THE LAKKOS PROJECT
The Lakkos project is a collaborative, volunteering effort of creative, dreamy and sensitive people, associations and the local entities to transform a historic neighborhood of Heraklion’s old city into a space for artistic expression and entertainment.
But let’s first take things from scratch : Lakkos is a picturesque neighborhood in the Southwest part of Heraklion’s historic center as marked from its ancient venetian walls. Its contemporary history starts though in the beginning of the 20th century when it was turned to a Red lights district. The establishment of brothels attracted in the area analogous kind of people (such as prostitutes, pimps, madams, lovers etc) and a parallel world of dark bars, underground cafes and illegal activities was soon established turning Lakkos into an “infamous” area. Many refugees from Asia minor in the 20’s, found then shelter in Lakkos, finding ways to survive through its illegal activities, bringing along theri own habits and traditions enriching Lakkos subculture with their own instruments, songs, dances, expressions etc. During the 2nd world war and the German occupation of Crete Lakkos brothels were removed and the whole pre – mentioned subculture began to decline.
Carrying the bad fame of its past, Lakkos remained neglected for the next decades, during the urban, post war development of modern Heraklion : Α deprived, although charming neighborhood with old houses and dark streets … until the arrival of the imposing Cultural & Conference center of Heraklion and a couple of courageous coffee & dinner spots shed light on its abandoned face and its scarred still charming past … a past that inspired a small initially group of people, driven by the Australian artist Mathew Halpin, to create “The Lakkos Project”, a voluntary movement that soon received the support of other volunteers, local entities, companies and associations.
By the time we installed “Σόλο” offices in Lakkos, the very first seeds of “The Lakkos Project” had flourished with lots of outdoor installations, Street artworks, green corners, blooming gardens, colorful houses etc having already attracted the attention of public, media and cultural entities. While being an active part of Lakkos transformation, having done as a company our first steps on Lakkos alleys, we are now creating a series of labels inspired by Lakkos street art and artworks of its artistic community … travelling the spirit of “The Lakkos Project” through our bottles …
Mathew Halpin is an Australian visual artist and the soul of Τhe Lakkos Project. Resident of Lakkos where he also maintains his atelier since 2011, Mathew was dreaming the revival of this artistic neighborhood a long time ago. Ηe is the soul behind almost every artistic action which takes place in Lakkos , creator of many Street artworks in the neighborhood’s alleys and coordinator of events and happenings in the area with the participation of artists around the world. With obvious references to the Chinese culture, his artwork “Εverybody loves good neighbors” was selected for the label of a hybrid SOUR KOLSCH for the Chinese market… expressing the harmonic coexistence of two beer styles in a single bottle.
Clive (Clivios) Birch is a British artist, Graphic Designer and creator of ΝowHeraklion.com. While a resident of Lakkos for almost a decade, Clive was one of the first members of “The Lakkos Project” creating an info – point panel in one of its squares and two large scale murals in the park of the neighborhood. He was always fascinated by Robots collecting vintage editions from the 30’s, feeling that robots make great companions who rarely answer back. Thinking that a colorful robot could be a good friend of the kids playing in the park, he painted “LAKKOU: The robot”, which was selected as the label of a hybrid NEW ENGLAND MAIBOCK for the Chinese market … communicating the playful Symbiosis of two beer styles in a single beer.