Born in Puerto Rico, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz spent his childhood between the capital’s suburban area of Guaynabo and Luquillo Beach, where his parents had an apartment. After attending Margarita Janer High School in Guaynabo, he studied in the School of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico.
Benjamin completed his first master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico in 1982. He moved to New York, where he earned a second master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.
Benjamin started his career at the interior and product design studio of John F. Saladino, Inc. where he spent nine years, including six as head interior designer. He established his own firm, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, LLC in 1992. Also, he was named one of New York Spaces’ top 50 designers. He was also named one of the top 10 designers by House Beautiful Magazine.
He was also featured in Sheila Bridges: designer living episode 8 season 3. Benjamin also designed a sconce for Nessen Lighting in 1998 which he calls Antorcha: “It means torch in Spanish” and the fixture reminds him of torches he would see growing up in Puerto Rico.
For Cartier he designed a concept boutique to introduce the “Delice de Cartier” collection launched in SoHo, New York in 2002. Morgans Hotel Group commissioned Benjamin’s design firm with the remodeling of Mondrian Scottsdale, Mondrian Los Angeles, and Mondrian SoHo. Benjamin is responsible for the interior design of Russell Simmon’s Liberty street apartment. He also designed homes for Lenny Kravitz: A condo on Crosby street and a house in Miami.
In 2007, his first book – Emotional Rooms, The Sensual Interiors of Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz – was published by Simon and Schuster. His second book, Suspending Reality, is published by The Monacelli Press in 2009, BNO design became a partner in the custom lighting studio ABYU Lighting with artist Steven Wine who is also Benjamin’s life partner.
According to him: “Interiors should be elevated into living works of art, environments in which the intrinsic human desire for comfort and beauty are naturally aligned.”
“While the results of each project are unique, tailored to the personality of the individuals living there, our work leans toward clean lines and simple patterns, characteristics of modern design. At the same time, we adhere to the dominant sensibilities of classical architecture including the use of strong axis, as well as attention to proportion, hierarchy, and the balance of form in the placement of furnishings within a space. The marriage of modern and classical provides the opportunity to mix pieces of various periods. The result is a human scale, a walk-in sculpture, where color and form take precedence over the pedigree of any one object. Through this process, a strong concept is defined, in which rooms are built or changed to represent that concept, and space is ultimately transformed.”
See also: Benjamin Dhong – Don’t Forget to Look Up