Grazia Valtorta

Her career started and developed within the Cartier Group with interests ranging from external relations to the various communication disciplines, ultimately becoming Director of Communication for Cartier in Italy. She has taken part in numerous Group events and initiatives over the years: product launches, exhibitions and publishing projects. She worked with Franco Cologni to create Cartier Art, the magazine of which she is publisher, and on many other international projects.

You are Director of Communication for Cartier in Italy. You are also Director of Creative Academy: personally and professionally, what does this experience give you?

This experience has been a vibrant, stimulating chapter in my professional life, offering me the opportunity to explore completely new paths. I was lucky enough to come into this project at the very beginning. Both on a personal and professional level, the continuous interchange with creativity and with these young designers as they explore their expressive potential is extremely motivating. This adventure has really drawn me in and gives me huge energy. Supervising these young people means being continuously available, curious and capable of putting yourself on the line. After years of experience in Cartier communication, a job I am still doing, I see Creative Academy as the chance of a professional “second youth”…

What criteria do you use to select the young designers who take Creative Academy’s master course?

The school accepts young adults with an educational background in subjects connected with the design world, e.g. a university degree or equivalent qualification. The master course requires an excellent knowledge of English. Generally speaking, the candidates should send their curriculum vitae, portfolio and projects by mid September.

A selection committee screens the applications and chooses the twenty students admitted to the Master of Arts in Design, which starts in the following January. The school has always received a large number of applications every year and it has not always been easy to make a selection. The school also grants a number of scholarships to allow particularly deserving young people to study here.

What do you think about the fact that these young people are from very different geographic regions and cultures. Is this a complementary resource?

It certainly is. I think this aspect is one of the school’s great strengths. This international openness encourages dialogue and a mixture of different cultures, and there is nothing more stimulating and positive as far as creative development is concerned. Our students’ very diverse origins and cultural backgrounds have always proved to be a trump card, often contributing to very surprising, innovative creative results.

What are the strong points of the school’s study programme?

Our study programme is very innovative, chiefly because of its strong emphasis on practical work connected with the professional world. Our aim is to unite design creativity with craft know-how, keeping a constant focus on the brand and the final client. The programme is divided into different stages which are alternated and interconnected: classic classroom work with creative and research exercises; tutored visits; jewellery and watch seminars; technology workshops; projects; and a three-month work placement. In addition to the new approach and incisiveness of this teaching format, the teachers themselves are another crucial factor. Not just teachers chosen from among the world’s leading universities and design schools, but also the CEOs of all the brands in the Richemont Group, acclaimed designers and outstanding figures in the worlds of the arts, culture and communication.