David Rockwell

Architect; Interior Designer; Scenic Designer / United States / Rockwell Group

Long before turning his attention to architecture, David Rockwell harbored a fascination with immersive environments. Growing up in the United States and Guadalajara, Mexico, Rockwell was a child of the theater, and was often cast in community repertory productions by his mother, a vaudeville dancer and choreographer. He has brought his passion for theater and artistic eye for the color and spectacle of Mexico to his practice.

He founded Rockwell Group in 1984, a 250-person award winning, cross-disciplinary architecture and design practice based in New York City with satellite offices in Madrid and Shanghai. Inspired by theater, technology, and high-end craft, the firm creates a unique narrative for each project, ranging from restaurants, hotels, airport terminals, and hospitals, to festivals, museum exhibitions, and Broadway sets.

Projects include the TED Theater (Vancouver, BC); Chefs Club by Food & Wine (New York); W Hotels (New York, Paris, Singapore and Vieques); Nobu restaurants worldwide (New York, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Doha, Melbourne and Dubai); Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; NeueHouse (New York and Los Angeles); Gato (New York); the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center; the Imagination Playground initiative (Burling Slip, Betsy Head Park, Imagination Playground products); The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Travelle at The Langham (Chicago); set design for the 2009 and 2010 annual Academy Awards; projects for Google worldwide; the Marketplace at the JetBlue terminal at JFK International Airport; the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore; the Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco; Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel; exhibition design for the future National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA; Ames Hotel in Boston; 15 Hudson Yards and Culture Shed in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro; set design for You Can’t Take It With You, Side Show, Kinky Boots, Lucky Guy, Hairspray, Catch Me if You Can, Harvey, The Normal Heart, and A Free Man of Color; Andaz Wall Street and Andaz Maui at Wailea; “Hall of Fragments,” the entrance installation to the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale; and product collections for Jim Thompson, Maya Romanoff, Shaw Hospitality Group and The Rug Company.

Rockwell’s’s numerous honors include the 2008 National Design Award by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for outstanding achievement in Interior Design; the 2009 Pratt Legends Award; the Presidential Design Award for his renovation of the Grand Central Terminal; induction into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America and Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame; inclusion in Architectural Digest’s AD 100; three Tony Award nominations for Best Scenic Design; and four Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical. Rockwell Group was named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative design practices in their annual “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” issue.

He is the author of What If…? The Architecture and Design of David Rockwell (Metropolis Books, 2014); Spectacle, a book examining the history and public fascination with larger-than life manmade events co-written by Bruce Mau (Phaidon, 2006); and Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group (Universe, 2002)

Known for his commitment to charitable organizations, David Rockwell currently serves as Chair Emeritus of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and as a board member of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Citymeals-on-Wheels.

Rockwell received his Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University and studied at the Architectural Association in London.

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