First Look: First the Art, Then the Fridge

The Mondrian Soho’s new party space and garden, the Greenhouse, soft-opened last night for a Fashion Week party organized by VMAN magazine. But before the space’s grand unveiling, I stole a few moments with Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, the interior designer of the Morgans Hotel Group’s newest hotel (9 Crosby St., nr. Howard St.; 212-389-1000), who was still putting finishing touches on everything, including the exterior. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Benjamin wanted the hotel’s arching façade to flow into that of the building next door. Photo: Wendy Goodman

It’s always amazing to see how much work can be done in the final hours before a space’s unveiling. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The bar area with shelving to be filled with gray clay pots from Ben Wolf and lots of herbs. “The whole bar is like a potting shed,” says Benjamin. Photo: Wendy Goodman

John Derian has designed ceramic tiles for the stair risers decorated with different birds. Photo: Wendy Goodman

In addition to the myriad chandeliers to be hung in the main room, a monumental glass sculpture by artist Beth Lipman, commissioned by Benjamin, is to be installed this week. “I learned from John Saladino that you should always buy the art first for a project,” he says. “There will always be money at the end of a project to buy a refrigerator.” Photo: Wendy Goodman

First Look: First the Art, Then the Fridge