Designer Series- Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz

Last week, I attended an hotel presentation at

The Museum of New York

in conjunction with


where three designers/architects spoke about their work in Hotel Design in New York.

One of my favorite designers who happens to be Latino hails from Puerto Rico-

Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz

. He has been commissioned to design various Mondrian hotels for the Morgan Group. The hotels under the Mondrian brand evoke a provocative fantasy story behind them all. 

Noriega-Ortiz’s latest hotel is the Mondrian SoHo which he based his design on Jean Cocteau’s film “

La Belle et la Bete

”- “The Beauty and the Beast.” He said, NYC is the “Beast” and the hotel’s guest are beautiful so they are “Beauty” and the hotel is trying to seduce its guest to come back and stay.

The furniture is very whimsical and is either painted white or blue. He said that in the movie which is black and white “Cocteau diary

described Belle’s dress as being a beautiful French blue" and that’s why you see so much blue throughout the space.

He wanted to create most of the rooms with white walls and no paintings or anything hanging, blue carpets and blue ceilings. He played with mirrors that were done in blue. He said “You don’t see wrinkles in blue mirrors, and I wanted the guest to see their reflection as the first thing when they woke up.” The room’s glass

windows reveal spectacular views of downtown NY.

The bathrooms were done in all white with carrara marble.

Noriega-Ortiz designed the Hotel’s restaurant

Imperial No.Nine

with a ballroom feeling. He used nine gigantic crystal chandeliers because every ballroom must have crystal chandeliers, he said.

They look pretty amazing when all are clustered together. He also commissioned different artist to do different pieces for the hotel.

Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz and yours truly.  I had a wonderful conversation with him and expressed my admiration and how thankful I am for being able to meet a one of my favorite designers who is paving this industry with his seductive, imaginary and elegant designs.

This is Noriega-Ortiz's second home in Rockway Park, NY which was featured in

NY Mag

a couple weeks ago inspired by Marie Antoinette.   “Like, if Marie Antoinette was to find an apartment at Rockaway Park in 2011, what would she have? She wouldn’t have plastic furniture. She should have velvets and furs and crystals.” To pick up on the blue-green of Marie Antoinette’s gown in the portrait, as well as the ocean, Noriega-­Ortiz used a Tiffany-blue scheme for that space, which also includes crystals faceted to the walls, feathered lamps, and taxidermy birds.  An exercise in over-the-top glamour, the bedroom is saturated in the hot pink of the teen queen’s cheeks in the ­portrait. “She commands the apartment,” Noriega-Ortiz says.

So what do you think about his designs? I personally love his imagination and how he is able to create seductive sleek and modern spaces. If you have a chance check out his designs for the apartments of P.Diddy and Lenny Kravitz which he shared very funny stories about them both. 



images by Mondrian Group, Wallpaper Magazine, Google and NY Mag, and Villa-Bisono