Coffee with Valentina

Every Monday on the journal, we'll share a short format interview with one of our wider Gather community members. Just a handful of questions with a generous helping of everyday inspiration to tuck into over your morning cuppa. This week, meet Valentina.


Valentina Soana

"Keep being curious and question everything."


What part(s) of the world do you call home?

I'd say Italy and the UK, though there's pieces of me in other places I've lived: Madrid, Stockholm, NY, Berlin, Wellington, Stuttgart - even in Amsterdam and LA, where I only lived briefly... my heart is somehow scattered around the globe. Rome and Porto Ercole (in Tuscany) have been the constants in my life - my safe places.  London is somehow becoming home; every day, more and more.  What is your industry, hustle, current project or passion?

This is a very interesting question.  I am currently a researcher in Robotics, CS, but was originally trained as an architect.  Today I build moving interactive structures that are self aware, smart, that play with humans.  I would say my passion is somewhere at the intersection between interactive art, robotics and architecture. What’s an important moment that signified a first step towards where you are today? In 2008 I told everyone I was going to study abroad for nine months.  A world opened in front of me it's carried me along since.  (I didn't realise at the time that I wouldn't be moving back to Rome - though never say never...)  Some significant choices shaped my future.  My time in Stockholm really inspired me to be better; my ambitions and points of reference shifted.  NY was amazing in a different way - and probably the most important time of my life.  It kind of set the foundations for what I am now.  Stuttgart I'd also pick out.  I arrived there already quite formed, but in a sense went deeper and found myself - I found a strange sort of peace.  London kind of brings it all together - almost as if it 'makes sense'.  I hope so! What is a moment you are proud of? Every time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone,  overcoming stereotypes and fears, trying to be better.  Every time I decided to do something unexpected.

What advice would you give your younger self today? Keep being curious and question everything. In one word, what is the most important thing to you in life?

Curiosity.

Where can we find you?

@valentinasoana

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