Putting together people and things she loves is a lifelong passion ofMartina Mondadori’s, but she met her match in Peter Sartogo, her husband. “I saw her first,” he claims, with a gleam that suggests a collector thrilling to the chase. This pursuit, he recounts, culminated in a heart-in-mouth, on-bended-knee proposal in a vaporetto steaming down Venice’s Grand Canal on New Year’s Eve 2005.
The reminder of how ardently she was wooed draws an affectionate shrug from Martina, now securely Mondadori Sartogo, who offers a quizzical look from behind her cascade of Botticelli locks in return. But there was almost an inevitability to the couple’s union, given their pedigrees. Martina, founder of the mold-breaking design magazineCabana, comes from a tastemaking Italian family that combined the great fortunes of publishing giant Mondadori and industrial powerhouse Zanussi. Peter, meanwhile, is the aesthetically refined financier son of Italian architect Piero Sartogo, a devoted art collector. It seems beyond question that the pair would recognize the essence of the other, dovetail, and shine.
Indeed, these two thoroughbreds fit together as seamlessly as the splendid millwork that abounds in their London townhouse, its original 19th-century parquet meticulously restored and polished with Italian beeswax. Evidence of the couple’s compatible sensibilities can be found throughout the elegant home, which they share with their two young sons, Leonardo and Tancredi. Everything chez Mondadori Sartogo has character and seems written with the alphabet of the cultured nomad. Craft and art, Africa and Europe, ancient and modern intersect in furnishings, fabrics, and centuries-spanning treasures. “I like things to be inventions of a creative mind, not anonymous objects,” says Peter, who quit the New York banking scene 15 years ago and moved to London, where he heads his own asset-management company, GWM Group.
Among the home’s distinctive furnishings are pieces by design giants like Gio Ponti andIngo Maurer以及智能乌木色的发现。文物mix nonchalantly with a sketch by the 20th-century scenic artist Lila De Nobili, while a pair of pretty, anonymous vases join an idiosyncratic sculpture by William Kentridge. Quite a few family heirlooms enrich the house with a sense of history and continuity. “Our parents all had a passion for things, for patina and quality and for the pleasures of collecting,” says Martina. Her late father, Leonardo, adored master drawings, and it’s unsurprising that an exquisite ink study of a shepherd displayed on a side table is by Francisco Goya or that an earthy drawing of a male nude on a chest of drawers is by Edgar Degas.
In addition to passing on a love of collecting, Martina’s father also nurtured her interests in publishing and decorating. Growing up, she often accompanied him on travels to New York for meetings with the likes of Tom Wolfe and Jacqueline Kennedy (an early heroine of Martina’s). They would stay in her father’s Verde Visconti–decorated apartment at the Carlyle, occasionally dining downstairs in the pretty restaurant designed by the legendary Renzo Mongiardino.Cabanawas born of these influences two years ago, its inventive approach to layout and content offering up a visual feast of inspiration and style. The biannual publication, each issue covered in a unique textile or wallpaper, is a captivating collage of current obsessions and trends in interiors and collecting.