With his contemporary industrial style and an exhaustive attention to detailed craftsmanship, Paul Basile’s studio is recognised by many as a pioneer of the local design movement, elevating wood, glass, and steel from their humble elemental origins to refined works of art which helps create a commercial imperative for the owners.
After moving from Detroit to San Diego in the ’90s, the self-taught Basile fashioned furniture out of discarded rebar, sold the finished product, and never looked back.
A construction foreman by day and furniture craftsman by night, Paul worked tirelessly as he raised capital to open doors to his first venture, Basile Gallery. For nearly 12 years the design commune was a vehicle for Paul to sell his bespoke creations as well as a sanctuary for local artists and craftsman to showcase their work.
While simultaneously running the gallery, Basile also spent time honing his skills in various areas of interest, growing an impressive resume with stints as a transportation company owner, non-profit competition creator, real estate developer, restaurant owner, general contractor, lighting designer and sculptor.
“With no need to outsource project aspects to general contractors or other fabrication studios, this start-to-finish skill and passion translates into less time and less expense, a key reason Basile projects can be finished so quickly”
As requests for one-off projects poured in, each larger in scale than the last, he increased his focus on building custom architectural details. Paul opened doors to Basile Studio in 1994, and it transitioned into a full-service design and fabrication studio in 2008.
Basile’s diverse background, as well as a perpetual drive to experiment with new materials and styles has given rise to many of San Diego’s most unique restaurants and retail spaces, each with its own singular identity but sharing the same signature stamp of functional minimalism. Today, the multi-faceted designer consistently redefines what it means to create out-of-the-box projects, taking every opportunity to combine purposeful design with sleek, uncomplicated beauty.
Basile Studio’s versatility is evident in the scope of projects it takes on, ranging from particular architectural features including elaborate, reclaimed, or deceptively uncomplicated signage; railing systems; custom staircases; wall paneling; awnings; glass ceilings; and numerous other details to the top-to-bottom design of a space.
Those wholesale efforts are done entirely in house with as few outside resources as possible, and can include everything from lighting licensing and permitting to designing interiors, fabricating furniture and installing ornamental metalwork. As the San Diego design community’s ultimate jack-of-all-trades, Paul Basile is an artist, sculptor, fabricator, general contractor, project manager and all-around innovator, lending his talents and those of his team to an ever-growing roster of spaces where functionality and art seamlessly meet.
With expertise and hands-on experience that extends far beyond that of a designer, Basile has a rare ability to shepherd a project from concept to creation to installation. There’s a reason Basile Studio is regarded as the ultimate one-stop shop for all manners of projects, from high-end restaurants to commercial offices to custom furnishings, everything the studio designs, it can build – no middle-men are required. With no need to outsource project aspects to general contractors or other fabrication studios, this start-to-finish skill and passion translates into less time and less expense, a key reason Basile projects can be finished so quickly.
Unique to Basile Studio is its philosophy of continued observation and improvement during the fabrication stage: The evolution of any piece mcarries on once it hits the studio floor, often changing mid-production in order to create the best possible product.
Paul’s multi-hyphenate status as designer-sculptor-fabricator is certainly not run of the mill, but what truly sets Paul Basile apart is his profound attention to detail. Every Basile effort is a consummate manifestation of the ethos that every minute aspect of a project-from the design, to the installation, to the function, to the aesthetics – satisfies the need for its existence.
For example, at the brand-new Ironside Fish & Oyster in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood, Basile upgraded the familiar concept of roll-up garage doors, installing five massive floor-to-ceiling steel flip doors that lift to reveal India Street, filtering light and breezes into the 4500ft2 warehouse.
“Each stylish, contemporary restaurant, office, storefront or hotel in Basile’s portfolio challenges the notion that purposeful designs cannot be refined, experimental, stimulating, and ultimately beautiful”
Deliberate design elements such as mixed metals, an open-air kitchen and custom barstools, complete with built-in purse hooks and the ability to swing out of the way for more space, abound, never sacrificing form for function or vice versa.
To complement Car2Go’s innovative all-electric car sharing program, at one site, Basile transformed an abandoned industrial space into an inviting, clean-lined showcase of rich textures, a medley of metal, concrete and wood, and steel-framed windows and doors.
At the close-quartered Underbelly, Basile ingeniously doubled seating capacity by installing windows that convert into tables, emphasising both the restaurant’s neighbourly spirit and modish atmosphere. Staying loyal to the communal concept behind hip sister spots, Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine, Basile installed several conversation- promoting design elements, including a mammoth glass roof to bring in natural light. Far from a rogue talent, Basile’s process always begins with exhaustive research and dialogue, ensuring that a space’s bar managers are involved in the plans to build the most operative bar possible by translating design into dollars for ownership.