David Rockwell does dramatic design, from the sleek interiors of Nobu and the W Hotels to the exuberant Mohegan Sun Casino, from the pop-tastic scenery for the Broadway musical Hairspray to the sublimely hilarious high-modern sets for Team America: World Police.
He won the Presidential Design Award for his extraordinary work renovating New York's Grand Central Station, and his firm, the Rockwell Group, is designing the interior for the JetBlue terminal at New York's JFK Airport. Rockwell has published several books on his architectural and design process, including Pleasure and Spectacle -- two qualities that abound in his work.
But Rockwell is no mere drama junkie. His designs for a temporary viewing platform at Ground Zero, constructed in the days after 9/11, demonstrate his ability to tune in to the requirements of each space. Meanwhile, a recent project takes the playfulness inherent in his work to its logical conclusion: the Imagination Playground is a free-play space for kids. The first playground is being built at Burling Slip in Manhattan, and plans are afoot to bring the concept nationwide in partnership with KaBOOM! The Burling Slip Imagination Playground is scheduled to open July of 2010.
With Chee Pearlman, Rockwell was co-curator of the TED2012 session "The Design Studio."