As the founder and director of a worldwide top luxury, luggage company, it stands to reason that Giacomo Valentini would be well travelled. I mean who else would be best place to understand the various developing needs of globetrotters than a seasoned voyager.
For Mr. Valentini not only does travel provide escape, excitement and adventure, it also forms an integral part of business. Between his full travel schedules, I managed to grab a few moments to discuss his favourite inspirational spots, travel habits and destination tips.
ModeHunter: Where has been your most recent travel destination?
Giacomo Valentini: Recently I have been travelling around China. I’ve been there quite often for business.
MH: What essential items do you have to carry with you on each trip?
GV: Because I’m always travelling, I am very organized and I always carry with me things that let me feel like I’m home even on the other side of the world. The most essential thing for me is my passport. It may seems obvious but, for frequent flyers like me, the passport is the only thing that is really necessary and you must always carry with you because you never know if you will have to leave and catch a very last minute flight.
MH: How has the development of Orobianco products improved your travelling?
GV: There is a continuous exchange between my experiences and what I create. A designer has to use what he has created in order to test it and understand if it is working or not. Everything I’ve created is born because I felt the need of that particular thing; so, using it is a way for me to test what I’ve created and to receive feedback from an idea, which is a great help in my ordinary life. Also, by using all my creations, I can guarantee that each Orobianco, Desertika or TecknoMonster product is studied to give the customer a solution for every scenario. I would not produce a product that I would not use myself.
MH: What is your earliest memory of travelling?
GV: My earliest memory has to be of my mother taking my brothers and I to the seaside. Leaving with my family was an event and it used to give me the sensation of an exciting journey and discovery that, with all this technology, you cannot feel now. Internet and mobile phones have literally torn down distances and with one call you can share with your friends, back home, your experience. When I was a child going on vacation was like living a parallel life, where you had to build new friendships and taste every portion of that time in order to remember it. The anticipation was intoxicating and the time spent was invigorating.
MH: What has been your most memorable trip?
GV: When I was 15 I travelled around the United States. It has been the most memorable trip I’ve ever done because it felt like I was discovering a new world. At that point in time, we didn’t have the saturation of images we have now, so there wasn’t much visual information about the place you were going to visit. The trip was moments of pure discovery, and whilst on that particular trip, I subconsciously grasped the importance of travel for business. You can’t work with people from the other side of the world without knowing that particular place and culture.
MH: What is your favourite city and why?
GV: That is very simple: Milan. I love it because it is not too far from home and it has everything I need: delectable restaurants, stimulating museums, which I can visit with my family, inspiring architecture and historical monuments. It is complete, and the best part when I visit, is not having to spend time in a hotel because I can come back home.
MH: Which city do you find most inspiring?
GV: I find that each country I visit conveys a unique message and stimulates you in so many different ways. Sometimes these inspirations can be universal and sometimes they are strictly local and incomprehensible to people from the other side of the world. A good designer understands that difference and turns that message or inspiration into something iconic, understandable for everyone. So there is not a singular city in particular that inspires, you have to find inspiration from every place you visit.
MH: Name three destinations you would like to travel to that you haven’t been to as yet.
GV: When people hear questions like this they tend to conjure up ideas of far, undiscovered, places, which are nearly impossible to reach. I believe that, sometimes, there are places next to where you live that are worth exploring but you don’t even consider them. Considering that I spend 100 hours a month on a flight (crazy if you consider that the average work week is 40 hours), my idea of travel is really unconventional. It may sound clichéd, but for me travel is not the destination but is the journey itself, so I would love to have the luxury of travelling without having a destination.Perhaps, two months of freedom and travel around Europe with a camping van, discovering new places not so far from home but still fascinating.
MH: Name your top three places for food.
GV: Well, one certainly has to be Fratellini in Florence, in Gallarate, my absolute favourite place to eat is PostPorta. As it is impossible for me to reduce my choices to only to 3, I’ll tell you that I’ve loved every single restaurant I’ve visited in Japan. The cuisine is vastly different to the Italian one but it has unlimited scope for evolution. As a result I have been able to develop the menu in my restaurants in Japan, to incorporate such delicacies as the famous black pizza.
MH: What is most important when choosing a hotel?
GV: I don’t look for luxury or particular stuff. What I really care about when choosing my hotel is for it to be very close to the town centre because when you are on business trip you have business breakfast, lunch and dinner so you have to run between places. And when I finally get back to the hotel, being in the city centre allows me to go to a daily mart (local supermarket) and buy coffee to make in my room and feel like I’m home, especially when I’m away for more than 3 weeks.
MH: When was the last time you were able to travel just to relax and where was it?
GV: Last summer I was able to spend four days with my daughters and my wife in our chalet in the Italian Alps. I’m always staying in hotels around the world, for me this was a real moment of relaxation, being able to go there, where I can feel at home, with a fireplace, nature and the people that I love. After these four days we also stopped by a lake near Varese so, as you can see, I only managed to have six days of vacation. You can understand now why I so strongly crave those two months to travel around Europe.
To find out more about Orobianco’s luxury travel solutions visit www.tecknomonster.com
Interview and image by Darrel Hunter for ModeHunter.