Founder, Benjamin Hall Design
In the early 2000s, California native Benjamin Hall had dropped out of high school and was spending his days surfing when one day he explored the California Polytechnic State University campus.
“There was a unique cylindrical lecture building,” he recalls. “The architecture literally drew me in.” Despite not being a student, he sat in on an architecture class, and the experience changed his life. “That was the moment I knew working in the design world was the place for me,” he says.
It was all the motivation Hall needed to graduate from high school, major in architecture at the University of Arizona and spend a year studying the discipline in Denmark. Postcollege, Hall worked in Seattle, Phoenix and Saudi Arabia–where he completed projects for the monarchy–before returning stateside in July 2011 to found Phoenix-based Benjamin Hall Design.
Six years into his business, Hall wears four hats: designer, developer, builder and landlord. He funds, builds and manages many of his projects, perhaps the most notable being Phoenix’s White Stone Studios apartment complex, which took home the 2015 Distinguished Building award from the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “I try to experience everyday life to the fullest,” Hall says. “When you keep yourself open, you become more aware of the small things.”
For insight into his city, we chatted with Hall about how he’d spend a perfect day in the Valley of Sun.
10 a.m. Start the day with brunch
at Ocotillo. This popular local
restaurant offers a great morning
vibe with wonderful indoor and
outdoor spaces and delectable
food options, including blue
corn pancakes and breakfast
11 a.m. Get your art fill at the
Phoenix Art Museum, home to
more than 18,000 masterpieces.
On display now are award-winning
works by the 2016 Contemporary
Forum grant recipients.
12 p.m. Take a drive to North
Phoenix to check out the Musical
Instrument Museum. There, you
can browse more than 6,500
instruments from around the world
and also attend concerts, like
J.D. Souther and Judy Collins
2 p.m. Grab lunch at Pane Bianco,
an Italian joint on North Central
Avenue. It’s a restaurant that tailors
the whole experience to your
senses: I come here not only for
the fresh ingredients but also the
natural lighting, the linens, the
water pitchers, the uneven wood
tables and the wafting aromas
from the wood-fire oven.
3 p.m. Pop by Lisa Sette Gallery
to view works by one of my
favorite local artists, Mayme
Kratz. She is known for her
resin works made with materials
gathered during her trips
around the Southwest.
4 p.m. Hit up some of my favorite
shops: Hub Clothing for stylish
jeans that can be worn in all
settings, Bunky Boutique for
Arizona-themed clothing, For
the People for home goods,
Framed Ewe for sunglasses and
Modern Manor for midcentury
furnishings. Each of these shops
offers a different view into the
7 p.m. Have dinner at the delicious
Forno 301 Pizzeria & Bar. It’s in an
unassuming strip mall, which can
mask its authentic allure, but the
dining experience and food are
straight out of Italy. Make sure to
ask about the specials–and when
in doubt, get the Diavola pizza.