Linda Benkö
Fotos: Claus Brechenmacher, Reiner Baumann, Nikos Daniilidis, v2com