WHERE’S NEXT FOR LUXURY?
In-person and digital tickets
for Walpole members and
non-members available now
Monday 29th April
at The Londoner
Buy tickets here
Out of Office

Belmond's Philippe Bonjean shares his Out of Office essentials

In our Out of Office interview series, we speak to Walpole member and partner executives at the top of their game about how they live their lives away from their desks – the habits that help them decompress, the activities that re-centre their minds, and the little luxuries that they can't live without. This week, we talk stand-up comedy, coffee routines and Christophe Lemaire with Philippe Bonjean, Content Strategist at Belmond
23rd Feb 2024
Out of Office Belmond's Philippe Bonjean shares his Out of Office essentials

Walpole: In a world where we’re always available, how do you separate your personal time from your work time?  

Philippe Bonjean: My wife has type 1 diabetes, a life-long condition, so I’ve learned so much from her about self-care and how to be in tune with my body. Every morning, I have a simple routine that involves some light exercises, whipping up an egg-white omelette and meditative dishwashing (yes, it's a real thing). Cycling to work gives me 40 minutes of uninterrupted thinking time - that's almost four hours a week, just for me. Of course, working in digital marketing also means I must be reactive during evenings and weekends. It can be tricky to completely switch-off but I compensate for this by disconnecting from work when I go on holiday, when I recharge myself.

What’s one thing you do after the workday to help you unwind?  

I love to laugh. Monica, my wife, is a stand-up comedian. I happily tag along to her London gigs and hang out in green rooms with up-and-coming comedians, which beats sitting on the couch any day. I've met some hilarious rising stars like Dan Tiernan and some familiar faces like Joe Wilkinson and Aisling Bea. If you want to know what the life of an aspiring comedian is like, I’d recommend watching the French TV series Standing-up on Netflix - it's a real eye-opener!  

What activity do you do in your time away from the office that helps you relax and recentre after a stressful week?  

I absolutely love everything about photojournalism. You will always find me with a camera in hand, ready to capture all the amazing moments around me. Thanks to my new Instagram account, I can share these shots with the world and watch them transform into an imaginary magazine spread on my LinkedIn profile.

French street photographer Henri-Cartier Bresson, British photojournalist Martin Parr and German fine art photographer Juergen Teller have played a huge role in shaping my vision. When it comes to photojournalism, there's no limit to what you can capture – from the smallest of details to the biggest of emotions, everything has a story waiting to be told.

What’s something you’ve read, listened to or seen in your spare time that’s helped you at work?  

I enjoy reading Jing Daily to get a pulse on the East Asian luxury market. It's like taking a refreshing bubble tea break from my usual coffee routine. Plus, it always sparks new and creative ideas about luxury that I never would have thought of otherwise.

After home and the office, where’s your favourite ‘third space’?

You will either find me at Lórian Deli on Sloane Street, a decaf oat latte in hand and a plateful of goodness from the salad counter, or strolling through Battersea Park enjoying my wife's impromptu jokes as she rehearses for her next gig.

On Sunday night, how do you prepare yourself for the week ahead?

After dinner, I give French lessons via Instagram video call to my teenage niece Alvia who lives in Calgary, Canada. We spend just over an hour studying and we always end up having a blast. Later, I usually turn on my vintage JVC turntable and spin some records from my collection to get us in a relaxed mood. My personal favourites are the contemporary instrumental albums like Planet Gold by French piano king Sofiane Pamart or the Solo Piano trilogy by Canadian piano genius Chilly Gonzales - but anything goes! One of my recent finds has been the German steel drums ensemble Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band; their albums are perfect for a chilled Sunday evening at home.

Best reason you've had to turn your out of office on recently?  

I was lucky enough to hop on legendary Belmond train the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, for a ride from Venice to Paris. It was an unforgettable experience; I didn't even know it should have been on my bucket list! Now I can proudly say I have checked off this once-in-a-lifetime journey, but who says you can't do it more than once? 

The OUT OF OFFICE hotlist

Your go-to out of office outfit: I'm in love with Christophe Lemaire's effortless designs – they are a breath of fresh air in the fashion world. For the perfect casual-chic look, I wear one of the brand's black long sleeve T-shirts, paired with blue jeans and topped off with an olive raincoat from Uniqlo U - all designed by Lemaire himself. To complete the look, I slip on my favourite lace-up sneakers from Mou or C250 Hiker sneakers from Coach.

Your happy place anywhere in the world: Grand Café Tortoni at Officine Universelle Buly 1803 in the Marais, Paris – perfectly served espresso coffees and delicious saffron vanilla ice-cream ‘à l’ancienne’, all in the nostalgic setting of a 19th-century French pharmacy.

Your favourite bar or restaurant: Leo Carreira's Chef's Table in Hackney, London (let him guide you for food!), or indulging in a pisco sour at the world-renowned Le Syndicat in Paris.

Something cultural or sporting you booked recently that you'd recommend and why: Friday Jazz night at Ladbroke Hall in Notting Hill, London – eclectic jazz programming, in industrial-meets-arty setting, paired with mouth-watering Italian cuisine by Emanuele Pollini (trust me – you don't want to miss out on their creamy cow's formaggi).

Something you've listened to or read recently that you'd recommend and why: I recently discovered a little gem from the 1950s: Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style. In this book, the renowned French novelist takes a single story and tells it in 99 unique writing styles. Not only does it showcase Queneau's incredible versatility and skill, but it also challenges us to look at storytelling in a whole new light.

A hobby you'd like to cultivate: I’m seriously obsessed with food photography. From capturing the perfect lighting to arranging drool-worthy dishes, it truly satisfies my passion for both food and art. The best part is I get to eat all the delicious subjects after the shoot!

A luxury that’s actually a necessity: Celebrations are never complete without the crisp bubbles of a chilled bottle of Champagne, preferably from the oldest Champagne maison, Ruinart. I have such a soft spot for any Blanc de Blancs bubbles. This reminds me, I still have some vouchers for Berry Bros. & Rudd that I need to redeem!  

Best luxury under £25: A large tub of pistachio ice-cream and dark chocolate sorbet by Ice Cream Union, shared with your loved ones. 

> Visit Belmond's Walpole member profile

Related Articles

Introducing The Dalmore, our latest Walpole member
Welcome to Walpole
23rd Apr 2024
Introducing The Dalmore, our latest Walpole member
Discover more about our latest Walpole member, The Dalmore, a whisky distillery located on the banks of the Cromarty Firth in Scotland, in our interview with the brand's Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Pearson
James Cropper's Steve Adams shares his Out of Office essentials
Out of Office
19th Apr 2024
James Cropper's Steve Adams shares his Out of Office essentials
In our Out of Office interview series, we speak to Walpole member and partner executives at the top of their game about how they live their lives away from their desks – the habits that help them decompress, the activities that re-centre their minds, and the little luxuries that they can't live without. This week, we talk community, Cavalleria rusticana and electric corkscrews with Steve Adams, CEO of prestigious paper innovator James Cropper
Meet the makers at Edward Green
Luxury in the Making
18th Apr 2024
Meet the makers at Edward Green
In a series of essays and images commissioned by Walpole as a part of our 'Luxury in the Making' study, we celebrate the people behind some of the exceptional luxury products made in the UK every day. From the intricacies of watchmaking to the teamwork that goes into every high-end car, we speak with some of the highly skilled individuals who pour their passion into their respective crafts