Specus Corallii

ANTONINO CARDILLO, [music events space], Sala Laurentina, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Trapani,

Scenario

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

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

Data

Time: Jan. 2015–Aug. 2016
Place: Sala Laurentina, Via Domenico Giglio, 11–12, Trapani, Italy
Area: 260 m² (one storey)
Typology: music events space

Credits

Client: Consiglio Parrocchiale degli Affari Economici, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Diocese of Trapani
Director: Gaspare Gruppuso
Councilors: Giuseppe Martinelli, Maurizio La Rocca, Chiaramonte Giuseppe, and Ruggirello Mario
Secretary: Leo Santi

Architecture design and construction management: Antonino Cardillo
Photography: Antonino Cardillo
Text: Antonino Cardillo
English translation: Antonino Cardillo and Charles Searson

Construction foreman: Vincenzo Daidone
Masonry: Mario Daidone, Rocco Maranzano, and Nino Canino
Stone: Francesco Scontrino
Terrazzo: Pietro Basile
Pavement installation: Vito Carollo and Daniele Scarlata
Pavement polishing: Antonino Morreale and Davide Morreale
Doors and windows: Paolo Canino and Michael Coppola
Doors and windows painting: Giuseppe Daidone
Electricians: Antonio Bica, Giuseppe Oddo, and Antonio Senia
Plumbers: Morici Bartolo and Saverio Gulizia
Door handles: GIL (via Handles)

Thanks to Cristoforo Anile, Ana Araujo, Salvatore D’Angelo, Rosaria Nicotra, Michele Nucciotti, Claudio Maltese, Aurora Vassallo, and Charles Vella

References

INDIA BLOCK, ‘Ten pink interiors that range from rose blush to bright coral’, dezeen.com, London, 6 Oct. 2020.

ANTONINO CARDILLO, ‘A synchronicity of cultures and civilisations’, paper presented to the Dessauer Gespräche, ed. Johannes Kister, Hochschule Anhalt, Dessau Institute of Architecture, Dessau, 13 Nov. 2019.

EVA GRÜNDEL, HEINZ TOMEK, ‘Kammermusik: Specus Corallii’, in Sizilien, DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern, 5 Sept. 2019, p. 261, media release.

EVDOXIA KARAGEORGI, KONSTANTINA VASILEIADOU, ‘Specus Corallii’, in Architecture and Eroticism. An Imaginary Wandering, thesis, Tutor Apostolos Kalfopoulos, School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, June 2019, pp. 80–117.

KERSTIN SCHULTZ, HEDWIG WIEDEMANN-TOKARZ, EVA MARIA HERRMANN, ‘Inherent color and material color’, in Thinking Color in Space, Birkhäuser, Berlin / Basel, Dec. 2018, pp. 314–315.

BRIANNA RULAND, Specus Corallii reflection [email], ed. Matt Edwards, San Luis Obispo, 29 March 2018.

ANTONINO CARDILLO, ‘Vaults, grottoes, arches and polychromy’, paper presented to the Heinze ArchitekTOUR Kongress, STATION-Berlin, Berlin, 23 Nov. 2017.

JEAN-MARIE MARTIN, ‘Evocazione, astrazione, illusione: Sala Laurentina, Cattedrale di Trapani, Sicilia’, Casabella, no. 879, Milan, Nov. 2017, pp. 30–33.

NORBERT SCHMIDT, ‘Kostely etc.’, Centre for Theology and Arts [website], Univerzita Karlova, Prague, Oct. 2017.

MRINALINI GHADIOK, ‘Elemental’, Mondo*Arc India, no. 15, New Delhi, July 2017, pp. 6, 10, 50–55.

FRANCESCA GOTTARDO, ‘Il rifugio della memoria’, Abitare la Terra, no. 41, Rome, May 2017, pp. 44–47.

ANTONINO CARDILLO, ‘Intervista con Antonino Cardillo’, The Trail Blazers [podcast], ed. Federico Chiarello and Antonio Mistretta, ZAK Radio, Trapani, 20 Apr. 2017.

JEANETTE KUNSMANN, STEPHAN BURKOFF, ‘Architektur und Wahrheit’, DEAR Magazin, no. 1, Berlin, Apr. 2017, pp. 1, 3, 14, 72–75.

ANDREAS KÜHNLEIN, ‘Architektur: Traumwelt’, AD Architectural Digest, no. 178, Munich, Apr. 2017, p. 163.

JEANETTE KUNSMANN, ‘Architektur als Rausch’, designlines.de, BauNetz, Berlin, 29 Nov. 2016.

MARIZA D’ANNA, ‘Un’anima per la Sala Laurentina’, La Sicilia, vol. 72, no. 298, Catania, 28 Oct. 2016, p. 13.

JESSICA MAIRS, ‘Coarse coral-pink plaster lends furry appearance to Antonino Cardillo’s Sicilian grotto’, dezeen.com, London, 26 Oct. 2016. {tags: adaptive reuse, antonino cardillo, fur, pink, sicily}

PEPPE OCCHIPINTI, Lo Specus Corallii di Antonino Cardillo [email], Trapani, 24 Oct. 2016.

ANTONINO CARDILLO, Specus Corallii, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Trapani, Oct. 2016, pp. 1–32. Printed in 250 copies.

ANTONINO CARDILLO, ‘Specus Corallii: un’opera di architettura per la Sala Laurentina di Trapani’, LetterAperta, no. 325, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Trapani, 25 Dec. 2015, pp. 10–11.