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The Cult of Cabana

Obsessively Cool Design Magazine's Founder Brings Her New Tabletop Collection to Texas Design Week

BY // 02.28.19

Martina Mondadori Sartogo, founder of the obsessively cool design magazine Cabana, is in Houston this month for Texas Design Week. Here, she talks all things tabletop, souks and Cairo.

Martina Mondadori Sartogo had her finger on the pulse of a new design direction when she launched Cabana magazine in London in 2014. Since then, it’s become one of the most coveted and sumptuous magazines in the world of design. Layered with pattern and decorative elements, filled with rooms bursting with possessions and collections, it’s composed of tactile papers and jacketed with fabric.

Last fall, she published her first book, Cabana Anthology (Vendome, $95), a lush collection of interiors from the magazine’s last 10 issues. Like any globetrotting tastemaker, Mondadori Sartogo is also a lifestyle brand. The Cabana website sells her collection of furnishings, dinnerware, glassware, tabletop, linens, silk scarves, and jeweled gold cuffs.

Recently, she teamed with Lauren Santo Domingo to carry Cabana-designed products on the Moda Operandi website.

Mondadori Sartogo spent the past year collaborating with designers Aerin Lauder and Richard Ginori on new tabletop collections, which will launch on the Cabana and Moda Operandi websites in Spring 2019. She’s working on an upcoming tabletop collaboration with an important American fashion brand — it’s hush-hush for now, but we’ll keep you posted.

Mondadori Sartogo will be in Houston for Texas Design Week, Tuesday, March 26, for cocktails, a talk, book signing and preview of her new tabletop collection at the stunning design store Moxie (for Texas Design Week ticket holders).

PaperCity caught up via email with Mondadori Sartogo at Cabana’s London offices, where she was working on the Spring 2019 issue.

Coming up in Cabana.

I’m very excited to have Loewe (the Spanish luxury fashion house) as cover partner for the Spring issue of the magazine. I love creative director Jonathan Anderson’s work for the brand, and you’ll be surprised by the patterns and colors. Very fresh and contemporary.

Trip diary.

I’ve recently been to Cairo for the first time. I am blown away by the richness of the history of that city, literally at the heart of Western civilization. I was particularly fascinated by the Ibn Tulun mosque for its majestic proportions and for its desert-tone stone…

Get ready for an Egyptian issue of Cabana magazine coming out in October 2019 and an inspired tabletop collection.

Shopping haunts.

Any souk is my oyster! So be it in Tangier, Marrakech, Cairo, or Istanbul.

Recent purchase.

A mid-20th-century kente cloth from Nigeria. These are typical of that region, and they are very colorful and striped. The one I bought from an antiques dealer in Italy is yellow, red and black, and I have just displayed it in my London dining room to cover the side console. My whole dining room is inspired by African textiles, so it was a very reasonable addition.

Bedside reading.

Samarkand by Amin Maalouf. It’s my next dream trip to visit Uzbekistan, but traveling while having three kids and a company to run isn’t always the easiest of tasks.


Ceramics — very often ones I find at flea markets — and antique textiles, which often sit for years in a drawer, then all of a sudden I remember them and use them.

Favorite new hues.

Any color combination used by Yves Saint Laurent. Right now I’m obsessed by purple and yellow.


The Cabana Persia pattern, of course.-

Kitchen confidential.

I love to cook vegetable quiches (my favorite being courgettes and mozzarella) and soups. Then for dessert, I love baking. Nothing quite like a homemade apple crumble or ricotta cheese cake.

In another life, I would be…

An intelligence officer in the Middle East.

Nobody knows that…

My ideal evening is early dinner with the kids followed by endless episodes of Scandal.

Martina Mondadori Sartogo will be at the design store Moxie, for Texas Design Week Houston, Tuesday, March 26, 6:15 pm, for cocktails, a talk, book signing and preview of her new tabletop collection. For tickets and complete schedule of Texas Design Week events, click here.

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