Specus Corallii

Sala Laurentina, Cathedral of Trapani, Sicily
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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

Thus the Coral Cave, 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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

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, Cathedral of Trapani, 2016.

Dedicated to Cristoforo Anile

Time: Jan 2015 - Aug 2016
Place: Via Domenico Giglio, 12, Trapani, Italy
Gross area: 260 m²

Client: Gaspare Gruppuso, Cathedral of Trapani
Architect and construction manager: Antonino Cardillo
Photography: Antonino Cardillo
Text: Antonino Cardillo
English translators: Antonino Cardillo, Charles Searson

Construction foreman: Mario Daidone
Masons: Nino Canino, Rocco Maranzano
Stonecutter: Francesco Scontrino
Tile installers: Vito Carollo, Daniele Scarlata
Floor sanders: Antonino Morreale, Davide Morreale
Carpenters: Paolo Canino, Michael Coppola
Wood painter: Giuseppe Daidone
Electricians: Antonio Bica, Giuseppe Oddo, Antonio Senia
Plumbers: Morici Bartolo, Saverio Gulizia
Terrazzo tiles: Pietro Basile
Door handles: GIL (Handles Rome)

Thanks to Salvatore D’Angelo, Ana Araujo, Rosaria Nicotra, Claudio Maltese, Charles Vella

Thinking Color in Space. Positions, Projects, Potentials, Berlin, Basel, Birkhäuser, Dec 2018.

Edited by Matt Edwards, Specus Corallii reflection, San Luis Obispo, 29 Mar 2018.

日本語版ブックレット, no.879, Tokyo, Jan 2018.
Casabella, no.879, Milan, Nov 2017.

Centre for Theology and Arts, [website], Prague, Charles University, KTF, Oct 2017.

Mondo*Arc India, no.15, New Delhi, Jul 2017.

Abitare la Terra, no.41, Rome, May 2017.

Interviewed by F. Chiarello and A. Mistretta, The Trail Blazers, Locogrande, ZAK Radio, 20 Apr 2017.

STEPHAN BURKOFF, Berlin, 20 Nov 2017., Trapani, Aug 2017, English translation by Richenda Gillespie., Trapani, Aug 2017, Italian translation by Beatrice Del Bo.
DEAR Magazin, no.1, Berlin, Apr 2017.

JEANETTE KUNSMANN, Berlin, Baunetz, 29 Nov 2016.

La Sicilia, yr.72, no.298, Catania, 28 Oct 2016.

JESSICA MAIRS, London, 26 Oct 2016.

Lettere, Balestrate, 2016.

Lettera Aperta, no.325, Cattedrale di Trapani, 25 Dec 2015.