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General News

Results of the Student Sunglasses Frame Competition & AR Tour of Kois Mansion

SYROS – From the capital of the Cyclades, Syros with its impressive architecture and masterful combination of the old with the new, the classic with the modern, Stavros Kois and Kois Optics lead the evolution and innovation in the space of optical goods in Greece.

Kois Optics and the Department of Product and Systems Design of the Polytechnic School of the University of the Aegean, in the context of linking research with domestic social and business activity, held the first student competition for sunglasses inspired by the ceiling painting that adorns the Kois Mansion.

Stavros Kois, second from left, with the representatives of the University of the Aegean and the winner of the student sunglass frame competition Ioannis Tzannis, at right. Photo: Courtesy of Kois Optics

The results of the competition were announced on the day of the inauguration of the renovated hall of the mansion which now also has the specially designed exhibition space with the glasses created in the competition. During the event, the three best eyeglass designs were awarded, while the lens company Hoya in collaboration with Kois Optics announced the sponsorship of special lenses that help restful vision in the new digital world.

The event was flanked by the ambassadors of the ‘Orophographia’ series of items, the beloved journalist and presenter Maria Bekatorou and the two-time champion and record holder of the Euroleague, originally from Syros, Georgios Printezis, who presented the awards to the winners of the competition. The top prize went to Ioannis Tzannis.

The ceiling painting that adorns the Kois Mansion in Ermoupolis, Syros. Photo: Courtesy of Kois Optics

The video of the presentation of the student sunglasses frame competition results, which includes statements by Bekatorou and Printezis, is available on YouTube: https://shorturl.at/aeFG3.

The Kois family mansion in the heart of Ermoupolis, with its facade crowned by an impressive pediment and its interior adorned by a marble staircase and elaborate frescoes, is one of the 1,290 neoclassical buildings in the Cycladic capital that can transform a random tour of its narrow streets to a visit to an open-air architectural museum. In the great central hall of the mansion, today, something from the future comes to converse with the past.

It is an augmented reality (AR) application implemented by the University of the Aegean and draws inspiration from the imposing floor plan of the grand living room of the old town house. Magnificent image, designed with impressive detail and technique, resembling a depiction of a dreamlike celestial dome, as in the hollow domes of churches. Protagonists in the composition, eight gods of antiquity (Zeus, Hermes, Themis, Apollo, Demeter, Athena, Poseidon, and Artemis) and four heroes of the Greek Revolution (Rigas Feraios, Georgios Karaiskakis, Theodoros Kolokotronis, and Konstantinos Kanaris) stand lined up.

An image from the Augmented Reality (AR) application at the Kois Mansion. Photo: Courtesy of Kois Optics

As Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou, from the Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering at the University of the Aegean, informs us: “Using the camera of a tablet, we can discover in some corners of the living room digital characters talking to each other, such as e.g. Hermes and Kolokotronis, who have both come down from above and come to life, and are now discussing how it is that they are together in the same painting. In another corner appear the Prosecutor and the Prefect, two heroes taken from M. Karagatsis’ ‘Great Chimera’, while somewhere else we see the great-grandmother of the Kois family and Vafiadakis, the longest-serving mayor of the neoclassical Ermoupolis, discussing how it was for refugees to come from Chios 200 years ago and for this place to be given the opportunity to lay new foundations and flourish. Through these folktales, the visitor gets a good taste of what Ermoupolis might have been like during its great flourishing and acquires an essential first insight into the character and history of the island.”

Using the application in practice, we notice that these 3D digital models look absolutely realistic, their movement and speech are created with state-of-the-art motion capture technology from a research project by the University of the Aegean in Syros, specifically the Interactive Design Laboratory Systems under the guidance of Professors Damianos Gavalas and Spyros Vosinakis along with researchers Dimitris Baltas and Iliana Theou. The project is funded by an ESPA program entitled ‘Regional Excellence’ and among its goals is to present the digital characters, their appearance, movement and speech with as naturally and realistically as possible. “It’s also a program that has a lot to do with how to strengthen tourism in the region of the South Aegean through such innovations,” Chatzigrigoriou noted, adding that “the fact that this experience does not need any additional technology to be activated, other than a tablet, is of particular importance. In the future, an average cell phone will suffice.”

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