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Geoff Cook

Published on 27 May 2020

A business strategist who talks all things design, impacting our culture one brand at a time.

The Arbuckle Mansion is a historic home located in Brooklyn's best under-the-radar neighbourhood, Clinton Hill. Named after the original owner, John Arbuckle, who we can thank for brilliantly initiating the concept of selling roasted coffee beans. However, we have no doubt that it’s current owners, Geoff Cook and Cindy McBennett, are sure to leave as much of a mark on this world as Mr.Arbuckle.

Geoff, a true family man and partner at Base Design, guides companies in their overarching business strategy, brand strategy, and marketing. As his bio on the Base website says “Don’t be mediocre” is proof that he clearly practices what he preaches. Now with locations in New York, Brussels, Geneva and Melbourne, Base Design continues to grow by helping brands to be culturally relevant. Their resume includes high profile clients such as Apple, The Prince Estate and The New York Times to name a few.

Cindy is a New York Attorney who graduated cum laude from Princeton University and earned her law degree from Columbia Law School. They welcomed us into their charming home with open arms (pre-Covid) and handled our enthusiasm to shoot them along with their son, Ford (checkered shirt) and his best friend, in this historic mansion whilst enjoying their Canyon sofa and Tim table.

Q: Your home is stunning. How long have you been here? Tell us your favorite thing about your home.

A: Thank you! We bought our place in Brooklyn in 2007 at the outset of the financial crisis when Clinton Hill was still very much in transition. The house is known as the Arbuckle mansion after John Arbuckle, the coffee magnate of the late 1800's. The stunning details of our apartment (i.e. 3" thick, mahogany pocket doors, curved glass windows, 16' ceilings) reflect someone of his stature and could never be replicated today.

Q: You have our Canyon sofa and Tim table in your living room. How has your family been enjoying these pieces so far?

A: With quarantining in full effect, we do Friday night pizza and a movie. This is when we really notice the length of the Canyon sofa! It is so long that three people can curl up and still have room to spare in between each of us. A bit of the same with the table... it is so broad we can fit three plates, a pizza, wine and a pitcher of water without even having to move the books and vases off of it.

Q: You can speak 4 other languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Which one did you learn first and which one was the hardest to master?

A: I started French at a young age so it was the more challenging of the four. What they say about the romance languages is true, such that my second language, Italian, came fairly easily, and Portuguese easier still. And at that point, I basically taught myself Spanish by reading the posters on the subway. Of the four, I use French the most today, given that I have offices in both Brussels and Geneva.

Q: You opened Base Design's New York office over twenty years ago and worked in fashion prior to that. Clearly you can speak all things design as well! What has been the inspiration for designing your home?

A: We really started with specific pieces to set the tone. For example, we bought a one of a kind Olé Wanscher rosewood dining table from the 50's which drove a very neutral overall palette. To that, we've added bursts of color either through artwork, specific furnishings, or objects from a range of travels, including Cape Town and Bahia in particular. We have also started a sort of tradition of buying art from street artists in the countries we travel to. Remembering places through paintings and drawings is a nice counterpoint to all of one's digital documentation.

Q: If you weren't involved in design, what would your chosen career be?

A: In addition to Base, I am very much looking at starting a restomod (= custom car) company in a very niche (and until now largely untouched) segment of that world. I also have a big idea for what the future of hospitality looks like. There's still so much left to do!