The History of Gi Paoletti's Career In Design / by Luke Davies

I’d like to tell you about myself and how I came to start Gi Paoletti Design Lab.  I spent the first fifteen years of my career working for large architectural firms focusing on high-end corporate office interiors, Silicon Valley corporate campuses and mixes-use development projects.   Here are a few of my clients from those years:  KPMG, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Cisco, Sybase, TNT, Agilent, NHN. It was an exciting experience to work on multimillion dollar projects all over the United States, Australia and South Korea.  I got to travel to many places and often, experiencing the culture of many different companies and neighborhoods.  I believe that familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood that surrounds a design project is very important for the success of the design.  Once you understand the neighborhood, you can decide how best to incorporate it or contrast it.

During this time, I took two years and went to Australia to work for an Australian architectural firm.  I had the unique opportunity of designing the new offices for the firm I worked for which was a fun challenge and a great compliment.  I also worked on several other projects like two eight story buildings with a connecting breezeway and several high-rise remodels.  I loved the opportunity to learn the Australian construction methods, building codes, the metric system and their architectural software.  I won an international lighting award while working in Australia which was a great honor.

Upon my return I had the opportunity to work for NBBJ as one of their design leaders.  I worked on projects in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and South Korea.  Utilizing my international experience at home is a nice benefit.  As a design leader, I traveled to a different destination once a quarter to spend three days with the rest of the design leaders in the company focusing on how we would change, lead, contribute to and inspire the design world and encourage the people who reported to us to do the same.  These charrettes were truly inspirational, and I was proud to be a part of this prestigious group within the firm.

So, why would I choose to give up working on multi-million dollar projects all over the world to open a boutique firm?  When I was 15 years old I told my sister that I was going to start my own design firm and focus on restaurants, bars, resorts and beautiful office interiors (I didn’t know back then that there would be marijuana dispensaries, but we design those as well).   This desire burned in my subconscious mind for years and I decided I needed to make it reality which I did on April 23, 2007 when I launched the business.   It has been a great ride and having large architectural firm experience has been a huge benefit.  I have been able to take my “big firm” experience and that business model and utilize it with my company.  Most boutique firms don’t cover all the bases under one roof like we do.   Here at Gi Paoletti Design Lab, we do the architecture, interior design, interior decorating, permit documents and construction administration so you don’t have to hire multiple firms and have things fall through the cracks.  It’s the way I learned to do it at the large firms I worked for in the past so I am very well versed in doing it and frankly, I think it’s the best way to do business. 

So, that is how Gi Paoletti Design Lab became a reality.  I hope to design more office interiors in the future since I have so much experience in that area and since I mentioned this in an article several years ago, it’s probably worth mentioning again.  I would absolutely love to design the interiors of a yacht so if you own one that needs remodeling, give me a call.  I already designed an elevated helicopter port for Blackhawks so it's obvious I love a challenge.  Other than that, we continue having a great time designing restaurants, bars, marijuana dispensaries and we just finished designing a 56-suite private resort which I can’t show you but l really enjoyed designing it.  I would welcome the opportunity to design another resort anytime.

If you have any questions, feel free to call at 415-999-1506 or email at We also have all of our social media pages linked to our website