La Cupola, unpublished photographic commissions
Dante Bini pour Monica Vitti et Michelangelo Antonioni
Costa Paradiso, Sardaigne, Italie, 1969
For this exhibition, the Villa Noailles invites two photographers each to produce a new series at La Cupola.
François Halard et Romain Courtemanche se sont rendus en Sardinia in January 2020, one for the first time and the second to complete a series published by the magazine M Le Monde in 2015.
Dante Bini met Monica Vitti through a mutual friend from the Italian University Ski Club. The architect then developed his "binishell" system: concrete shells of 12 metres in diameter, built in just 60 minutes. His system consists of pouring concrete on a circular membrane reinforced with a steel structure, inflating the membrane with a fan until the desired height is reached, maintaining a constant pressure and, once the concrete has set, turning off the fan.
The actress, then Michelangelo Antonioni’s companion, introduces the architect to the director. Haunted by the beaches of Sardinia discovered during the filming of The Red Desert, Antonioni commissions Bini to build a house on the Costa Paradiso. The condition imposed: never to publish the images or the address of the villa. The architect accepts.
The two men spend a week on the premises to soak up what, for Antonioni, must be the essence of the house: "I want to smell the smell of the rocks". The house should be a "sculptural environment", an empty shell according to the idea of those who live there.
The villa was built in one day in 1964, according to the semi-spherical concrete construction system. Local granite is added to the cement to match the colour of the surrounding rocks. The top of the dome is cut into a free form, creating a central garden planted with flowers and local vegetation, bathed in sun and rain.
The summer house becomes a house for all seasons, except for Monica Vitti, who is afraid of both planes and boats, which will take her away from the "sumptuous concrete leopardian moon" created by Dante Bini (Lucio Fontana).