www.antoninocardillo.com / works / grottoes / house-of-dust /

House of Dust


Project for an apartment near to Via Veneto and Villa Borghese, with brown rough plaster and series of pink arched doors

In this house classical orders and golden proportions celebrate dust. A grey base supports a ceiling of rustic plaster of the colour of the bare earth: craving for primordial caverns, for Renaissance grotesques, for baroque nymphaeums in Doria Pamphilj, for faintly Liberty façades in the streets off Via Veneto. A sequence of compressions and dilatations makes up the space of the house. On the walls, passages and windows appear, now dug out of the base, now like carvings in a baguette. A series of arches, memories of Trecento Italian painting, disguises doors and cupboards. Among these, one studded with a pink glass doorknob introduces the intimate rooms, which too are distinguished by the palest pink on the walls: yearning for dawns and flowers, the colour of beauty, the colour of beauty that dies.

This text was first published on dezeen.com , tr. Charles Searson, London, 5 Aug. 2013.

House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust House of Dust

Antonino Cardillo, House of Dust, Rome, 2013.


Architecture is dust.
Dust that becomes form,
Dust transfigured by the mind.

Dust is memory so dust is also death.
Ancestral memory of death,
Dust refers to the beginnings.

That modernity that disowns sediment,
That shaves walls, that sanitises space;
That modernity that disowns dust,
Disowns even death.

Deprived of memory,
And so slave to a credible youth,
Ignoring its end, it repeats itself;
Without end.

In this house classical orders
And golden proportions celebrate dust:
Angels and choirs have abandoned Heaven,
And Heaven has adorned itself with earth.

This text was first published in House of Dust, tr. Charles Searson, Rome, May 2013, p. 7. Printed in 250 copies.


  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre, J.G. Cotta, Tübingen, 1810; It. ed. Renato Troncon, La Teoria dei Colori, Il Saggiatore, Milan, 2008, pp. 260.


  • Time: March 2012‑March 2013
  • Place: Ludovisi, Rome, Italy
  • Area: 115 m² (one storey)
  • Typology: apartment


  • Architecture design, construction management, and furniture design: Antonino Cardillo
  • Client: Massimiliano Beffa
  • Building contractor: Galliani & Giorgetti
  • Masonry: Ripan Michele
  • Plaster: Julian Paraschiv
  • Logistics: Giorgio Giorgetti
  • Painting: Petrica Rotaru
  • Electrical system: Luca Camai
  • Plumbing and clima system: Emiliano Proietto
  • Cement: Elio Martorana and Michele Martorana
  • Parquet: Style Maison
  • Stones: Marmi Ghirardi
  • Handle: GIL (via Handles Rome)
  • Lamps: Armand Darot
  • Chair: Kazuhide Takahama
  • Sofa: Piero Lissoni
  • Bookcase: Giuseppe Bavuso
  • Shower curtain: Pasquale Lo Guercio
  • Idea of ‘Dust’ from a conversation with Ana Araujo at St Paul’s Cathedral of London
  • Thanks to Ava Cappelletti, Gioia Guerzoni, Pasquale Marino, Paula O’Brien, and Auronda Scalera