Natassa Pappa and the Urban Palimpsest

04/12/2017

Today we’re introducing the und. Cover project, where we invite local designers, illustrators and other creatives to design a custom cover for und. Athens. We then take the opportunity to tell their story and share their latest news on our platform! The first to do the honours is our very own Natassa Pappa, the Athens-based editorial designer who likes to spend more time exploring the city than in front of her Mac screen. As you may know, Natassa is the creative director of the print edition of und. Athens, which we released in April 2017—a project that brought her loves for urban exploration, mapping and design together.

Text by Kiriakos Spirou
Photo by Giorgios Makkas

I like calling Natassa an urban cartographer, because of her passion for the urban landscape and the ways people traverse it. Her Into Stoas city guide was published in 2015, and is a project that maps all the stoas in the city centre of Athens. Most of the buildings in central Athens were built around the 1950’s and 60’s, and many of them have an arcade (or stoa, depending on who you’re talking to) on street level with shops; these stoas are often interconnected, creating a labyrinthine network of passageways and hidden courtyards, staircases and basements. Taking vintage typography as the red string that connects the stoas together, Natassa has created a kind of “walking lecture” as she calls it, which leads visitors around the city centre and into some of Athens’s best kept secrets.

For our und. Cover project, Natassa has decided to create a new illustration for us. Its title is “Dreaming of new spaces in a city of no space,” and has to do with her (ongoing) search for a new apartment that will also function as her studio. Things our of order, distorted perspectives, daydreaming idealism and a sense of impermanence are all visible in the drawing, which also has a feeling that it has been created with whatever it was readily available on the designer’s desk: coloured markers, pencils, pens. Hopefully the Airbnb plague and other real estate-related conundrums will not deter Natassa from keep looking for her dream house, and that she’ll be able to draw another picture for us very soon, this time of her new apartment.

Natassa Pappa’s walking lectures Athens Walkthrough / Into Stoas are listed in und. Athens, at number 59. You can find out more about her studio’s work on her brand new website http://www.natassapappa.com/.