Amidst the rugged beauty of the Arcari caves lies a remarkable project that blurs the lines between art, history, and contemporary, designed by the collaborative efforts of David Chipperfield Architects and Laboratorio Morseletto.
The caves, once suppliers of Pietra di Vicenza stone, exude a raw, romantic allure with their carved stone and filtered water. Minimal intervention was required to bring the space to life, as the caves' inherent architectural beauty became the canvas for the vision of the architects. Their choice of using only white Vicenza stone further ties the project to its historical roots.
Reimagining ancient Roman theatres, the architects created a series of platforms, steps, and ramps known as Cavea. These elements not only serve as seating and staging areas but also engage in a dialogue with the caves' accidental architecture, forming a harmonious blend of occupation and performance.
Viabizzuno's ambient and stage lighting adds to the caves' mystical ambiance. Serene waters, filling the cavernous chambers, reflect the ethereal glow from below, transforming the rugged stone surfaces into a visual spectacle of shadows and luminance.
The project is a careful balance of preservation and emphasis, celebrating the caves' unique characteristics while introducing a multifunctional space that seamlessly integrates with the existing environment. This performance area becomes a tapestry woven with threads of history and modern design, celebrating both the romantic and the tectonic, the raw and the refined.