Designer Crush: Ben Soleimani

1. Who is your biggest role model?

When I was growing up, my father. Today, I am inspired by leaders with the vision and decisiveness to create what is new and innovative. I think Steve Jobs is a great example—his vision changed the way people lived.

2. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?

I think you can gauge a lot by the way a person dresses. I look at textures and colors and how a person puts these together. Shoes are also an important detail and a personal expression of a person’s style and character as well.

3. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?

I've always worked with texture. These days I'm seeing more and more textures in fashion and similar parallels in design.

4. How do you completely unwind?

I love playing polo.

5. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?

I don't really see myself as just a designer. I am a collector, an entrepreneur, and a businessman. I've always been someone who is passionate about both design and business—for many, it is one or the other.

6. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?

I have never enjoyed working in environments where people are indecisive.

7. What’s your favorite recipe?

I wish I could recreate the pasta they make in Genoa with the most incredible pesto.

Lightning round!

8. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

For my clothes, always new. For art and design, I prefer vintage.

9. First celebrity crush?

Sophia Loren.

10. What’s your hidden talent?

I love designing buildings. I'm drawn to spaces lots of windows, high ceilings and incredible stone façades that show years of patina and history. Architecture has always been one of my greatest passions.

11. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?

It would have to be Italian food in Italy. When I'm in LA, I go to Madeo.

12. SF or LA?

I appreciate San Francisco's sophistication, but I prefer LA for its evolving style, weather, and the proximity to the ocean. I also think LA's scene has changed dramatically. To me, it's really grown culturally from being more of a town to a vibrant destination city.