Sono sorte nell'acqua nel mattino di gioia
Come vergini calme con un faro
Bianco nel cuore
Una linda nuvola sopra.
from Nel centro della mano, Edizioni Della Meridiana, Milan, 1951
So said poet Bartolo Cattafi in the spring of 1943. Watching what he called "le azzurre parole" (the blue words), the Aeolian Islands, most likely from the field outside his own home on the Tyrrhenian coast.
The same privileged position as the Costanza home designed by Vincenzo Melluso and built between 1997 and 2002. Seen from here, the lovely panorama of the Aeolian archipelago has not changed; it still moves us, inspiring dreams and poetry - and sometimes even architecture. White as the lighthouses on the islands, the house opens up to the landscape, dressed in colours, formal solutions and materials that establish a dialogue with the earth, then with the sea, extending as far as the horizon.
Architecture generates and often becomes a progression of sentiments. What's more, the project is inspired by the non-stop tension between minimalist severity and concessions to luxury, between the clean lines of the garden and the laboured profile of the olive groves.
The house includes two volumes - one for the main house, arranged around a courtyard overlooking the sea, with a guesthouse to the east. The box of the main house - candid, square, clean - is surrounded and flanked by borders, stairways and outdoor pavements of local stone, irregular and in warm hues, also used on the swimming pool patio and on the base of the house.
Stone also mediates the chromatic and material relationship between the architecture and the park around it, bringing the building closer to the colours of nature and the earth. And including it in the atmosphere of the shapes and scents typical of the Sicilian countryside, populated with agave, prickly pear and palm trees. Here and there dry stone walls recall the landscapes and constructions of this place on the edge of Sicily, and of other islands halfway between Sicily and Africa.