Gae Aulenti’s Cave Home Is Just as Chic Today as It Was in 1972

·1-min read
Photo credit: Carla de Benedetti
Photo credit: Carla de Benedetti

Welcome to “My Kind of Room,” a new column in which the design world’s most influential players share the one space that they return to for inspiration again and again. Next up, designer Adam Charlap Hyman of the architecture and design firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero reflects on a 1972 Gae Aulenti masterpiece.

“When I first came across La Grotta Rosa, the cave house designed by Gae Aulenti on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, I was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. It was a simple home built into an actual cave. At the time I was interested in the idea of the grotto as an element in the Rococo imagination. Coming across this room was a revelation: It hadn’t occurred to me that there could be a modernist take on an 18th-century obsession.

Photo credit: Carla De Benedetti
Photo credit: Carla De Benedetti

This was also my introduction to Aulenti, who became a constant inspiration from that point forward. This house is a distinct expression of her brilliance. Here, the cave is the ultimate decoration: The textures of the wall and the stalactites are all embellishment. This room showed me that there are ways to push modernism into something that is really baroque. Everything I have done since has a little bit to do with this room.”

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

This story originally appeared in the September 2022 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE

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