Expressive architect Antonino Cardillo has shared many complex metaphorical concepts with WAN over the past few years, incorporating richly symbolic swathes of architectural dialogue into his sculpturally formed properties. These are the exclusive first images of Cardillo’s newest concept design, Purple House in the raw scenic landscape of Pembrokeshire in Wales. Here, the architect explains the intricate inspiration behind this new residence...
“By the middle ages, between 1130 and 1194, England and to some extent Wales and Ireland, shared with Sicily a common Norman domain: Byzantine mercenaries and recognisers of Arabian culture after capturing Sicily, these conquerors from the North Sea introduced a fascinating network between the shorelines of the north and Mediterranean. Making British history for the first time since the Roman era, they broke once more the islands’ isolation. Introducing the number zero and many innovations from Middle-Eastern regions into Europe – not least bringing back ancient Greek and Roman classical text manuscripts – they laid the foundation for the birth of a Modern European era.
“Purple House represents an unconscious and personal language trip into the Norman legacy: exploring diverse elements, following paths empirically, re-evoking remote visions, aiming to find a common lost sense: what were the forgotten exchanges between England, Wales, Ireland and Sicily?
“Encircled by massive carved walls and coordinated by an interior symmetrical façade with crystal domes at the corners, the architectural forms investigate what unites us in this history. Compactly, complex, oppressive, expressionistic, the hollow interior of this cave sculpture inhales light: a light which swells the curves and the bulkheads, it coagulates at the corners and slips away, amid the interstices. It brightens up an ample adamantine vault, creating shades and dilating it.
“From dawn to dusk, its backlight changes the sense of space and the perception of the forms: at midday it dims the bulkheads curving in the living room. The light perforates the trapezoidal apertures carved in the heavy walls; close to the ceiling, the light transmutes itself into rapid blades cut by a magnified brise-soleil. At sunset, however, the hall darkens. The parts, now obscured, counterpoint distant glares spread around and inside the hollowed-out base: below a burning cave, above a giant brazier glows into the vault. During the course of a solar day light and dark swap roles, interpreting the drama of an architecture monolithic and fragmentary, made of stone, cement and purple.”