Lefteris Lazarou launched a new project, quite different from everything else, a project of solidarity and social sensitivity, since he supports with all his might the brand new offices of the street magazine “Shedia” (trnsl. raft), which opened in the center of Athens.
The “Shedia plan” was built on the vision of creating a solidarity hub and applied social innovation. The people who have been devoted to this project, call it a “series of goodness and offering from great people and institutions, where each and every one of them contributes together”. The phrase of the great French writer André Breton, “human is the answer whatever the question”, is their motto which is written on a blackboard at the entrance because it concentrates the philosophy of a team that works tirelessly to activate, to educate and create jobs for the poorest of the poor of the country.
The four levels of the “Shedia home” have it all: well-made food and snacks, coffee, cocktails made by bartender Petros Mytilineos and “Shedia art”, a showroom with handmade, high-quality aesthetic objects made using the reused paper of the unsold issues of the magazine.
It is a place for everyone, which, among other things, has tables for people with mobility problems and an acoustic version of the menu, while the nature of the project, besides being profoundly social, is also environmental. “We wanted beyond the social dimension that the project also has, to have an environmental dimension as well. The takeaway packs are without a lid and straw and our straws are paper, bamboo or thick pasta. Also, our wall is lined with a wood panel and the team of “Shedia art” creates a series of decorative and jewelery from the paper and old issues of the magazine. This year we also have a multifaceted collaboration with the Greek Festival of Athens and Epidaurus. We’ve got old catalogs, brochures and posters, and the Shedia team uses them to make various items available at the festival’s sell points. We have even addressed other road magazines to disseminate all these practices and soon the trainees themselves become trainers”, says Mrs. Emilia Douka, Communications Manager. For all this and many other things, the chef Lefteris Lazarou and Mrs. Douka proudly spoke to Olivemagazine.gr at the opening of the doors of the hospitable new house of “Shedia”.
Building the foundations of “home raft”
“The project has, among other things, been supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which has, over time, supported us in its first steps since the establishment of the magazine until now. A communication with the Onassis Foundation’s Arts and Letters at the beginning of 2018, when the lease of the historic building was completed at the intersection of Kolokotronis and Nikiou streets, for contacts with the architects and, in general, the renovation of buildings, led ‘Shedia’ to Mr. Vasilis Barzokas, CEO and founder of Design Ambassador. Mr. Bartzokas mobilized the great architect Mr. Dimitris Potiropoulos, the office of which (Potiropoulos + Partners) offered the architectural study for the ground floor area, where the shop, the raft showroom, the café-bar and the restaurant unfold. Iosif Arambatzis and the Epikiklos Construction Company undertook the construction on favorable terms, Anna Sbokou and ASLight’s office offered the lighting study and entered the donor search process for the required equipment and the architects Tonia Katerini and Elias Papageorgiou had the technical supervision while doing the architectural study. And, this way, the foundations of the new ‘Shedia’ house came into being”, as they say on the official website of the magazine.
Chef Lazarou loves the project and its creators and supports it with all his soul. It is a way of expressing the need to offer those who need support in every way. “We loved the concept and we embraced the “Shedia home”. My first contact with the people of the magazine was about two years ago as a street vendor. When I was asked to contribute, I did it with great pleasure in the concept that “recruits” famous names for an hour in order to make the form more widely known and help its sellers sum up faster a small capital that helps them reintegrate into society. The 43 miniature homes hanging from the ceiling of the “Shedia home” symbolize the number of people who managed to gather this capital, open a home of their own, work and return to life. Because that’s exactly what’s most important. Let’s support these people by helping them stand on their feet again. The aim is to give them basic skills, to educate them, to be able to cope with the needs of the market. The dream of all the people involved in this great project is to be the starting point for a new life and to extend to other cities as well”.