The subterranean location of many nightlife establishments can give these spaces a gloomy and at times seedy air. This is not the case with Antonino Cardillo’s Off Club in Rome. Here, monolithic geometric volumes in gleaming black enamel are set against others in warm grey. In Cardillo’s words, “it reunites the cinema of Kubrick and De Palma, Grand Theft Auto, Miami Art Deco, Escher’s perspectives, Byzantine iconostases, and Japanese folding screens.” These hieratic forms create an atmosphere of slightly menacing mystery — one could expect a Mithraic rite to begin at any moment. This is compounded by the impasto plasterwork on the ceiling and upper walls, Cardillo’s trademark technique, which in this instance imparts a chthonic atmosphere to the space. Counteracting any gloom, however, is the gold paint covering this plaster, which reinforces the temple-like impression — or perhaps, the feeling that we could be in Nero’s subterranean Domus Aurea.
This case study is part of ‘Typology: Nightclub’, featured in AR April 2020 on Darkness. Click here to read the full article.