House of Dust by
Antonino Cardillo


Italian architect Antonino Cardillo used roughly textured plaster to create lumpy brown surfaces across the upper walls and ceilings of this apartment in Rome (+ slideshow).

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

Using the geometric ratio of the golden section, Antonino Cardillo designed House of Dust with a horizontal division that separates living spaces and furniture from the coarse plaster walls and ceilings above.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

The architect wrote: "[I was] craving for primordial caverns, for Renaissance grotesques, for nymphaeums in Doria Pamphilj, for faintly Liberty façades in the streets off Via Veneto."

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

Windows are sunken within deep recesses and together with a series of rectangular doorways they emphasise the line dividing top and bottom.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

The architect also added a series of arched doorways, intended to reference fourteenth century Italian paintings, which conceal both rooms and cupboards.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

One of these doorways features a pink glass doorknob that signifies the entrance to the master bedroom and bathroom, tucked away in the corner of the residence.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

The rough plaster surfaces are missing from these spaces, where instead walls and ceilings are coloured in a pale shade of pink. There are also concrete washbasins and a cylindrical shower concealed behind a ghostly white curtain.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

The kitchen surrounds the perimeter of the bedroom and can be screened behind a pivoting wall.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

The living room is just beyond and features a wooden floor resembling a large rug. Furniture here includes small green tables designed by the architect, large grey sofas and a marble dining table.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

Other residential interiors we've featured from Italy include a renovated house with honeycomb-patterned floors and an apartment with a rooftop swimming pool. See more architecture and interiors from Italy »

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

Photography is by the architect. The short film (below) was directed by Pasquale Marino and features a pair of boxers sparring in the apartment, while the ceiling above them appears to be crumbling away:

Here's a project description from Antonino Cardillo:

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo architect

In this house classical orders and proportions celebrate dust. The golden section divides the sides of the living room: a light grey base supports a ceiling of rustic plaster of the colour of the bare earth. Craving for primordial caverns, for Renaissance grotesques, for nymphaeums in Doria Pamphilj, for faintly Liberty façades in the streets off Via Veneto. A balanced sequence of compressions and dilatations makes up the space of the house.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

On the walls, passages and windows appear, now dug out of the base, now like carvings in a baguette. A series of arches, abstract memories of fourteenth century Italian painting, disguise doors and cupboards. Among these, one studded with a pink glass doorknob introduces the intimate rooms, which too are distinguished by the palest pink on the walls: yearning for dawns and flowers, the colour of beauty, the colour of beauty that dies.

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

Design and project management: Antonino Cardillo
Client: Massimiliano Beffa

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

Date: September 2012 - March 2013
Address: Rione Ludovisi, Rome, Italy
Surface: 100 square metres - 1,076 square feet
Featuring 'Triumviro' tables designed by Antonino Cardillo

House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo

  • Ellen

    The visual line of the rough surface doesn’t hit in the right place for me. I know they’re going for golden section, but it makes the room look very low and sort of claustrophobic. It feels like the room is upside down, but of course you wouldn’t want to be brushing up against the rough surface so that’s why it’s on the top. It’s just not quite right for me. Sometimes you can’t just follow a formula and have it work in the real world without intervention,

    • 1234

      I definitely agree with the upside-down bit. Being used to Renaissance facades may be the reason why. As both the golden section and rustication at the base of a building were commonly used in building design during the time, I think that I associate one with the other.

      I agree with the architect in that the spaces look cavernous, but caverns in the sky seems like a strange concept. The rough material makes it feel like the rooms are under something really heavy. I think this might work if the building was underground.

  • Mace

    It looks awful!

    • Julian

      I do not agree. I think it’s a courageous interior – very unique and new to my eyes. It isn’t an space I’d like to live in, but nevertheless at least the architect had the courage to design a place with individuality and character. It actually makes me associate Giorgio de Chiricos dream like art. Bravo!

  • Valerie

    Is it supposed to be built or is it just an exercise? Because they all look like renderings to me (good ones, indeed).

  • In my opinion I think it is original and a livable Sottsass inspired postmodern design, especially with the use of the earthy tones. I love it.

  • Davvid

    I think it looks amazing. Interesting photography as well.

  • Leiurus

    Strongly reminds me of a David Lynch movie set. Still wondering if I would love to live in it or feel oppressed by the interesting yet overwhelming ceiling.

  • I would love to see these interiors styled with a little more evidence of habitation. Not stuffed with furniture, but just a little. It could be really amazing.

  • Vlynna

    Hideous and in poor taste. Very reminiscent of the “popcorn” ceilings used in 1970s homes in the USA. This is best as a stage scene (not art installation though).

    Cardillo ti invito agli statiuniti per farti vedere le case dell’epoca 1970…neanche a te ti piacerebbe.

  • luca

    I think it’s a great looking project and inspires me for my next.

  • Frank

    Before reaching a conclusion, one should visit the space. An invitation? :) Ellen may be onto something though. What if the popcorn plastering had been applied just above the floors as a sort of skirting board? Also, what are the ceiling heights? By the way, the photography is outstanding, as is always the case in Dezeen. Thanks Dezeen.

  • Jack

    One of the few apartments I’ve seen on here that could be described as sublime. Love it.