Off Club reunites the cinema of Kubrick and De Palma, Grand Theft Auto IV, Miami Art Deco District, the Escher’s perspectives, Byzantine iconostases, and Japanese folding screens.
Conceived, built and represented by Antonino Cardillo, it continues the investigation of Primordial Images — see Jung 1921: Psychological Types — presenting an ambience that reunites the sensorial plane of tactility with the intuitive, which projects onto reality the psyche of the observer.
The space between the elements recalls the pattern of a mandala and the last works of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — the theme of the double and the one divided.
The two rooms devoted to hospitality form a raumplan six metres in height. Extending right round, a quadrangular enclosure sixteen metres wide unifies the duplex space framing the base of the Vault of the Golden Shadows.
The latter, covering the space within the enclosure, is excavated at the centre by a black apsidal shape. Beneath this centre, a false scale palazzo encloses the contents and functions of the two bars.
Constructed of two twin altars 7.22 metres long in black granite, both the bars — mixology on the upper floor and sushi on the lower — counterpoint the opposing sides of the palazzo towards the two rooms.
With its double grey façade the palazzo carries out the apotropaic function of giving faces to the space. An iconostasis made from two twin black monoliths with elongated copper arches masks the face of the palazzo towards the road.
Through the fissure created by the separation of the monoliths a view of figures is revealed. Arches, rhombuses, triangles and discs seem to evoke archaic rituals.
Here, ancient and modern syntaxes find conciliation. Thus, this outline of physical and psychic scapes represents the idea of the architecture as transfiguration of the human.
The logo of the Off Club, Rome, 2018.
Graphic design: Antonino Cardillo
Time: Feb. 2017‑June 2018
Place: Off Club, Via di Casal Bertone, 64, Rome, Italy
Area: 450 m² (three storeys)
Opening date: 10 Dec. 2018
Clients: Massimo Di Persio, Matteo Di Persio, Francesco Curcio, and Remo Curcio
Architecture design, project and construction management: Antonino Cardillo
Furniture design: Antonino Cardillo
Photography: Antonino Cardillo
Text: Antonino Cardillo
English translation: Charles Searson
Logo graphic design: Antonino Cardillo
Building contractor: Roberto Federici
Masonry: Vincenzo Amato, Adrian Ciacan, Marius Ioan Frunzà, and Emanuele Venturini
Logistics: Cristiano Massariello and Emanuele Zappone
Painting: Andras Marton Mihaly
Electrical system: Fabio Gabriele
Plumbing system: Stefan Minciuna
Granites: Ghirardi Stone Contractor
Windows: Claudio Carboni
Parquet: Gabriel Grama
Air system: Alessio Lanzani
Paintings: Sikkens (via Vito Caruso)
Door handles: GIL (via Handles)
Mirrors: Nazzareno Garofani
Luminators finding: Giuseppe Picconi
Balcony lamps: Armand Darot
Stair lamp: 1970s Murano glass from Palermo
Sofas: Piero Lissoni, Living (via Mario Dejana)
Chairs: Busnelli (via Luca Anzellotti)
Curtains: Pasquale Lo Guercio
Thanks to Klaus Mondrian and Alexandra Savtchenko‑Belskaia
Johannes Kister, ‘Vortragsreihe: Dessauer Gespräche’, in Next to Bauhaus, vol. 2, ed. Matthias Hoehne, Hochschule Anhalt, Dessau Institute of Architecture, March 2020, pp. 216‑217.
Lucia Galli, ‘Off Club’, Abitare la Terra, no. 49, Rome, June 2019, pp. 36‑39, cover.
Antonino Cardillo, ‘The making of Rome’s Off Club’, paper presented to the Inside/Out Lecture Series, ed. Yara Boulos and Riccardo Rizzetto, Royal College of Art, London, 22 Jan. 2019.
Antonino Cardillo, ‘Paradiso’, Divisare Journal [online journal], no. 221, ed. Paolo Antonacci, Rome, 19 Oct. 2018.
Monica Khemsurov, ‘Saturday selects: week of September 17, 2018’, sightunseen.com, New York, 22 Sept. 2018.
Tim Berge, ‘Die Symmetrie der Nacht: Restaurant in Rom’, DEAR Magazin, no. 4/18, Berlin, Dec. 2018, pp. 28‑35.