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Ask the Experts: The Hospitality Designer

Paul Basile—Founder, Basile Studio


Photos by Zack Benson, Lyudmila Zotova, Basile Studio

Trick of the Trade
“Respect the building. And respect all of the materials you put into it.”

You are known for your innovative designs. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Knowing that there is a better design solution.

What are some ways people can achieve your aesthetic in their homes?

Our new website, Basile Built, offers many of our chairs, stools, lighting, and more.

Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?

I really love our light fixtures. Particularly our I-beam line. We’ve used them in multiple projects for structural support and use the remnants to make experimental light fixtures and other interesting design pieces. It’s really important to us not to waste materials.

One design trend you are loving right now?

The focus on truth to materials: using materials for their value but changing the methods to create a new purpose, like dovetail joints on marble.

Underbelly north park

Thoughts on color?

Gray is the perfect neutral.

Thoughts on mixing patterns?

At Basile Studio, we tend to focus on texture over pattern, with the texture coming from the natural materials we use.

soda & swine liberty station

Designer Black Book

Casework, cabinetry, and architectural detailing:
Sean Peterson at
Trueline Woodworks
in Oceanside

Oil paintings and Venetian plaster walls:
Kareem Ralph Amin
in Los Angeles

Furniture, built-ins,
and sculpture:

Miki Iwasaki
at mi-workshop
in Barrio Logan

Ikea. Yay or nay?

I think Ikea is great. It’s inexpensive and budget-conscious. But from a philosophical standpoint, I like the idea of furniture that will be around for hundreds of years, and you usually get what you pay for.

Do you have a design pet peeve?

I see a lot of piecemeal designs that are not cohesive or thoughtful. A bunch of “trendy” things are thrown together but the items don’t relate to each other. For any space I design I think about the overall concept as a whole first. What is it going to look and feel like? Then we get into the details. Once we are into the phase of designing furniture or window systems, it must always relate back to our original concept. Otherwise the design can get lost.

And what about walls? Do you think less is more, or is “less” boring?

Less isn’t always more, but simplicity is. All walls need to be treated in unique but simple ways that speak to the materials being used. 

Are plant walls still cool?

Plant walls are great if people take care of them.

The 20-foot foosball table at Soda & Swine is pretty genius. Is there room for whimsy like that in a functional and practical home?

Always. Interactivity is the ultimate in practicality. 

What’s one quick fix almost anyone can do to refresh his or her home’s look?

Find something that is unique and one-of-a-kind that speaks to the space and the people who interact with it.

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