The site of the old workshop at 6 Polyfimou Street houses the “Mentis Donation”. The donation by Spyros, Marina, and Othon Mentis to the Benaki Museums includes the sum total of all the merchandise in storage, as well as the equipment of the MENTIS fibre manufactory, one of the oldest workshop and commercial enterprises in the country in the field of fibre processing and production of passementerie (galloons, ornamental cords – piping, braids, fringes, tassels, brandebourg frogging, curtain tiebacks).
For over one-and-a-half centuries, the products of MENTIS Ltd. decorated Greek traditional costumes, theatrical costumes, clerical vestments and military uniforms, and creations of well-known couturiers in Greece and abroad. When the Mentis family was forced to close the business in 2011, the Benaki Museum accepted the generous offer of the Mentis family, in order to create a space that will be a living workshop / museum.
The goal is to offer visitors an opportunity to learn how a historical workshop functioned; follow every step involved in silk processing and the crafting of masterpieces out of thread, for which the company was renowned.
At the same time, this new space aims to become a centre for the conservation of traditional crafts related to thread/filament processing, weaving and embroidery. Beyond monitoring the living process of production, the Benaki Museum Educational Programme Department is collaborating with highly-skilled workers to arrange a programme of classes for adults about these traditional arts.
At the same time, the Benaki Museum Shop, in its ongoing efforts to connect old know-how with a contemporary look, invites young artists to be inspired by the products of the MENTIS workshop. Their work, objects with a contemporary aesthetic, which use traditional materials, will be put on display for sale at the Piraios Street Building Shop
photos from our last visit.
photos by Dido