By becoming an architect, Elena Vandelli fulfilled her need for design and creation, especially when projects allow her to combine designing and making things by hand. She has a strong passion for handcrafted objects that provide her with an immediate satisfaction, thanks to the unique process of passing from the idea to the final material object. She designs unique furniture items and lighting features for specific architectural projects, as well as ceramic and leather objects.
In 2014, she launched the brand Elena Vandelli Bags, signing a leather and canvas bags design collection, and in 2017 she created the brand Elena Vandelli Ceramics. She uses clay as a medium to create functional wares and sculptural items.
Elena Vandelli Bags Collection
For Elena, a bag is a shell. The shell is usually perceived as a hard and rigid boundary between exterior and interior, public and private, but a handbag represents a different kind of shell: a malleable one. It’s a shell that protects, hides, secures, organizes, separates, and sometimes traps, or even devours, objects.
Elena has created two collections: the “Leather” collection, a collection for all day use, especially designed for women who follow their own style; and the “Canvas” collection, a large minimal canvas bag inspired by the bright colors of the Greek islands and perfect for summer holidays.
A wide range of materials are used, from suede and leather to fabrics and metal, creating a contrast between textures and hues. Combined within a clear geometric outline, fabrics woven in different ways, smooth or textured, are used; details refer to traditional designs of other times and places, or hint to imaginary origins. Elena’s aim is always to balance opposing forces.
Leather L+X Bag
In her design “L+X Bag”, the surface is folded and made of leather, a material that improves with time, recording traces of life. It is sewn at the opposite corner, creating an “L” shape and the main body of the bag. A cut in an “X” shape creates the handle. The aim is to avoid any additional decorative elements. The bag is created using the minimum materials and gestures.
Leather Chess—Ceramic Chess
Elena’s new design is a chess.
The two materials that have been used for the construction of the chess set are leather and inox. Leather is the basic element both of the board and of the pieces, whereas metal is the connecting link that brings together the various leather surfaces, both the board and the pieces themselves.
She has also realized the same concept adopting a completely different material: clay, creating a ceramic chess. (white stoneware & black earthenware, glazed).
The central idea for the chess sets’ design starts with the base itself, with its classic motif of alternating surfaces in two colors. The repetition—accumulation of these two-dimensional shapes creates the pieces, by transforming surface into volume.
In its three-dimensional form, the square becomes a cube and is the pawn, the lowest piece in rank and height. The form of the cube gives it a rigid, disciplined character.
The rook, the knight, and the bishop are intermediary in hierarchy and also have an intermediate height. They are created by the shifting of the surfaces that make up the initial cube in one or two directions. In this way, their difference in height relative to the pawn and their differentiated shape are assured.
Finally, the king and queen are created by further shifting upwards the surfaces, symbolizing their position at the top of the hierarchy. The role of the king is of fundamental for the outcome of the game; his form is austere and continues to be marked by straight surfaces, since his movements are limited. On the contrary, the queen has curved surfaces, representing the breadth of her movements and the strategy with which she moves.
Discover Elena’s handcrafted collections at: www.elenavandelli.com
Elena Vandelli Stavropoulou, Architect’s Profile
Elena Vandelli Stavropoulou is the founder of the architectural practice Stavropoulou Architects based in Athens.
Elena Vandelli Stavropoulou believes that architecture still has the power, through innovative, timeless, and sustainable design, to improve our environment, our lives, and consequently our future.
Stavropoulou Architects main design components that make up the total design procedure are:
Aesthetic & Technical Innovation: Elena’s main architectural challenge is to create an innovative poetical space through aesthetic and technical research whilst always aiming for a cost and resource conscious realization. The practice’s experience ensures collaboration with specialized consultants and high-quality suppliers and craftsmen, enabling the meticulous realization of the architectural concept and allowing a holistic approach whose main goal is to implement the brief in the most sustainable way possible.
The Implementation of Bioclimatic Principles: Departing from the conviction that bioclimatic concerns and sustainability are not a limit to the imagination but contribute to architectural inspiration in the course of the design process, Elena emphasizes the application of bioclimatic strategies in relation to the project’s site.
The practice is especially sensitive to sustainable architecture, which it considers to be a way of approaching and thinking through a project in order to create a unique built environment.
Elena Stavropoulou Vandelli’s design portfolio includes residential architecture, small industrial buildings, exhibition design, retail spaces and object design. The practice’s work also extends to environmental consulting and construction management.
Elena leads the total design process from concept design stage to the detailed structural design phase. She takes on a managing role in the construction procedure & supervision to ensure the realization of each project according to the design principles.
Discover her architectural work at: www.stavropoulou.archi