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CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio

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CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio is a multidisciplinary team founded by Thanos Zakopoulos (Greece) and Katia Meneghini (Italy) operating internationally in the field of contemporary art and design.

Other InfoMore Info

Birth date 01/01/2009
Job Art & Design
Type Creative
Philosophy The organic structure of the studio is in constant motion; we operate on an international level in order to solve problems creatively mainly through art and design. Our multidisciplinary team has a creative vision which is not limited by a specific framework allowing us to develop work that ranges from product and space design to case specific art projects and installations. With the use of semiotic tools within the creative process we propose forms which seek to surpass common aesthetic values working on a cognitive level. The concept behind each project is to inspire a responsible awareness through the 'added value' that art has for society with a special attention to issues of environmental impact.
Specialization Architectural Design, Interior Design, Garden and landscape Design, Exterior Design, Temporary Space and Exhibition Design, Design of Everyday Things/Objects, Design with innovative materials, Lighting design, Concept designer

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Sole Nero is a new approach to the concept of optic stores. It is designed in such a way as to meet the demands of the contemporary market while at the same time through its’ unique ambient sets the framework for new trends. Conceived and realised entirely by CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio every single detail is combined to the next creating a whole which functions in more than one levels. From the name itself to the specialised furniture, the unique display areas to the inox mesh structures and even the complementing accessories; everything works in unison to create a seamless result.

Private Residences

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Spaces and objects have memories; we try to maintain and emphasise them, use the space for what it was or what it could have been while creating objects that reference their existence within it. We believe that materials should reveal their true identity and we combine them in diverse ways regardless of their nature. Details make a difference; we are interested in placing elements of surprise and contradiction within everyday life conditions which through their symbolism and functionality might make life a little more meaningful. Good design entails environmental awareness; we like to reutilise existing objects and materials transforming them and re-establishing their use, while putting at the same time a lot of effort in employing natural resources in order to manage spaces more efficiently.


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D\ZEN is a project by CTRLZAK inspired by the spiritual and physical balance of Zen practices. Two archetypal forms generate a small table and a stool; simple volumes supported by a stick in a paradoxical game of perfect balance.


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A project which integrates traditional fabrics from two diverse cultures, the European and the Chinese, blending them to form a single textile. Flagmented represents a possible future able to surpass normal cultural borders and expressions. Classical European embroidery and Toile de Jouy are coupled with traditional Chinese fabrics forming unique pieces that stitch together the two diverse realities. The unexpected results mark a new era of globalisation becoming the flags of a new hybrid culture.


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MONUMENTALE is a collection of dinner plates inspired by the Italian architectural heritage. The collection aims to promote cultural knowledge and the familiarization with Italian heritage around the table through a series of different designs. The circumference of each plate is characterized by a particular pattern corresponding to four floor plans of buildings selected for their historical value and location in the Italian territory. MONUMENTALE collection has won the first prize awarded by the Italian Ministry of Culture (MIBAC) in the context of DAB design for art and bookshop. Monumentale is produced in porcelain by Italian based company Adriani&Rossi; Edizioni and consists of 5 dinner plates, 5 fruit plates, 5 under plates, 5 soup plates, 2 sets of glasses and 3 vases. The pieces in the collection are available in gold or silver patterns

Aeras Tehnis

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Aeras Tehnis was a site-specific exhibition created for the Atelier of Spiros Vasiliou (1903-1985) in Eretria, Greece. The work presented emphasised the artistic value of the place itself conceived many years ago by the artist as an open air gallery. The perception of the exhibition space was transformed utilising stretch film in the basic RGB colours that were illuminated accordingly. The aura of the past and the memory of the artworks, that are regularly exhibited inside these pavilions, form the 'artistic air' which was enclosed and presented in a different point of view confining the pavilion spaces to their own limits. The viewer does not have access inside the pavilions and is forced to watch everything from the outside. The space in itself becomes the artwork and the audience is invited to re-evaluate the role of the environment around him as well as that of the traditional work of art. The exhibition opened with a correlated food event that took place in the exhibition area and was inspired by the main installation itself. Jelly cubes were created in the three RGB colours and where accompanied with similarly coloured liquids. The audience was invited in this way to partake at the ‘spatial’ experience by consuming these miniature works of art.

Hic et Nunc

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HIC ET NUNC | Souvenirs of a hybrid world [An installation by CTRLZAK for Palazzo Moroni in Bergamo in the context of Dimore & Design 2012]: An exhibition specifically conceived for the space of the old mansion with the scope of discovering and reliving it through a multitude of viewpoints. The Hybrid porcelain collection, the CeramiX Art collection, the fabrics of the Flagmented project and a sound installation designed specifically for the occasion interact with the traditional furnishings and objects already present in the space. Within the halls of the palace the artworks of the CeramiX Art collection mingle with the existing porcelain sculptures while the Hybrid bone china collection is displayed alongside the chinaware used in the mansion in past centuries. Everything is laid out in the various tables around the rooms expecting guests of another era or so it seems... The visitor thinks at first glance that all is as it should be but then gradually discovers the contemporary pieces which make reference to the existing porcelain pieces alongside them. The visitor is thus accompanied to a journey that makes him seek and discover among the objects of the past, "new" souvenirs of a hybrid world. The sound installation created for the occasion is located in the ballroom at the centre of the mansion. The visitors on their guided tour pass first from one side of the room, where classical waltz music is heard, while entering the room from the other side they listen pieces of traditional Chinese music. Concluding their tour they find themselves in the centre of the ballroom where the two kinds of music mingle together in a new hybrid one. The sound installation created for the occasion is located in the ballroom at the centre of the mansion. The visitors on their guided tour pass first from one side of the room, where classical waltz music is heard, while entering the room from the other side they listen pieces of traditional Chinese music. Concluding their tour they find themselves in the centre of the ballroom where the two kinds of music mingle together in a new hybrid one. The Flagmented banners –symbols of a new hybrid culture built on past legacies- greet visitors in the arcade entrance and weave an invisible thread with the history of the Moroni family that played an important role in the supply of raw materials (mainly silk) for the textile industry.


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The Topiaria collection consists of a series of garden furniture and related accessories made primarily out of metal combined also with glass elements. The collection is inspired by Italian Renaissance garden landscape design, which interpreted classic ideals of order and beauty. The concept behind those designs was intended for the aesthetic pleasure of the landscape, for contemplation and for the enjoyment of sights, sounds and smells of the garden itself. Through research among historical gardens, some key patterns were chosen to form the basis for the Topiaria collection, serving both on an aesthetic and functional level.

Tê /'tæ/

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Tê /'tæ/: Tea in Minnan dialect, spoken in the region of Fujian. The word “tea” used in several European languages is based on this pronunciation. Tê /'tæ/ is a collection of iron furniture inspired by Chinese tea culture. It combines local iron-ware tradition and the spirit of the Kungfu tea ceremony, two of the most important legacies of Anxi. The collection is based on a thorough research regarding the Kungfu tea ceremony. The process is quite time-consuming and requires considerable knowledge and concentration. It reflects a unique spirit towards life, which involves patience, skill and attention to details. The collection was designed paying special attention to Chinese tradition while having, at the same time, a European approach.

Transubstantia Paganus

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The culinary act, seen as an occasion of encounter, has been the first form of ritual: a pagan customary practice that has transcended to what is known as the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist. “Take and eat, this is my body; I am the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” According to Christian tradition transubstantiation is the physical transformation of bread and wine to Jesus Christ's body and blood. A laid out table with tableware created from church host (sacramental bread) is the transfiguration of Jesus’ body in objects, in an ethereal personalization and veneration of the product. A comment on mass consumerism and the lack of values through the profanation of the host as a food substance, bringing it thus back to a worldly level. In a contemporary historic moment of ideological, political and religious crisis TRANSUBSTANTIA PAGANUS is a mirror that allows the comparison between the spectator and the metaphorical meaning of the work; we are all part of the process, victims and executioners of the decadence in every field of contemporary life: religion, politics, society and the environment. The objects composing the banquet reflect the condition of fragility and emptiness, celebrating the return to a process where symbolism is stronger than morphology, denying the object’s own substance which is lost in primordial and fragile forms.


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iMUSEUM is an a new concept store located in the island of Mykonos which brings together historical replicas from various Greek archaeological museums. Milan based CTRLZAK studio is responsible for the entire design concept, which can be broken down to three main axes: stratification, excavation sites and museological representation. These themes where approached in different ways independently and then grouped together through the use of materials/colours and lighting.


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Inspired by the CeramiX Art project this collection brings art closer to everyday life. Hybrid is produced in fine porcelain in China by Italian company SELETTI and consists of various tableware. The pieces in the collection are graphically divided between east and west with a coloured line marking the boundary between the two styles and, paradoxically, strengthening at the same time the union. The Hybrid collection looks at the present while reflecting on the irony of history proposing consequently an evocative contemporary interpretation.

Walking Legs

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A project inspired by the classical wooden legs supporting old (and contemporary) furniture made with the traditional technique of wood turning. The wooden legs of old take new life as they liberate themselves from the restriction of tables and chairs and become walking sticks that no longer support surfaces but people. An experimental project which was done with the help of expert Italian woodturner Claudio Bolis who represents the 3rd generation of a family specializing in this traditional art.


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CTRLZAK Studio known for its hybrid modus operandi has been invited by carpet producer cc-tapis to work on a collection that reflects traditional values recomposing them in contemporary forms. The result of this collaboration is the collection of carpets Cross(me)Knot, one piece of which was initially presented at Maison & Objet and Domotex, where it won the Best Innovation price. The collection enhances the company’s philosophy by merging traditional processes with current cultural issues. Cross(me)Knot combines together Tibetan and Nepalese designs (where cc-tapis’ pieces are made) with typical European motifs. Following a meticulous research related to carpet weaving techniques in both cultures and their co-respective designs, CTRLZAK’s collection of hybrid carpets unites traditions, both visually and technically, forming new unique pieces. Cross(me)Knot conveys symbolically a future reality able to surpass geographical borders, based on the lessons of the past. Typical European motifs like those of the Savonnerie carpets or others of English origin merge with images of Tibetan tradition where the representation of tiger pelts holds a prominent role. The results are unexpected designs which form a single entity reconfirming the birth of a new hybrid culture. Technically wise the Tibetan part is weaved utilising the traditional Tibetan knot maintaining a certain thickness which is lost on the European part that is thinner but more detailed. The result is a unique piece which embodies diverse weaving techniques created on the same loom frame.


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With Ishihara project CTRLZAK Studio investigates the field of visual perception. The project consists of different creative expressions utilising various forms and materials. One of these expressions takes form in a collection of three carpets realised in collaboration with the French/Italian company cc-tapis. The series is a reference to the Ishihara colour test utilised to determine colour vision defects like daltonism. The Ishihara test consists of 38 plates containing groups of coloured dots of the same brightness on a white background. The subject examined has to recognize numbers or pathways that are usually invisible to daltonic people. In some cases though the table contents are conversely visible only to those with red/green colour deficiencies. The carpets designed by CTRLZAK Studio are inspired by those exact plates presenting patterns made by coloured dots which form an overall message decipherable only by colour-blind people. The three rugs have a different motif according to the message contained. With the Ishihara project CTRLZAK aims to bring attention not only on visual perception but aslo on the concept of perception as a whole. Only a small part of the viewers is able to entirely comprehend those messages. The project emphasizes different levels of reading, which can potentially vary for each human being. Thus the question arises: if the vision is subjective, is there an absolute basis for determining its nature?

Femme Fanatique

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Femme Fanatique is a space dedicated to the world of tango. Femme Fanatique’s shoes are designed with passion and are entirely handmade by specialized artisans. CTRLZAK’s design presents these exact elements, interpreting the essence and the posture of the dance while emphasizing at the same time the process and the quality of the product. Technique and improvisation, discipline and creativity are the elements that within the space of an embrace form the true nature of tango. As in a milonga, CTRLZAK’s project positions in space the various elements that embrace the visitor/client within the store.

To Bee or not to Bee

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A symbolic project/call to action to help bees survival that promotes a few simple gestures: avoid the use of chemical pesticides and plant more and diverse flowers. Because as A.Einstein put it: “If the bees disappear from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live”.


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Since ancient times people have come up with ways to safe keep their most precious possessions. Centuries ago in Greece and Rome, Egypt and even China containers with intricate mechanisms were devised all with one purpose: safeguard their content. Safes and vaults are still used nowadays and are now more intricate and complex than ever, even though the basic concept is still unchanged. CTRLZAK’s research on the subject took the object’s concept a step further questioning the actual role of a safe. Protection of valuables is an important issue but what is valuable and what is not is something that is decided by the people who place it inside a safe. The Precious project puts in evidence the valuable contents for everyone to see creating containers that are as valuable as the objects ‘hidden’ within them. It is up to the owner to decide what he wants to hide in plain sight.


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Human history has in many cases developed in a parallel manner regardless of differences in geography and climate. Examples of such parallel developments can be traced back to antiquity and they are usually related to mankind's most basic needs. Seating, being a common need among humans, has many such examples. CTRLZAK’s research in this project was focused on the historical chair archetypes that even through their multiple variations maintain their original character up today. An interesting example of parallel archetype design is found between the Rocchetto style European chair and the Deng gua (Lamp hanger) Chinese chair. Both chairs have existed for centuries and were used initially by the rich as general use chairs, ending up eventually in common people’s houses where they can still be found nowadays.


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Hegel in the first section of his book “The Philosophy of Nature” (§257) says: “Space ‘is’ time, that is time is the ‘truth’ of space”. In other words time gives life to space as it manifests its existence through space. One of the core characteristics of time is its’ irreversibility. This attribute of time can easily be perceived through the element of movement. Whenever we perceive movement the concept of time is embedded within our understanding and is sufficient proof of the fact that a certain period of time has passed. Sand clocks were among the first instruments that man devised to visually perceive and measure time. CTRLZAK’s Timeless project utilises the properties of traditional materials in reviewing this nearly forgotten object. The main body is made of mouth-blown borosilicate glass, respecting the traditional manufacturing techniques, providing the transparency and resistance that other solid materials lack thanks to its amorphous molecular properties. Inside the glass vial though instead of sand are found refined iron fillings that trickle from one compartment to the other, revealing the passage of time not only through their movement but also through the creation of a small spatial crystalline structure. The base and supporting elements are made of brass a metal that is traditionally used for scientific instruments and precision machinery. Furthermore its low magnetic permeability allows the magnet hidden in its base to interact unhindered with the iron fillings contained within the main glass body. Time is thus doubly revealed to the observer not only through perpetual movement but also through the properties of the materials that contain its visualization.