The DESTE Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 in Geneva by the collector Dakis Joannou. All these years it has been organising contemporary art exhibitions and globally supporting art-related projects and publications. Through its exhibition facilities in Athens and an extensive programme of exhibitions to promote both emerging and established artists, it aims to expand the audience of contemporary art, increase the opportunities for young artists and explore the connections between contemporary art and culture.
Between 1983 and 1996, when the DESTE Foundation had yet to acquire an exhibition space, its events were hosted at the House of Cyprus in Athens. In 1998 it moved to its first permanent space in a former paper factory in Neo Psychiko, which was redesigned by the American architect Christian Hubert. The venue hosted an ambitious programme of exhibitions with the main focus on the collection of Dakis Joannou, such as Global Vision, Jeff Koons: A Millennium Celebration, Monument to Now, which was part of the Cultural Programme of the Athens Olympic Games, etc. In 2006 it moved to the Foundation’s headquarters in Nea Ionia, in a 1931 building renovated by the architect Christos Papoulias.
With its steady focus on promoting pioneering thought and creativity, it has expanded its programme to include projects such as the DESTE Prize, awarded to a young Greek artist every two years, the annual events at the former Slaughterhouse of the island of Hydra, and the destefashioncollection, a project aimed at exploring the links between contemporary art and fashion.
Constantly developing collaborations with internationally acclaimed curators and artists as well as institutions in Greece and abroad, the Foundation aims to showcase all major artistic innovations and organise events that reflect the global trends in contemporary art.