At Floor Coverings International Monmouth County, we love to inspire and inform. That’s why we introduced our Designer Influencer Interview Series, to give you a peek at the latest trends in design work.
A couple weeks ago, we sat down with PA and NJ Architect Benita Cooper to discuss her passion for nonprofit work. You can read Part 1 of our interview HERE. Now, we bring you Part 2 of our interview with Benita, which focuses on her other her other passion – her work as the owner and principal architect at Benita Cooper Design. Benita is the designer behind the much anticipated Rival Bros. Flagship Coffee Shop, which is opening very soon in Center City, Philadelphia. You can follow Benita on Facebook and Pinterest.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I am Benita Cooper, principal architect and owner of Benita Cooper Design. Based in Philadelphia PA and Haddonfield NJ, we are a full-service firm that offers the complete range of architectural and interior design and construction management services. Most of our projects are medium to larger residences, and small to medium commercial spaces. I have 17 years of professional experience, hold an MArch from Harvard University, and a BA in architecture and a BA in art from University of Washington. I studied abroad in Mexico, Italy and Chile, and grew up in Hong Kong. I am humbled to have received awards from national institutions such as American Institute of Architects and American Architectural Foundation, and have taught at University of Washington and University of Pennsylvania. My work has been published in Harvard Design Magazine, Architectural Record and Society of American Registered Architects Magazine. Besides founding and running my firm, I founded and run the nonprofit organization, The Best Day of My Life So Far, to reduce older adult isolation through storytelling. My husband and I are parents to two awesome boys, who inspire me to work hard, have fun and be kind every single day.
How would you describe your design style?
Fresh, inviting, soulful. It’s really important to me that the layouts I design flow efficiently and suit modern lifestyles, but that the materials and finishes have a soul and age well over time. I start by designing simple and refined spaces, then find moments in the design to integrate a few salvaged elements or some special surprises to help my clients express who they are.
Where do you find most of your inspiration?
Ordinary structures built right take my breath away – like an unadorned, weathered farmhouse, or an unnamed bridge over a small lake. When something is built right, it is durable and has a soul. The skill and care of its maker shows through and it stands the test of time.
What is your approach to residential projects?
No job is too small for us–we love meeting and working with new people, and are always happy to provide basic paint and furniture recommendations and DIY suggestions for homeowners with a few fun, interactive design sessions. We can stop right there, or can take the process all the way to detailing, sourcing, documentation, bidding, construction, staging. Clients are also welcome to pick a halfway point that suits their comfort level, timeline, and budget. I try to make the process as fun as possible for my clients, and take all the stress out of their hands. When THEIR spaces are done, I want them to be able to say to visitors that they played a big part in creating them. I believe my collaborative and empowering approach is the reason why clients keep returning to me over the years – almost all of my jobs are via word of mouth and new clients are usually friends of former or repeat clients.
What is your approach to commercial projects and who are some of your clients?
With commercial projects, my goal is always to make my clients’ businesses more successful, and to use the dollars they invest in design and construction to create a quantifiable return for their businesses. I start each project by learning everything about how the business operates behinds the scenes, what the customer experience is currently like, and what the core principles of the brand are. I then propose and refine a design that strategically improves company branding, attract the target customer, and optimize the customer experience. Our specialty is designing for the hospitality industry – from condo lobbies, penthouses and amenities, to boutique hotels, to cafes and restaurants. My clients include: Intercontinental Hotels Group, Hotel Indigo, Rival Bros. Coffee Roasters, Pure Fare Cafe and Catering, Noble Restaurant, Mosaic Development, Madison Parke Property Management, Goldoller Real Estate, The Condo Shop, The Sporting Club, Benjamin’s Desk Coworking Offices, University of Pennsylvania Dining Services. Some of my more exciting work in progress is actually confidential – I am working on a few projects for high-profile developers and business owners, which I can’t discuss publicly until my clients’ official marketing campaigns launch. Stay tuned via my social media pages or contact me via email to stay in the loop!
Thank you so much for taking the time to hear about my work! To chat more and see what my firm can do for you, feel free to drop me a note at Benita@benitacooperdesign.com.
Select work by Benita Cooper Design, including before and after transformations: