We are saddened to announce the passing of prolific Greek designer Minas. He passed away full of days at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of inspiration, innovation and international acclaim garnered for his jewellery, furniture and design objects. His family announced his passing on Wednesday the 25th of March through a Facebook post.
Born in 1938 in Nea Ionia, Athens, Minas trained as a goldsmith from the age of 15 at Vourakis, a historic Greek jewellery house. He honed his draughtsmanship during his two years serving at the Greek Navy, where he created the illustrations for several engineering maintenance manuals—an experience that he later acknowledged had an influence on his designs. After a short career as a professional cyclist, he dedicated himself to smithing, and moved to New York in 1968.
While in New York he founded his own jewellery studio, which expanded significantly, gaining him international fame. In the 1980s he brought his entire studio back to Athens and continued his operations from here. Soon after, his interest expanded in furniture design and architecture; by the end of the 80s he designed his personal summer home and Astra Club on the island of Mykonos. His approach to design was holistic and purist: every single item in Astra and his home, from the doorknobs to the woodwork, was custom-designed by Minas in his recognisable organic design language.
In 1992 he became the first non-Scandinavian designer to join the roster of Georg Jensen, the famed Danish jewellery house. He contributed design objects and jewellery lines to the house, as well as the only watch he ever created—a now-collectible concave wristwatch that was produced by Georg Jensen in 1000 units. Georg Jensen presented several exhibitions of Minas's work in Copenhagen, London, Paris and New York.
The work of Minas, from his smallest earrings to his furniture and architecture, has always the human form as its reference. Minas's jewellery follows the lines of its wearer's body as to be comfortable and safe as much as beautiful; to stress this, the designer used to say that one could sleep wearing his jewellery. Everything Minas designed exudes a rare mix of intellect, artifice and humanity, in the sense that his creations feel at the same time durable and soft. You can read more about the designer and his work in this article we published about his 2018 exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens, and also watch a short documentary about his life here.
We extend our sincere condolences to his family. Minas's creative spirit will be missed.