Independent community dedicated to fine art and social visualization
Time: November 19, 2010 at 7pm to December 11, 2010 at 7pm
Location: Royal Palace
Street: Piazza Plebiscito
Website or Map: http://maps.google.it/maps?f=…
Event Type: photo, exhibition
Organized By: massimo vicinanza
Latest Activity: Nov 25, 2010
The Kastellos are located in the suburbs of the major Romanian cities: Bucharest, Timişoara, Braila, Iveşti, Lugoj, Buzescu, Costeşti, and even in small villages scattered along the Danube plain or on the mountains of the Transylvania region.
It is a seldom-seen architecture, completely unique and unrelated to any classified style and far from any constructive code. It is a fusion of different and often opposing styles, including oriental pagodas and towers, Tuscan balconies, Byzantine columns, Gothic inserts, elements of the Vienna Secession and, of course, it is also influenced by vernacular architecture.
These Hollywood-style villas, bordering on kitsch, contain the cultural baggage of the transient Gypsy society and reflect the culture and lifestyle of a once-nomadic people who have now become sedentary. Owners of these amazing buildings are the Căldărari, Rudari, Lingurari, Dinandieri, the so-called “Roma free castes,” nomads for centuries who have now adopted a sedentary lifestyle.
They always trade in iron, copper or gold, and increasingly use the Internet to do business across Europe.
The family still remains the focal point of their lives, but lately, because of their new sedentary lifestyle, they necessitate a permanent residence instead of their once-common caravans.
Kastellos are therefore the "spontaneous signs" of a transformed Gypsy society. Grouped in atypical villages framed into an urban landscape, the villas represent the symbolic ostentation of achieved wealth and, at the same time, they clearly underline all individual and social roles and the typical hierarchies of an ethnic group traditionally itinerant but now gradually becoming more settled.
The buildings, handcrafted with neither plans nor architects, are opulent and abound in decorative and evocative elements. They are reminiscent of the architectural styles seen in remote countries around the world and re-proposed in their homes by the owners, who travel extensively for their profession. The Kastellos are always designed symmetrically with a regular base and generally two floors, a large central hall with a staircase at the end, several rooms on the sides, kitchen and bathrooms on the ground floor with the toilet outside, far from the living quarters, according to Roma tradition. The basic design never changes, thus underlining the stability of the settlement. However, the atavistic nomadism becomes strongly evident in the external architecture and in the decoration of the facades, for the main traits, the different symbolisms, the aesthetic balance are constantly modified, often obtaining extraordinary results.
Massimo Vicinanza is a freelance photographer and journalist.
He is editor of Italian FullPress and Fulltravel.it e-zines and correspondent for several international publications covering a wide variety of topics, from interview to lifestyle, from marine industry to travel and architecture photo-reportages.