Benjamin Cruz has always been drawn to clean, cool, contemporary design.
“It is essential for me to understand the client’s needs and aspirations for their space. The most important goal is for a client to enter a room and immediately feel visually pleased. If that is the first reaction, I’ve done my job well.”
The former advertising executive gained recognition for his work when a former colleague called on him to design his vacation home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Since that time, he has established a signature look: comfortable contemporary with warm tones and textures. Benjamin began his design career in Los Angeles. After graduating from UCLA, he helped design, sell and market an innovative high-end furniture collection. A native of Southern California, he moved to New York in 1991 to pursue a career in advertising, but never gave up on his passion for interior design. In 2006, he finally began his interior design career full time with projects in Manhattan and East Hampton.
In the spirit of keeping our community connected, we wanted to share Benjamin Cruz Designs‘ story. Those of you who may have met him or who haven’t had the pleasure will find his insights inspiring. Benjamin took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss influences, lessons learned, and his favorite parts of NYC!
How did you get into the world of interior design?
I quit my job in advertising in 2006. A few years after that, I decorated our apartment and our home in East Hampton. I got so many compliments that I thought, “I may have a talent here!” I then randomly met an interior designer at a party. We got to talking and went into business together (that only lasted ten months and is a whole other story!). But it got my foot in the door and the rest I learned as I went along. That was 2009.
What did you learn from your advertising career that you still use in your work or life today?
Organization! In advertising there were systems in place for workflow that I still use every day.
How did Benjamin Cruz Designs evolve?
I feel I have become more confident in my work. Early in my career I did a lot of listening, and while I still do, I open my mouth a lot more now!
Tell us about a favorite moment in your career?
When I was asked to design a fifth project for a client. They have multiple homes, so to be asked to work with them each time is such a compliment. Plus this client is incredible to work with!
Who are some of your biggest design influences?
Waldo Fernandez exposed me to the mixing of textures and finishes to create a design scheme. I have always admired his talent and often look to him for inspiration. Others include Jean-Louis Deniot, David Hicks, Andree Putman, and Axel Vervoordt.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Travel! My partner and I have always enjoyed travelling everywhere from city vacations to beach resorts. I am inspired all the time and love to take in the local architecture and style wherever I go.
Favorite NYC moment or place?
Central Park. Always loved it, always will.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to do what you do?
Expose yourself to as many new things as possible. Inspiration can come from somewhere that you would never expect. Then translate that into your own design style.
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