Casa Malaparte is a hauntingly beautiful collection of photographs taken by Karl Lagerfeld on a five day visit to the home of Italian journalist, poet and novelist Curzio Malaparte. Set on the eastern side of the Isle of Capri, the house is an incredible example of Italian Modern and Contemporary Architecture, conceived in 1937. It was built by Malaparte himself alongside a local stonemason Adolfo Amitrano. Lagerfeld writes on his collection of photographs of infamous Casa Malaparte:
"It’s the maddest dream a man could make and realise. Paradise is found here, on this little piece of interdicted, inaccessible private rock. There is a feeling of immortality difficult to explain. The house has no garden. The high mountains behind show only their granite faces and the sea surrounds the three other sides of the lower rock the place is built on, looking like a part of a forgotten aircraft carrier abandoned there. You cannot feel at home here. Malaparte is still too present—in every room—in every corner. The house lies there as if life had leaked away, intending to return, but nobody knows when. When we had to leave, it rained again. The sky gave the impression that the night wept. We had to walk back for more than 50 minutes to the nearest lived-in house. On our way we counted 396 steps. We left behind this magical place sleeping in unseen arms of power and memory."
Casa Malaparte is also home to the set of the vivid film Contempt by director Jean-Luc Godard starring Bridget Bardot in 1964. The film famously watches Bardot on the rooftop walking around, swinging her arms and lying naked atop its sun-drenched surface. Casa Malaparte is as much a house as it is a sundeck and like the themes within the film it depicts a place that is steeped in cracks, dramatic beauty and a sense of a relentless and inaudible longing. A certain melancholic paradise.
Karl Lagerfeld's photographs, which have an almost painterly quality, were taken as a series of Polaroids in 1997 and were published as a book the following year. This sought after classic is finally available again in a new edition and can be found, here.