Suspending Reality: Interiors by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz



The first monograph of one of today's most influential interior designers, with dazzling residences designed for Sean Combs, Lenny Kravitz, and Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel.

Suspending Reality draws on over sixty of Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz's projects, designed over his firm's twenty-year history, to provide both a long-awaited peek into the creative mind of a celebrity designer, and a generous dose of advice for those inspired to decorate show-stopping rooms of their own. Lively chapters cover everything from how to evaluate an empty room or use a client's Pinterest page to generate a storyboard, to how to create a sense of procession in an entryway or hall, and specific tips for lighting with a mix of incandescent, LED, and even florescent lights.

This comprehensive book includes projects from Noriega-Ortiz's own famed all-white Manhattan apartment--in a stunning chapter on all-white rooms--to luxury spaces in the Dakota, Mark Seliger's former factory loft on New York's West Side Highway, a Paris pi d-a-terre, a modern house in Venice, California, Lenny Kravitz's Mediterranean-style mansion, and a beach house in Quogue whose kitchen cabinets are studded with Swarovski crystals. Learn the stories behind iconic designs for the Mondrian hotels around the country, inspired by Jean Cocteau and the Garden of Eden, find transformative tricks for mirrors, or simply daydream about the luminous glass and metal roof over the Like Water for Chocolate author's study and writing room.

Noriega-Ortiz explains how he captures the unusual sense of openness, light, and positivity in his projects--whether with works by Cindy Sherman and Louise Bourgeois, or furniture from West Elm--through his use of color, materials, and spatial sleight of hand. An ethereal curtain creates unexpected mystery, a bold splash of color invigorates the senses, and a seat upholstered in a tactile material like Mongolian lamb beckons to be touched. Each space is tempered by a whimsical element meant to pull us out of everyday life and to inject a moment of fantasy and delight, to defy expectations and create the kind of comfort that suspends reality.

Product Details

Monacelli Press
Publish Date
November 18, 2014
9.4 X 1.1 X 11.3 inches | 3.5 pounds
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About the Author

Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz completed his first master's degree in architecture at the University of Puerto Rico in 1982. He later earned a second master's degree in archi­tecture and urban design from Columbia University. He began 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. Benjamin has been named one of New York Spaces' Top 50 designers and one of the top 10 designers working today by House Beautiful. His work has been featured in Elle Decor, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, Interior Design, Metropolitan Home, New York Magazine, the New York Times, Southern Accents, Veranda, and elsewhere.


"We like the drama Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz dabbles in but adore the whimsical touches and spatial sleight of hand he plays so well. Talented design writer and editor Linda O'Keeffe lends her talents to give the designer's backstories and insights a voice with an appealing wit and intimacy."
--360West Magazine