Decor and Design

5 Minutes With Cara/Davide

We catch up with one of our favourite new design houses about their Venetian-inspired collection


Cara,Davide, House and Leisure, Carabottino, Medulum

The beguilingly simple craftsmanship of Venetian Carabottino screens, a historical technique of joining wood into very beautiful grids, have been bent, curved and twisted in the work coming out of the Cara/ Davide studio — a South African-Italian design duo making some of our favourite new things. 

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The collection, which includes a mirror, contained in a curved Carabottino encasement, a sideboard, and coffee table, comes from the Medulum Collection 2019, that the pair describe as ‘a tribute to the Republic of Venice and to the flow of goods and traditions that have shaped the Venetian identity.’ We caught up with Cara/Davide founders Cara Judd, who hails from South Africa and her Italian partner Davide Gramatica to find out more about the collection and the duo's design story.

Cara,Davide, House and Leisure, Carabottino, Medulum

5 minutes with Cara/Davide

How did the Carobottino come into your design life?

Carabottino is an Italian word for a gridded structure made of wood. Visually, we were interested in this wooden element because of the graphic compositions it created. It became the main aesthetic reference for the collection for Medulum when we discovered the importance of this element to the history and naval culture of the Venetian area. It was important for us to express the connection Medulum has with its territory.  

The designs honour the method and material but still, look forward into the future. How do you balance the old and new in your designs?

With Carabottino, establishing a dialogue with past and present was a consequence of our work because the Carabottino element in itself is linked to the history and culture of the Venetian area. Traditionally, the Carabottino was a flat structure both in its nautical and domestic applications. With the Carabottino collection, the intricately grated surface is proposed in a new light as it takes on a cylindrical and freestanding position, moving it away from its traditional placement. 

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Cara,Davide, House and Leisure, Carabottino, Medulum

What was the manufacturing process like, working with such skilled artisans?

Besides the satisfaction of a beautifully crafted collection, we had amazing synergy with Medulum. In two intense days, Diego Zanchettin, owner of the company, personally showed us around the Venetian area, explaining its history and the story of the company in relation to it. The synergy created in those two days was fundamental for the development of the project. The collection is a result of a constant and continuous dialogue, sharing different needs and points of view of production, craftsmanship and design.

What's next for the collection?

We're working on XL (and XXL!) extensions to the collection.

Cara,Davide, House and Leisure, Carabottino, Medulum

How did you meet?

We met studying design at IED Milano and soon after we graduated we started collaborating on a few personal projects before opening up our own studio. Today we both teach in the Design Department at IED Milano. Occasionally, we also hold workshops which have explored themes like sustainability. 

Davide teaches Model Making and Cara teaches Project Communication. 

The collections aren't available in South Africa just yet, but if you want to get a headstart head to their website