Architecture is made by dilemma. Heavy, but longing for lightness. Immediately clear, but still looking for refinement. Great, yes, but even then, rather small. New, and yet deeply historical. Reality, but always dreaming. Enjoying wine, and longing for cool water too. Silent, but celebrating life.
Matera does not want to be different. And should not be different. Strong yet fragile. So real and yet unique. Looking forward, but rooted in the past. History and hope. Beauty and – beauty.
If the glass holds the wine. If the bottle opens the wine. If the barrel ripens the wine. If the grapevine grows the wine. And if the grape embraces the wine – then what house is worth the wine? The wine has always been at home. From the grape embracing the yet to become wine, to the glass holding the wine dearly. The house will have to be a home as well. A home to embrace the wine – as the grape once did.
Stone will always be Matera – Sassi the stone. The stone for wine will be a stone of Matera. But a stone that will embrace – as the grape once did. Ancient forms, but new forms. Historical, but today. Arco, cupola, anfora – round forms. Embracing the wine.
Simple, and yet always so rich. Rich wine needs the simple to be refined. And the house will be no different. A house to celebrate. A home. A glass of wine. Slowly, and so even better. And then that sleep – into the night.
This is how we will travel to Matera. Someone will drive. Everyone will sleep. We will leave the day before and will arrive by the break of dawn – the sun glaring toward us. Like the grapevine becomes the stones, Matera becomes the landscape.
We will come home, stepping inside the house. The sun will rise, but we feel the cool embracing us. This is where the wine lives. Stored below, celebrated above – and drunk in- between. Stairs guide us from above to below and back.
Someone enters and goes downstairs. Another comes up. The wine is there. Someone leaves – but never without wine. Another approaches – looking for wine.
It is of course a home. Where wine is found. Received and drunk. And lived – because lived in this world.
Together, all of us. And with us. With the wine. Living in this world. Us.
If the vault gives depth, the staircase gives the world. The staircase to the world of Sassi. To the world of Tosi. If the vault is continuous, the staircase should be continuous too. Endless vaults, and endless stairs. As much stairs as vaults. Vault and staircase. Arcade and auditorium.
The vault as landscape. Nature. The staircase to life. Culture.
Downstairs and upstairs. Inwards and out. From one to the other – all in one movement. One never ending movement. A movement in different scales. Highs and lows. But never ending.
Between the rooms, the staircase makes the difference. Inside the rooms, the staircase climbs up the walls. To the base of the vault. Up the wall. And back down.
The staircase will not just be a staircase. Not just for walking in and out of this world. But to linger, to rest, to pause. As display and storage. And to celebrate.
The staircase is not just for man – or woman. But also for wine. A staircase for wine. Or rather, a staircase for wine and a staircase for man. Or even, a staircase for man and for wine. A staircase between man and wine.
Stone becomes vault. Stone becomes staircase. Massive is the vault. Robust is the staircase. Barely different from the vault, but just so. And together as stone.
We will come home. The gate of the garden will open, and we will sit down. On the stairs of the courtyard. To linger, to rest, to pause. After a long walk, longing for downstairs. We would already sit on the staircase downwards. Downstairs. Barely halfway down, we will turn around briefly. To look at two vaulted rooms showing stairs climbing up walls. And showing wine. And further back up, the well of water. Which seems to give light from below.
Silently our eyes will cross, our lips will taste – and our tongues will carefully consider. Now, the wine. We will walk back up slightly, to be just halfway down again. To meet the bar. It will have been some time, but it will be familiar still. We will drink a glass later on – and order some more. Further on down, the treasury room. Stairs climb up the walls, filled with wine. The wine will carry the vault. The vault will protect the wine. The wine will mirror the vault – as a vault turned upside down. Wine and vault as one. Matera as wine. The world will be wine.
Wood is warmth. The stairs in wood. Again and again - life. The other stairs, in stone - the world. But here, as life, the wooden stairs. The wooden stairs become a cabinet. Of life. A cabinet as stairs – becoming an ornament. As does the wine.
A bar. An island. To linger. Together, with no one missing. And with the stairs of stone, going round and round. To sit on – on a wooden board which becomes a bench. Between the wine and on the stairs. Everyone lingers around the bar. More people are coming – coming home.
A shelf. A tower. To walk around. Together looking, and together choosing. With the stairs of stone and boards of wood to sit on. For a first taste. A first pleasure. And shelves of wood on the stairs of stone too. Everything becomes wine.
A salon. And another salon. And a table. And a few more. And some stools. To sit on. All in wood. A salon with a table to eat and drink at. A salon with table to lie down at. But, again, all of this as stairs. Stairs of wood. And once again shelves of wood for wine.
Wood. Life. A cabinet as ornament. Cabinets to serve. Ornaments as pleasure.
At the bar we will meet again. A last time was not so long ago. A last time we drank a glass, as no other. And then others came – and joined. Maybe this time as well. – but until then, we will lean back, resting on the bar. Wood and wine. A glass and drinking. Those eyes – and a smile.
We will walk into the next room, and the one after. Even further. Even deeper. Into the room of treasure. To find wine – a tower of wine. Shelves as a tower, going round and round. All that wine. We will enter the tower, and find the wine. Which was yet to be drunk. And then, on the stairs around the tower, we will open the wine. To drink. To taste. Silently.
We will go back to the bar. With the wine we needed to find. The others will have come – and will join us. We will walk to the salon, to gather. Together. And we will taste being together – with the others, and with the wine.
In the salon next to us, someone sits alone. But being alone, alone with this wine, is never alone. Because this wine celebrates life. Life and wine. Matera.