In anticipation of their gorgeous new Capri boutique opening on June 1st, The Travel Curator is thrilled to sit down with jewelry couturiers Roberto Faraone Mennella and Amedeo Scognamiglio, the award-winning design duo behind FARAONE MENNELLA by R.F.M.A.S., to discuss all things travel. Known around the world for their exquisite jewelry collection, not to mention their consummate style and grace, Roberto and Amedeo draw inspiration for their acclaimed pieces from their classical Italian heritage and global travels. Their latest boutique, designed by Roberto, features stunning Volta ceilings and an impressive XIX chandelier, all the better to showcase their vast selection of baubles. From classic jewels to everyday wear to the most exceptional, one-of-a-kind couture pieces, Faraone Mennella always knows how to surprise and make a statement.
WHAT TRAVEL EXPERIENCE HAS INSPIRED YOUR JEWELRY COLLECTIONS?
Capri has been for both of us our families’ summer retreat: therefore we grew up breathing the air of the most beautiful island of the world, and absorbing all the “involuntary” glamour that Capri created like magic in the past century. Capri is definitely the DNA of Faraone Mennella. On a different level, our trips to Brazil, in Minas Gerais, where we visited precious stone mines are the ultimate inspiration for jewelry designers!
BEST TIPS FOR AMALFI AND CAPRI?
We always take our friends and guests visiting the Amalfi Coast to at least one luncheon at Adolfo’s, a small, family-run restaurant on a little secluded beach between Positano and Amalfi, only accessible by boat. In Capri, if you’re into sports, there are beautiful hikes: one is the hike on the “Phoenician Ladder,” a thousand-year-old path made of steep stone steps, which used to be the only way to get to Anacapri from the harbor, for hundreds of years. It’s a hard, sweaty hike for the active ones, but filled with history and breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples.
WHERE ARE YOU TRAVELING TO NEXT?
We are constantly on the go, and so fortunate to visit all the beautiful places around the world where our jewelry collection is sold. Next up is Las Vegas, for the annual couture jewelry fair at the Wynn hotel.
FAVORITE HOTEL EXPERIENCE?
The J.K. Place hotel in Capri, because it’s revolutionary in Italy for its style, contemporary chic and impeccable yet cool service by the best-looking staff. There is a fine line between attentive and overbearing service. At J.K. Place, the young staff makes you feel not like a guest but like a “star,” simultaneously maintaining an invisible elegant presence. Luxe is in the small details.
YOUR FAVORITE BOUTIQUE HOTEL?
We recently discovered the Maca Kizi in Turkbuku, near Bodrum — discretely elegant, über chic, fantastic mood!
FAVORITE BIG CITY HOTEL?
In New York, the Four Seasons; in London, The Berkeley; in Dubai, the Park Hyatt.
FAVORITE DESIGN CITY?
Berlin: Germany is the only country that is focused on innovation and evolution in the art world, while keeping a respectful love and devotion for its history.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE GO-TO’S AND MUST DO’S IN NEW YORK?
Dinner al fresco at Morandi in the West Village is a must: fun, great vibe with a regular crowd of fashionistas and celebrities. A sunset walk on the extended High Line Park makes you feel like you are in a strange, mysterious place, if not for the Manhattan skyline, which reminds you where you are.
WHAT CITY DO YOU FEEL IS UNDERRATED?
Buenos Aires. It is sophisticated, luxurious but fun, sexy and genuinely exciting at the same time.
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Africa, because it would be the only place where our business doesn’t take us to — and because it’s the new frontier of travel experiences.
Roberto: A memo pad to sketch new jewelry and my iPad, to watch movies
Amedeo: A cashmere blanket and my Bose noise-canceling headphones, a true necessity.
MOST FAVORITE APP?
Amedeo: Pandora, Instagram and all the social network apps (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) are my obsession. I don’t think I could live or work without them.
BEST MEAL IN RECENT MEMORY?
The fish restaurant inside New York’s Eataly. Despite the tourists, it’s the only place in New York where you can enjoy an entire fresh fish meal, cooked in very simple and healthy recipe… but with no reservations allowed, so be ready to stand in line.
What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell.
Amedeo: Voltaire’s Candide.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT TRAVEL? LEAST FAVORITE?
We travel to meet new people, mixing our experiences with theirs, sharing knowledge and inspiration. But the hurdles of airports (security lines, waiting, lack of politeness) sometimes make traveling an unpleasant memory… until you land in the next beautiful place.
IF YOU COULD DESIGN A HOTEL, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR INSPIRATION?
Roberto is the “architect” of the team: we have always thought of designing and running a hotel in the future, and it’s in our future plans. It would be a chic boutique hotel, on the Sorrento coast, up high; an early 19th-century palazzo, rich in architectural details and history, but with slick interior design — just like our boutiques around the world. It would feature an obsessive attention to elegantly discreet service by an international young staff, where the old-world “local” style meets the globalized desire for contemporary luxury hospitality. Just like a Faraone Mennella piece of jewelry, a Faraone Mennella hotel would translate in a unique, timeless, unforgettable experience.