The Unique Value of
Sophisticated Design

Retinal Substance’s Interior-Design service was born out of a multicultural, passionate group of designers who decided to specialize in the development of performative beauty. This is achieved by the entanglement of the resolved aesthetics resulting from merging spatial organization, material effects, lighting contrasts, phenomenology of color, and provocative detailing with the expectation to perform for several decades on both the criteria of adding value and requiring minimal to zero maintenance.

Performative Beauty:
our Design Philosophy

Due to the ten years of experience and varied background from our multi-award-winning team, with experience in all aspects of design through final construction of housing, commercial and hospitality applications of all sizes and budgets throughout all of Southern California and Internationally, we work following a comprehensive approach. Such is achieved by not only drawing or rendering ideas, but through thoughtfully considering and resolving all the different adjacent factors necessary to allow for a project to be reach fruition – such as construction requirements, city and local jurisdiction requirements, budgeting, phasing, sourcing and fabrication – not only in time and while maximizing the budget, but in excess of client expectations both in terms of qualitative living and long lasting stylistic allure. This allure is rooted in the partners’ respect and understanding of the forces driving the extended trends from both Modern and Contemporary Design and Architecture. This respect emerges from the fact that all the partners are at minimum master in Architecture graduates from six-year degrees; and with the firm’s CEO and Creative Director even having developed and taught his own theory and studio courses at top institutions on both bachelor’s and master’s programs. Having this foundation helps the firm avoid falling into oversimplifications and blanket statements, or mere mix-and-match scenarios that plague our profession of late, lowering the quality and longevity of the design.

Long Lasting Allure &
Stylish Lifestyle

The firm believes it is only through a very clear understanding of where these innovative social and technological design ideas and the designers who helped them materialize into styles the process can be of service to our design, clients, their investment and the design profession. The following is the partners’ favorite phrase to exemplify this concept, which is overheard at a lot of the firm’s creative meetings: “We are not interested in imposing ‘clean lines’, or any type of ‘lines’ for that matter, just because it is what is superficially associated by wrongfully informed individuals as either a mandate or justification for ‘taste’. We are devoted to fostering an extensive creative process that will result in generating the specific line that best fits the project’s design and context while staying true within the framework of the style.”


Portfolio Samples

Retinal Substance views itself as project and research based, where the firm’s creative process is best described as an extensive, rigorous exploration. It begins by the firm’s basic system of design, which is built upon the core principles of Modern (for example: example repetition, respect the nature of materials, simplicity) and Contemporary (for example: example repetition with variation, non-rigid geometries, material flow, high resolution) styles. However, our design-process is very distinct in that it also searches for intricacies from its existing context or original host [built] condition, and the social demands from program or client to embrace and adapt our base system style to. Unique properties which emerge from this system-host entanglement should give the project particular characteristics; this articulation gives value to the project as it is actual design differentiating it from the singular mindless repetition permeating the current ‘culture of the image’. During this process, the firm makes a point of laying out all constraints associated with the project and uses the power of design to attempt to turn them into opportunities; constraints can then become a positive force within the creative process.

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The firm can be as involved in as many aspects of a project as the client requests, having extensive experience in all phases of a project, from initial concept to final delivery and construction administration. Our team has the ability to undertake tasks ranging from just the general design and guidance for the client to develop the project directly with the contractor; or on the other end of the spectrum perform ‘turn-key’ comprehensive services with minimal client involvement.  In either format, the objective is to deliver only the highest quality results alongside absolute peace of mind on every phase.

Programming & Space Planning

Interview to determine client needs, schedules & budgets

Establish functional and aesthetic goals

Inventory existing furnishings and other items to be reused

Provide three dimensional furniture layouts

Assist in developing project timeline.

Interior Design

Style & concept assemblage in realistic 3D simulation

Design all Interior Details

Develop budgets on all interior finishes and furnishings as well as budgets for interior improvements.

Furniture selection and/or custom furniture design

Assist in material, finish and furnishings analysis, recommendations and specifications.

Provide 3D models, sketches and/or presentation boards of all interior selections and furnishings.

Review and Coordinate furniture layouts with lighting and electrical plans.

Construction Documents

Demolition/New Partition Plans

Reflected ceiling plans/Lighting plangs

Wall and floor finish plans and schedules

Interior details and design including cabinets, millworks, etc…

Furniture installation drawings

Project Administration

Coordinate and review drawings with contractors.

Maintain project schedules.

Review all bids and pricing.

Provide on-site inspections during construction.

Provide assistance during move-in.

Provide punch lists of all work to be completed.


Kate Hanson

Principal Designer
BS.Arch, M.Arch

Holding two degrees in Architecture from research universities, Kate has been involved with numerous built residential, commercial, hospitality, and tenant renovation projects throughout the United States. She has engaged as lead creative designer in international competitions and published projects, stemming from her research in utilizing contemporary technologies and cutting edge materiality as a means of redefining and reorganizing spatial systems to create intelligent structures.

Joseph Bailin

CFO | Principal Designer
& Fabrication Specialist

DEs.Arch, M.Arch

With extensive experience in fabrication techniques and pursuit of streamlining customizable fabrication strategies provides a facet to the team which instills the production of high quality, custom elements within the design that can be achieved with fiscal responsibility. Joseph’s technical approach to design lends an eye to Retinal Substance by means of  providing a rigorous analysis of how to maximize utility of materiality to achieve an intended aesthetic. Joseph’s attention to detail and understanding of materiality, led him to study in great depth the nuances of lighting design, understanding that light and materiality hold a symbiotic relationship in producing a well crafted, harmonious space.

Gabriel Morales

CEO | Creative Director
& Principal Designer

B.Arch, M.Arch, Master
Int. Assoc. American Institute of Architects.
Allied American Society of Interior Designers

A licensed Architect in Mexico and designer holding degrees from the top institutions in three different countries, whose expertise range from the most advanced contemporary coding and architectural theory; to full design and interiors for numerous projects that range from a few hundred feet to beyond the hundred of thousands. He is part of permanent museum exhibits, has won competitions and awards for architectural design and has taken care of full design development as Principal Architect and Designer-from initial concept to final documentation/detailing including on-site supervision- for projects in the realms of housing, hospitality and commercial development.

Robin Brisebois

Staff Architect
Licensed Architect in California

Having over 30 years of experience in the professional practice of Architecture in the state of California, he has expertise in all aspects of the field, as architect, developer, investor and even having started his career by literally building his own projects.  He brings the team confidence in terms of the assembly of construction documents under his responsible control when Architecture services are requested by the client. He also gives input to the partners during the design process to verify that the options and decisions taken are up to any codes and standards for City Submittals.