Saba Journeyed to Sardinia to Weave, and Photograph, Its New Cime Carpet Collection

Steeped in history and tradition, Sardinia is known — among many things — for its sheep farming and wool production, and a weaving method that’s distinct to the Mediterranean island. Handed down by generations of women, this ancient technique, called Pibiones (which means ‘cluster of grapes’ in the local dialect), creates small bumps of thread that are knotted around vertical bars. This highly textural effect has been employed for Italian design brand Saba’s latest collection of carpets named Cime, designed by Treviso-based duo Zanellato/Bortotto.

Working with the Mariantonia Urru laboratory, which was set up to preserve such weaving traditions and maintain the quality of craftsmanship, Saba has produced a series of three carpets, each available in three sizes. Zanellato/Bortotto looked to the nautical world on the other side of the Italian peninsula for pattern inspiration, finding it in the bold geometric shapes that adorned fishing boat lug sails, used to identify different Venetian families out on the Adriatic. For some of the Cime carpets, these graphics are expressed tonally by blending wool from black and white sheep in various ratios to create shades of gray, as well as a natural earth dye that provides a red hue. The elevated knots of the Pibiones technique also accentuate the patterns.

Tapping into Sardinian culture even further, Saba chose to photograph the Cime collection at Giardino Sonoro, an open-air museum in San Sperate, near Caligari, where the monolithic sound stones by late sculptor Pinuccio Sciola are scattered across a garden that he used for his experiments. Created during the second half of the 20th-century, the basalt and limestone sculptures are carved with lines and grids so that when a smaller stone is rubbed over them, they emit a sound. The Pibiones texture of the Cime rugs are evocative of these stone engravings, and a strong synergy between the hard sculptures and soft carpets is therefore apparent in photographer Mattia Zoppellaro’s images for the campaign. “In the alternation of twines, materials and combinations that seem to have always belonged to this magical art space, unexpected and spontaneous harmonies are born,” says Saba.