Being an armchair traveller has become increasingly necessary in the ever-changing world. We've all needed to expand our ability to amuse ourselves as you never know when they could pull up the draw bridge, and you are again stuck in your four walls. That's what makes me ever so pleased that a publication like Cabana exists. Even the feel of one of their issues helps your body understand this will not be a quick read. The weight of the paper and the deepness of the colour settles you for a moment of literary exploration. The composition of the pictures makes you feel as if you are a welcome guest, your host momentarily exiting, leaving you to imbibe their construction, from the textiles to the furniture. Cabana is a testament to the still image.
Its founder, Martina Mondadori, this week's Tete a Tat, founded the biannual design publication in 2014 (with friends Christoph Radl and Gianluca Reina). She wanted to create a place where the interiors of the past were relished, not ignored, and traditions were cherished, not neglected. The publication has become not only a beautiful thing to possess but a meaningful record of the interiors and buildings around us that hold history, beauty and importance. For prosperity's sake, these journals are vital. As Martinia puts it in an interview with Alain Elkann in 2015: 'We feature special houses that have a very strong and independent character, most of them created without an interior decorator. It is not simply an interiors magazine. We look at houses with strange collections of fabrics.'
Each issue of Cabana has a different character, a new persona to be introduced to. But the underlining principle is always there, 'Whether it be a palazzo, a flat, a folly or a hut, the Cabana mood is an appreciation of the sensory and experiential characteristics of interiors.'
The world that Cabana brought us into is so exuberant that one finds it hard not to want to be a part of it. Thankfully, there is now a way. In the last few years they started Casa Cabana, a joyful bounty of homeware where 'each product is designed in-house and carefully hand-crafted by artisans around the world.' They have created a line that would leave every sort of aesthete wanting a little something. In my case, I want a bit of everything. They have joined forces with some of the biggest names in the interiors industry, producing collections with Liberty, Richard Ginori and my particular favourite with Houghton Hall, where they created a tabletop collection inspired but the artefacts of Houghton. A complete delight.
As I am sure you can tell, I am thrilled to have Martina featured on Tat. So without further a do I give you her Tete a Tat.
Da Giacomo in Milan so many childhood memories and real comfort food.
Any good advice? Who gave it to you?
Stop pursuing perfection. It’s the flaws and weaknesses that make a person interesting.
Your Happy Place?
My home, wherever that is.
What is the best gift you have been given?
If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
I love my Cabana tribe. Ashley Hicks, Miguel Flores Vianna, Nathalie Farman Farma, Patrick Kinmonth. I would add HM The King as I’d want to hear everything about his place in Romania. If ever I could add a 5th seat, that would be for my father, who is no longer with us but would make such a perfect addition to that group.
Do you like surprises?
I LOVE them
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
So many different things… From a Doctor to a Ballerina.
What would your autobiography be called?
The Quest for Beauty
Do you believe in ghosts?
No I don’t
A song that always makes you tap your foot?
I can see clearly now, Jimmy Cliff