The Coral Cave is a refuge from the world. A grotto where love can still happen. The place where the city regains its sacral dimension that binds those who were to those who are. The Coral Cave explores a Pre-Modern idea: when architecture was imagination and the city was the labyrinth of memory. That labyrinth renewed every day with the caresses of our eyes; that speaks to us, mutedly, of lives lived. The image is the place where the dead speak to the living. Where it confirms the idea of life as permanence and tradition. Without this silent dialogue, the city dies; entertainment and alienation take over neutralizing the subversive potential of love.
The Coral Cave speaks of the sacred that comes from the sea. The cadence of space recounts the allegories of beauty and metamorphosis imaged from shells evoked by the sediments of the stone base, and corals, to whose willowy asperities alludes the pink perpendicular vault. Shells and corals populate the imagery of the town of Trapani. The story of the arrival of the Madonna from the sea and the carved stones of her sanctuary reveal how, along with the tradition of corals, the theme of the shell is a fundamental myth of the sacredness of the city.
The colour and tactile surfaces of the Specus rediscover the sensuality of the stone and dust that speak of the place and the bowels of the earth where they were carved. Thus the Coral Cave, with its evocation of a mysterious underwater dimension, relates that consciousness which, from the sea, has sedimented for millennia the sense of the life of the city and its landscape.
The Coral Cave looks like an antique oratory. The classic configuration of its architecture, a rectangle governed by the ‘silver ratio’, makes it available for different uses and interpretations; preventing the dominance of function and technology, always casual and transitory pretexts for architecture, from bringing about the obsolescence of the work.
Time: January 2015 - August 2016.
Place: Via Generale Domenico Giglio, 12, Trapani, Italy
Gross area: 260 m²
Cost including systems: € 120.000 (€ 460 per square meter)
Please enquire with the Cathedral of Trapani about visiting Specus Corallii.
Architect and construction manager: Antonino Cardillo
Client: Gaspare Gruppuso, Cathedral of Trapani
Masons: Nino Canino, Mario Daidone, Rocco Maranzano
Stonecutter: Francesco Scontrino
Terrazzo tiles: Pietro Basile
Pozzolana: Orsolini Amedeo
Tile installers: Vito Carollo, Daniele Scarlata
Floor sanders: Antonino Morreale, Davide Morreale
Carpenters: Paolo Canino, Michael Coppola
Painter: Giuseppe Daidone
Door handles: GIL, Murano (Handles 1970, Roma)
Electricians: Antonio Bica, Giuseppe Oddo, Antonio Senia
Plumbers: Morici Bartolo, Saverio Gulizia
Site safety coordinator: Michele Li Causi
Text and photography: Antonino Cardillo
Thanks to Cristofaro Anile, Ana Araujo, Pietro Maltese, Rosaria Nicotra, Michele Nucciotti, Charles Vella.
«Abitare la Terra», no.41, April 2017, Rome.
«DEAR Magazin», no.1, April 2017, Berlin, pp.3,13,68-85+cover.
«AD Architectural Digest», April 2017, Munich, p.111.
designlines.de, BauNetz, 29.11.16, Berlin.
«La Sicilia», 28.10.16, Catania, p.13.
dezeen.com, 26.10.16, London.
«Lettera Aperta», no.325, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, December 2015, Trapani, pp.10-11.
Specus Corallii © Antonino Cardillo