Our History

Bottega Navale Zara was born in Cagliari, Sardinian chief town, which is located in the heart of Mediterranean Sea.

Since the beginning of last century, just a stone’s throw from the harbor, there’s a workshop where the skilled and loving hand of Zara’s tradition (consisting on fisherman and shipwrights) are used to recreate ship models, letting them sail our crystal waters.

The very first models were made to help masters sawyers with their shipbuilding.

In 1975 Luciano Zara, belonging to the third generation of shipbuilders, refined this passion thanks to his knowledge of naval architecture, thus bringing excellence in design, project and finishing materials.

The route of Zara’s naval laboratory is marked by love for the sea, desire for discovery and search of new projects, being that each model got its own story but still they all are the result of this strong passion.

This would meant to be a call to you: we love to hear new stories and projects, whether they’ll come from ordinary men or sailors

How we build our model shipS

 

The Design 

The construction phases of art ship models are exactly the same as the actual size ship’s construction phases.

It all starts with the project, in fact the realization’s scale is fundamental to have a very accurate reproduction of reality. Zara’s naval laboratory has got an archive with over four hundred projects, both on paper and digital. It is enriched year after year thanks to new fans which contribute to keep the laboratory alive and promising.

Once we chose the project, we collect all the historical (bibliography, photos, sources museum), so that we will be able to pick the right material, the one closest to the aesthetic taste of the project itself.

The innovation of digital design allowed the realization of projects otherwise unthinkable til few years ago.

The Hull 

The hull symbolize the perfect balance between the two primary elements of natural existence: Water and Air. It all starts with hull and rib’s cutting and assembly. We always employ fine wood, such as walnut tree, pear or marine plywood and little by little, our ships come to life and form. We love to take the hull with our hands, resting it on our knees to feel the wood as a living creature.

If the hull isn’t built following the construction techniques of naval art, the ship will not float, despite being a reproduction.

In 1975 more than one hundred models were built since today and each one underwent the launch’s test at the harbor of Cagliari: this means that we can pleasantly assure you that the ship was built diligently, before being placed in its own ornamental pedestal.

 

The sail 

The sailing armament will complete the balance between Water and Air.

The trees are turned according to the measurements dictated by the project and then placed on the model. The next step will be dedicated to install the rigging and cordage, and this is a very important phase which guarantees the constructive stability of trees.

We complete the whole sailing with the execution of all flagpoles (turned as well) and the sail’s lease.

The whole naval construction (made up by trees, rigging and cordage, flagpoles, sail’s lease) must comply with every single position of the manoeuvers to  ensure the historical accuracy of design

The sail 

The sailing armament will complete the balance between Water and Air.

The trees are turned according to the measurements dictated by the project and then placed on the model. The next step will be dedicated to install the rigging and cordage, and this is a very important phase which guarantees the constructive stability of trees.

We complete the whole sailing with the execution of all flagpoles (turned as well) and the sail’s lease.

The whole naval construction (made up by trees, rigging and cordage, flagpoles, sail’s lease) must comply with every single position of the manoeuvers to  ensure the historical accuracy of design

 

The restoration 

Like any ship, even the naval model ages and becomes worn out and as a faithful companion of our adventures even the naval model needs maintenance. From sailing, the hull, details. For over 45 years models built in the Zara Naval Shop, both of other production are reconstructed in the damaged parts, painting, sails and polishing. Until the construction of the display cases