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Inherent color and material color

, Berlin‑Boston, 1 December 2018

Antonino Cardillo’s House of Dust and Specus Corallii projects part of the Thinking Color in Space book which focuses both on the tangible aspects and design criteria of color, and on its indeterminate nature and its experience value

Thinking Color in Space Birkhäuser

In the House of Dust project in Rome, Antonino Cardillo works with few but effective material interventions at the border between reality and fiction. In an apartment dating from the 1960s, identical color shades are interpreted in completely different ways using colored surface textures of various roughness, which are placed in strong contrast to each other. In parts this has created strong color worlds that, under the effect of light and shadow, generate an array of atmospheres. The application of rough earth-colored plaster —⁠ ⁠the so-called dust layer —⁠ ⁠up to the level of an artificial horizon, which also connects with all windows and openings, generates a cave-like feeling. The rough plaster, which has been manually applied with a trowel and colored subsequently, and the polished cement plaster determine the interior of the main room. A change in color —⁠ ⁠from gray-brown to a shade of pink —⁠ ⁠separates the public and private areas of the apartment. The alienation of the material using the devices of color and texture surprises and, at the same time, generates a feeling of security. The mood in the rooms changes depending on the light situation. This demonstrates clearly how relative our perception of color is.

House of Dust

Antonino Cardillo, House of Dust, Rome, 2013. Photography: Antonino Cardillo

Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Cattedrale di Trapani, 2016, in Thinking Color in Space: Positions, Projects, Potentials, 2018, pp. 314–315.

Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii [opening chapter pages], Trapani, 2016, in Thinking Color in Space: Positions, Projects, Potentials, 2018, pp. 314‑315.


  • Kerstin Schultz, Hedwig Wiedemann-Tokarz, Eva Maria Herrmann, ‘Inherent color and material color’ , in Thinking Color in Space: Positions, Projects, Potentials, Birkhäuser, Berlin‑Boston, Dec. 2018, pp. 314‑315, 342‑343.