Specus Corallii

TRAPANI, Italy, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina
20 Aug 2016




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.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

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.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

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.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

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.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

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.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

Thus Specus Corallii, with its evocation of a mysterious underwater dimension, relates that imaginary which, from the sea, has sedimented for millennia the sense of the life of the city and its landscape.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

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.


Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

Antonino Cardillo, Specus Corallii, Trapani, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Sala Laurentina, 2016. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.