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A courageous project


Dana Tomic Hughes on Cardillo’s House of Dust in Yellowtrace



Italian architect Antonino Cardillo has designed a House of Dust in Rome based on the geometric ratio of the golden section. The horizontal division deliberately separates living spaces and line of furniture from the textured plaster walls and ceilings above. Look, I must admit that my first reaction to this interior was slightly confused. At first I couldn’t decide if I was able to move past the Popcorn ceiling aesthetic, but once I gave this house a chance to ‘talk to me’, I’ve taken a different view.

In this house classical orders and proportions celebrate dust. The golden ratio divides the sides of the living room: a grey base supports a ceiling of rustic plaster of the colour of the bare earth.

I love the way the windows are set within deep recesses, and every doorway celebrates the transition from one space to the next with exaggerated deep reveals. As a nod to 14th century Italian painting, Cardillo has created a series of arches that disguise doors and cupboards.

The doorway that leads to the private part of the house, with master bedroom and bathroom, is marked with a pink glass doorknob (oh I could say so much about this little detail, but I shall keep it clean.) In this space, walls are ceilings are not demarcated with textured plaster finish. Instead, there is deliberate change of tone with dominant pale shades pink.

This is a courageous project with a fresh aesthetic and a unique vision. It’s the kind of interior that creates new trends, memes and movements. In today’s day and age where we are exposed to the entire world through our computer screens, designers tend to move towards a more unified aesthetic as we are all influencing each other so greatly. This is why it is so important to see projects like this one, that break the mould and bring so much individual character to the table. I realise this aesthetic is not for everyone. It’s not a home I would chose to live in either. Having said this, I know this space will come up in my references next time I am seeing to create something a little less ordinary. Bravo Mr Cardillo!

House of Dust

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


  • Dana Tomic Hughes, ‘House of Dust’,[↗], Sydney, 27 Sept. 2013.