“Space Poisoning” by Phanos Kyriacou

In our quest to create a space which would act as a canvas to magnificently crafted clothes, shoes and accessories, old books and vinyl records, we asked Phanos Kyriacou, the Cypriot artist who is based in Berlin, to work with us and share our vision.

Despite him living abroad and the main means of communication between us being Skype, sharing a vision was in fact easier than we thought. Phanos’s own way of living shares the same principle with the concept of Black Celebration: “nothing is what it seems like”.

This is the principle which helps him comprehend the world around him and at the same time what keeps him alert and interested. Moreover, the subject of “space” and any opportunities to “poison” it preoccupy him immensely.

Phanos spent three weeks of his Easter holiday observing and studying every single detail of the store interior before returning to Berlin. We then embarked together on a strange, yet, most creative adventure, that turned him into “Master Skype” - the virtual super-hero who lives in a laptop screen, gets his energy levels up by staring directly at light bulbs and gives directions through wires - and us into his helpers in Nicosia.

Our journey involved very long, almost daily online conversations, many sketches and photographs, many puzzles and riddles that had to be solved and several maps for trips to unknown territories of the old city, in an effort to unbury little shops forgotten in previous decades which could provide us with the exact materials that Phanos had in mind.

It also involved the revival of elements and objects with a definitive presence in the local life of past decades and their transformation into ultra-modern volumes that occupy the space disproportionately, a three-month exploration of the unknown territory of un-galvanized sheet-metal and almost a scientific diploma on how to fight rust. A game of materials and finishes (and lack of them), a lot of stripping and scratching the floor which still looks like it has been shot by a crazy sheriff, several counselling sessions with the metal-technician in regards to “personal issues” that prevented him from working for a whole month, as well as a huge debate on whether the mezzanine needs safety rails at the edges or not (it turns out that it doesn’t).


Phanos Kyriacou still lives, works and exhibits in Berlin.
Spaces can be poisoned from abroad.
The metal technician is now divorced from his wife.
Black Celebration arrived in Nicosia 3 months after the original deadline - in December 2011.




1 /

View from the street.

2 /

The metal wall and door that are fixed behind the window were inspired by the aesthetics of mechanic shops in the old city of Nicosia.

3 /

An unfinished alcove at the entrance of the store has been left with its insides out, quoting the unfinished hems and raw materials used by many of the designers hosted by Black Celebration.

4 /

The desk, where small objects are displayed, is custom-made after the work-desk used in most offices in Cyprus in the 1970’s. It has been playfully exaggerated in volume and stripped down to its most essential elements: Metal and a matte overcoat.

5 /

The “altar” is an alcove under the staircase, dressed with the back side of formica, a very popular material in the local kitchens of the 1980’s. It is used as an exhibition space for special editions.

6 /

A. The “syntheto” could be found in every local living room in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Here, it was stripped off from colour and polish and has been exaggerated in size to be seen from both floors.

B. A concrete seat has been created at the right end of the entrance area, next to the stairway, playfully asserting itself against the volumes that dominate the lower floor.

7 /

Metal shelves “supported” by wooden elements (resurrected from the construction of the store by the artist), are juxtaposed against the strong light strip, one of the many that are scattered around the store.

8 /

A. The huge dressing room features a “carpet sofa”. The artist was inspired by the habit of local housewives, to roll up their carpets and hide them behind the sofa for the summer season. Here, he playfully turns the carpet into a sofa.

B. The metal rail is a continuation of the unfinished alcove (photo 3) that is found at the front of the dressing room.

C. Side view of the “carpet sofa”.

9 /

A view of the mezzanine, dominated by the light installation.

10 /

A view of the mezzanine: metal axes function as rails and metal sheets, scattered around form, their basis.

All Photos by Orestis Lambrou