Long before turning his attention to architecture, David Rockwell, FAIA, harbored a fascination with immersive environments. Growing up in the United States and Guadalajara, Mexico, David 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.
Every summer, The National Building Museum in Washington D.C. hosts an open competition to outfit the museum’s great hall with an immersive installation, which aims to create an experience encapsulating themes of summer. For the 2019 season, LAB at Rockwell Group created ‘Lawn,’ a concept celebrating the many identities of a lawn as an iconic communal space. A vast installation of a large sloping green space was built within the National Building Museum’s Great Hall, conceived to unite strangers through collective quintessential memories and rituals of summer.
David Rockwell of Rockwell Group (New York) won a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for the musical She Loves Me! David’s set for the Roundabout Theater’s Broadway revival centers on a jewel-box parfumerie that mirrors the emotions of the narrative as it dances to the score.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights tells the story and brings to life the American civil rights movement and introduces past and current human rights issues across the globe. The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection gallery exhibits King’s personal papers and writings. Together they form the basis for an ongoing dialogue on international human rights.
With Michael Jordan, restaurateurs Peter and Penny Glazier opened a new restaurant overlooking the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal. A series of screen walls define different areas and mediate between the scale of the terminal and that of the restaurant. A tall curved, wood wall, crowned with a dramatically lit metal leaf cornice, is inspired by the Beaux Arts design of the terminal, and separates the large dining room from a smaller private dining area.
The stage is set up to resemble a run-down, neglected old-time movie palace, a tribute to "B" movies of the fifties, complete with dilapidated theater seats, an art deco chandelier and a richly sculpted proscenium arch. The proscenium splits apart, collapses, and tracks off left and right; the movie seats flip upside down and disappear, and the scrim is pulled down to reveal a distorted metal grid wall in front of the onstage band.
Inspired by retro-modernism, but without overt reference, Pod is an all white space painted with colored lights. The restaurant features pods (individual spaces), from deuce pods along the dining perimeter, to pods for six to ten people that have internally illuminated color changing table tops. Some design features that make Pod so unique are the high gloss white epoxy walls, acoustic foam ceilings, creamy concrete floor, dipped rubber chairs, and a thirty foot red rubber lounge barge.