Long before turning his attention to architecture, David Rockwell harbored a fascination with immersive environments. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois and Deal, New Jersey, and Guadalajara, Mexico, Rockwell was a child of the theater – his mother worked as a vaudeville dancer and choreographer and cast him in community repertory productions. Rockwell brought his passion for theater and an eye for the color and spectacle of Mexico to his architecture training at Syracuse University where he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree and to his studies at the Architectural Association in London. These formative influences continue to have a strong impact on his practice.
He founded Rockwell Group in 1984, an award winning, cross-disciplinary architecture and design practice, based in New York City with a satellite office in Madrid. The firm focuses on a diverse array of projects that range from hotels to hospitals, restaurants to airport terminals and Broadway set designs to consumer products.
Rockwell’s monograph, Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group, was published by Universe, a division of Rizzoli Books in 2002. Spectacle by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau – a book examining the history and public fascination with larger-than-life manmade events – was published by Phaidon Press in October 2006.
In May 2010 Rockwell was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. He was also honored with the 2009 Pratt Legends Award, the 2008 National Design Award by Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt for outstanding achievement in Interior Design, a lifetime achievement award from Interiors magazine, an induction in Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame and the Presidential Design Award for his work for the Grand Central Terminal renovation. Rockwell serves as Chairman of the Board of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), and as a board member of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Citymeals-on-Wheels.