House of Shila designs industrial yet sultry interiors for Mona Athens

The ancient Acropolis of Athens is in full view from the rooftop of this boutique hotel, which design studio House of Shila has housed in a former factory building.

Mona Athens is located in the city’s lively Psirri district, within an eight-storey 1950s building that once served as a textile factory.

Lobby lounge at Mona Athens hotel
The Mona Athens lobby features an eclectic mix of furniture and decor

House of Shila, led by New York-based entrepreneur Shai Antebi and Greek photographer and creative director Eftihia Stefanidi, chose to keep as much of the building’s bones as possible when converting it into a 20-key hotel.

This meant retaining its original dramatic iron staircase, terrazzo flooring, metal window frames and marble facade.

Staircase in communal area of hotel by House of Shila
The spilt-level communal space houses a lounge and cafe

“We designed Mona with great respect for the building’s 1950s architecture,” said Stefanidi.

“The structure itself remains unchanged, revealing 70 years of history. Emphasis was given to preserving original features.”

Iron staircase in the lobby of Mona Athens
House of Shila retained as many of the building’s original details as possible

Layering over industrial materials like exposed concrete and weathering steel, the team added wooden furniture and textured fabrics to bring warmth and tactility to the spaces throughout.

Accessed from the street, the 200-square-metre split-level lobby serves as a lounge and a cafe that can host pop-up events and installations.

Guest room with exposed concrete walls in hotel by House of Shila
A variety of textured materials are layered over the building’s industrial bones

An eclectic mix of furniture and decor populate the space, which can be opened to the outside via full-height folding glass doors.

The hotel’s six different room categories range from intimate rooms of around 16 to 20 square metres all the way up to the 55-square-metre penthouses and Mona’s Suite, with some of the larger rooms providing access to private balconies and patios.

Guest room at Mona Athens
Wash areas are open to the sleeping quarters in many of the rooms

All feature a similar sultry-meets-industrial aesthetic, which House of Shila compares to a “sensual refuge”, characterised by curtains of sheer cotton and richly-coloured velvet, low minimalist beds, custom-knitted carpets and soft lighting from bespoke fixtures.

In the majority of the guest rooms, the washing areas are open to the sleeping quarters – with separate water closets for privacy – and some feature comfy lounge seating.

Bathroom in suite at hotel by House of Shila
Larger suites have access to porches, balconies and patios

White freestanding Corian bathtubs and industrial-style rain showers are shrouded by translucent curtains, creating a “certain balance of comfort and drama”, according to the design studio.

The open rooftop offers a direct view of the Parthenon and other structures atop the Acropolis, the UNESCO-listed epicentre of Ancient Greece, while the tourist entrance to the site is a 15-minute walk from the hotel.

Reserved for Mona Athens guests and members, this outdoor space includes a long glass-and-metal communal table, cushioned sofas, outdoor showers, lush planting and a bar that serves cocktails and “eclectic fare” with ingredients sourced from the local food market.

There’s also a speakeasy venue in the basement, where pop-up exhibitions and private events can take place.

Corian bathtub in Mona Athens guest room
Freestanding Corian bathtubs are set against weathering steel

All of the decorative items in the rooms are available for guests to purchase, from the organic cotton bedsheets to the ceramic coffee cups.

Antebi’s background is in real estate development while Stefanidi was previously the creative director for immersive entertainment company Secret Cinema.

rooftop bar in hotel by House of Shila
The rooftop is reserved for hotel guests and members

The duo founded House of Shila after working together on their first hospitality project Shila – another boutique hotel-cum-arts venue in Athens’ Kolonaki neighbourhood.

Once a quick stopover for tourists on the way to the Greek islands, the capital is becoming a popular destination for city breaks in its own right, thanks to its rich history, growing culinary scene, year-round fair weather and relative affordability.

Acropolis view from Mona Athens rooftop
A prime view of the Acropolis can be enjoyed from the roof

The owner of Carwan Gallery described Athens as “the new Berlin” when the contemporary design gallery relocated there from Beirut in 2020.

Several boutique hotels have opened or undergone renovation in the downtown area over the past few years, including the neo-modernist Perianth Hotel and the Evripidis Hotel, which received a new rooftop bar and breakfast room.

The photography is by Ana Santl.

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