Stories / October 2018

Adventures in (Members') Clubland

The ever-ebullient Luca del Bono, founder of co-Quintessentially and the South Kensington Club talks to The Rake about ONDA, his newest adventure to connect people through experiences…

Luca del Bono has one of those faces that disarms you the very second he clocks you. Two warm brown iris peep out from almond-shaped eyes that narrow to appear almost completely shut when he smiles, which is to say virtually all of the time. He exudes the joviality of the southernmost Italians, combined with the confidence of somebody exceedingly well-travelled, which makes him feel strangely familiar, despite never having met him before. It quickly becomes apparent that we have good friends in common, but this should come as no surprise to anyone - Luca del Bono is in the business of making relationships, of making human interaction more interesting, more engaging, more relevant in a world where we are increasingly playing out our desires, needs and internal lives on a 4in x 2in piece of touch-sensitive glass.

I met the serial entrepreneur one recent sunlit morning at the South Kensington Club, in London, the members club that he founded in 2015, after previously co-founding the international luxury concierge service, Quintessentially. Throughout his career, Del Bono has, in short, been able to monetise the two things he enjoys doing the most - travelling and talking. On the latter, he is charmingly adept at holding court, whether he is pitching his most recent venture, ONDA, or leaning in to tell you a story that you 'probably shouldn't repeat'. But he's a listener too, refreshingly engaged and willing to take one's words and follow them down a tangent that may deviate from his original course. Given most of our daily interactions seem to play out on WhatsApp these days, it's invigorating to meet someone who you can see in front of you becoming visibly excitable as a conversation takes an uncharted course. It's this innate conviviality that has helped make del Bono's previous ventures so successful because in the business of building like-minded communities, there is no time for wallflowers.

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Ryan Thompson