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House of Dust, Rome by Antonino Cardillo Architect

Using Classical proportions and architectural elements, on a conceptual level this house is a celebration of dust, writes Antonino Cardillo

The architect’s view

Using Classical proportions and architectural elements, on a conceptual level this house is a celebration of dust. The proportions of the living room are governed by the golden ratio. A light grey base supports a ceiling of rustic plaster, the colour of bare earth. My inspirations were primordial caverns, Renaissance grottos, the nymphaea of Rome’s Villa Doria Pamphilj and the faintly Liberty facades in the streets off the Via Veneto.

The spaces of the House of Dust form a balanced sequence of compressions and dilations. On the walls, passages and windows appear, now dug out of the base, now like the textured surfaces of baguettes. A series of arches, abstracted memories of Trecento Italian painting, disguise doors and cupboards. Among these, one studded with a pink glass doorknob introduces intimate rooms, which are distinguished by the palest pink on the walls which evokes dawns and flowers, the colour of beauty, the colour of beauty that dies.

Someone has observed that my spaces impose silence and others that my houses look like bunkers, inside which light separates and dilates architectural components. In a way, light permeates a building just as air does our bodies and I could say that architecture inhales light. Architecture is the interpretation of light, which it mediates. If music is sound, architecture is light and a building is not the outcome but the instrument that creates it. And if light is the raw material
of architecture, reverberation, as in music, measures its distances. Light, when it encounters a solid material changing
its nature and form, reverberates on other surfaces in a game of divisions until it decays into darkness. But not all buildings ‘listen’ to the light: only opaque material is pushed into that iridescent web that we call architecture.

  • Antonino Cardillo, architect

Project data

Start on site October 2012
Completion March 2013
Gross internal floor area 100m²
Construction cost €150,000 (£126,627), including furniture
Construction cost per m2 € 1,500/m² (£1,266), including furniture
Architect and project manager Antonino Cardillo
Client Massimiliano Beffa

Specified products


Simes, Linea Continua


Schüco, AWS 75 BS HI

Cement flooring/paving



Parquet flooring/paving

Mardegan, Grey Castle








Rimadesio, Zenit


Cassina, Mexcube


Simone Gavina, Gaja

Marble and lacquered tables

Antonino Cardillo, Triumviro


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