The permeability between past and present is a kind of container, a source of countless ideas and images, styles and decorative elements that can be used to achieve results of surprising formal elegance. This in turn provides an important stimulus for high-quality craftsmanship, allowing architects and artisans to rediscover construction methods and techniques that would otherwise be lost for ever.
Camporotondo, like its neighbours Belpasso and San Pietro Clarenza, is a village in the Sicilian interior whose history has been strongly influenced by Mount Etna. It is a terrible but fascinating chronicle of a land in thrall to nature, of a region forged in the fire of volcanic eruptions and moulded by the devastating earthquakes that struck in the seventeenth century and radically altered the original tectonic structure.
The new Casale Marchese – a restaurant seating about 250 people specialising in banquets, weddings, receptions, conferences, congresses and work meetings – was created by converting an old building devoid of special architectural features. The underlying theme of the conversion project was the poetry of the « presentness of the past », the blend of two languages – modernism and historicism – that are chronologically opposites but are often involved in a mutual exchange. The client wanted a project that would be capable of expressing a sense of timeless beauty through a recognisable, reassuring style, a language firmly established in the collective memory as an example of lifestyle and culture. The relationship between the interior and exterior of the building generates emotions through a constantly changing experience of time and space. It is a kind of cinematographic sequence created by the architect but in which the personal cultural sensibility of the user is essential. Casale Marchese has two identifying characteristics: the strongly textural exterior, harsh like the landscape around Mount Etna, the great volcano with its perpetually burning core; and the smooth, shiny interior like a sculpture by Canova.
The banquet hall is tiled with Palace Living Gold series tiles from Versace Home, chosen in a 41×41 cm size with a lapped surface to create splendid reflection effects.
The bathrooms are equally stylish. Ultra-thin tiles from the Luxoring Crystal Ker series in a 33.3×33.3 cm size and black and gold colours create a sophisticated optical design enhanced by the use of mosaic and a square motif strip that highlights the mirror and the washbasin zone.