The couple: Enrica Cavarzan and Marco Zavagno, aka ZAVEN

14 February 2024

Zaven Designers

The two designers, candidates for the Compasso d’Oro, are preparing for another season of prestigious projects

Enrica Cavarzan and Marco Zavagno are the founders of the Zaven studio based in Venice and with wide-ranging collaborations with selected companies consistent with their formal and substantial approach. Among these there is also Zanotta, for which the studio designed the Bol collection of tables and the Za:Za sofa whose name tells of the perfect symbiosis between them and the brand. It is no coincidence that this project earned him inclusion in the ADI Design Index 2023 and therefore his candidacy for the Compasso d’Oro 2024. In 2023 the studio was also included among the AD100 which brings together the 100 most interesting designers according to the international editorial staff of AD magazine.

Zanotta Zaza Sofa
Zanotta Za:za Sofa

How did you meet and how did the collaboration between you begin?

We met at university, then I went to work in a studio in Barcelona and in the meantime Enrica got a master’s degree at IUAV and then we met a bit by chance and started dating. Both of us worked as a freelancer, with our own clients and projects but we started to get our hands on each other’s projects. And it worked, they became more interesting. From there the next step was to found the studio.

How do you currently manage working as a couple? Do you have separate or intertwined roles?

The studio’s projects are followed by both of us, then each one perhaps focuses on a specific client, to give a face with continuity, but everything is designed by us together.

Zanotta Zanotta Bol Table

How did the relationship with Zanotta and in particular the project for the Za:Za sofa begin?

The relationship with Zanotta was born in 2021, when the project manager Cristina Nardi invited us to propose a sofa that was innovative. What was of interest above all was that we had never made a sofa and therefore we were asked for a totally new approach, which was more research-based, in line with the Zanotta brand and therefore which referred to what has always meant for Italian design. A company that not only makes an industrial product, but which contains values which are precisely those of research and of play; so, that was the input we were given. And we responded in our own way, first trying to understand how a sofa was made. The company’s request was to think of something that was sustainable and therefore we worked in this way, trying to revolutionize the structure of the sofa a little, that is, analyzing the various elements that constitute it, working them individually in their material in a way that could be disassembled at the end of the product’s life. Usually, sofas are made with wooden structures then covered with glue, and therefore can no longer be separated and recycled. So, we worked on a metal structure with straps that support the cushions and are two totally distinct and recyclable elements, and then we placed these cushions on top which are made of very light and innovative padding because it comes from recycled and recyclable sources and precisely gives a degree of comfort. This is another aspect that interested us because often sofas are very visually beautiful but then perhaps, they are too low or too deep and are uncomfortable, and therefore we opted for a higher seat so that it was also more comfortable. We ourselves had a beautiful sofa that we liked a lot, but it actually wasn’t the best in comfort in terms of lumbar support beyond the back and so to have an extra degree of comfort we worked a lot on that too.

Zanotta Zaza Seat
Zanotta Za:za Sofa

In general, does your personal way of experiencing the house influence your approach to a project?

Certainly, in the sense that we start a bit from our personal experience but also from an analysis to understand what happens. We must always have our antennas raised to capture the requests and needs. And we also do research to use a contemporary language so as not to create duplicates but to explore new territories and understand what can be done differently. In general, we feel that today there is a desire for warmth, a high degree of customization and there is greater attention to the home and everyday life which perhaps was paid less attention to before.

Miniforms Miniforms Zigo Side Table

How has your vision of the project changed since you started? Did you already have a clear vision of what it was like to do this job?

We probably don’t have a clear vision even now because the reality is that we too are constantly evolving, and we also need to understand and interpret both the present and the future.

Zanotta Zaza Trhee Seat
Zanotta Za:za Sofa

What new projects are you working on?

Among the news that we will present at the next Salone del Mobile, the collaboration with Zanotta continues and there will be both expansions and new projects and we will also present the collaboration with Bitossi.


Salone del Mobile 2024,
15-21 april

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