Sitting Outside at Natu

John Hill
17. September 2020
Photo: George Sfakianakis (All photographs courtesy of Pedrali)

Nature is clearly the star at the aptly named Natu Restaurant at the Goulandris Natural History Museum in Athens. A variety of trees, plants, and herbs combine with stone surfaces and steel furniture to create an oasis that looks even more inviting in the age of coronavirus.

Project: Natu Restaurant, 2020
Location: Goulandris Natural History Museum, Athens, Greece
Designer: Stones and Walls
Manufacturer: Pedrali
Products: Nolita collection of seating and tables designed by CMP Design; Ikon tables designed by Pio and Tito Toso
Photo: George Sfakianakis

Museums in Greece started reopening in June, with strict measures in place that are standard in museums elsewhere during the coronavirus pandemic: mandatory masks, social distancing, small groups, and limited capacity. Thanks to relatively low infections and infection rate, restaurants in Greece can also operate, though also following strict safety measures. The ideal venue, then, for museum visitors wishing to eat a meal or snack is, naturally, outside. The Goulandris Natural History Museum, located in Kifissia, a suburb northeast of Athens, is blessed with a generous garden space that is home to the new Natu Restaurant.

Photo: George Sfakianakis

Designed by Stones and Walls, the Athens interior design studio directed by Afroditi Bonatsou, Natu consists of indoor and outdoor seating, but it's the latter receiving the attention, in part due to the situation around the coronavirus, and in part due to the lovely natural setting incorporating outdoor furniture from Italy's Pedrali. A press release from Pedrali describes some of the natural features that make it such a relaxed setting: laurel, myrtle, pomegranate, lavender, and other aromatic herbs, plus water lilies, cypresses, pines, and olive trees. Stone walls and paving, fountains, steps, and small metal pavilions mix with the vegetation to define places to walk, sit, and enjoy the outdoors while taking a break from the museum.

Photo: George Sfakianakis

Pedrali was founded by Mario Pedrali in 1963, with metal garden chairs for outdoor use. The Nolita line designed by CMP Design very much follows from this origin, completely designed in steel to hold up to the elements. According to the designers, "the collection includes chairs and armchairs with two different back heights, stools in two different heights, low tables and foldable tables, a lounge chair and a chaise long." The chairs, stools, and tables — everything but the chaise — are clearly visible in the photographs of Natu presented here, though Stones and Walls also incorporated Ikon tables, whose conical bases round tops, in beige, meld beautifully into the solid surfaces of the garden setting. 

Nolita collection

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