David Rockwell knows more than just a bit about injecting a
sense of theater into every project he designs.
The head of a noted New York-based architecture firm, Rockwell
has been the driving force behind the creation of dozens of trendy
restaurants, upscale hotels, theaters and other structures all of
which combine energy and imagination with a visual daring that
appeals to both the intellect and the heart.
Just like you might see in a Broadway play.
This dynamic, theatrical approach to design, as you might
expect, has placed Rockwell’s company squarely in the public eye.
His team of architects, designers, sculptors, artisans and
craftspeople are responsible for the dazzling Mohegan Sun casino.
They’re the creators of the Academy Awards’ new Kodak Theatre in
Hollywood, the Detroit Tigers’ new stadium, Comerica Park, and the
facility that houses the Cirque du Soleil.
At the same time, Rockwell’s passion for the theater has
resulted in the creation of the sets for several hit Broadway
shows, including the current musical, Hairspray.
So, when Rockwell suggests that kitchen and bath designers should
consider injecting a dose of theater into their work, it’s a
suggestion that should become more than simply a passing
That advice is precisely what Rockwell offered during a keynote
speech intriguingly entitled
“The Pleasure of Dreaming” at the recent Luxury Kitchen &
Bath Collection trade show in New York
He spoke, for example, about how design should, simultaneously,
seduce, comfort, entertain and stimulate.
Just like in the theater.
He spoke about obsessing over little details. . . about
collaborating with smart, talented people . . . about seeking to
create projects that genuinely connect physically and emotionally
Just like in the theater.
But Rockwell’s approach goes beyond even those innovative
notions of design.
He suggests, for example, that designers should worry less about
what a space “should” look like than about what its users are truly
He observes about how breathtaking, highly functional designs
can result when dissimilar elements collide in a way that surprises
He speaks about how design inspirations can be drawn from such
disparate, “out-of-the- box” sources as history, nature, film and
He talks about how important it is to take on projects that are
different . . . to take risks
. . . to wake up each day feeling simultaneously thrilled and
terrified about your work.
All these, of course, are very refreshing insights for kitchen
and bath designers to think about as another challenging,
stimulating New Year begins.
Intelligent, cutting-edge design will remain, in 2004, at the
very heart of the industry’s growth, and at the very forefront of
its public face. It also represents a major competitive edge for
every kitchen/bath specialist in the trade today.
It’s important to take suggestions like Rockwell’s to heart and
to the bank.
Rockwell’s approach to the art and craft of design, in fact, should
probably be incorporated, in some form or fashion, into the New
Year’s resolutions of every kitchen/bath designer in the trade.
When he suggests that kitchens and baths can literally become a
stage set that can transform everyday experience into something
very special, it’s a design notion that’s very powerful. It’s also
an idea that’s well worth remembering.
Editor’s Note: Speaking of design and creativity, Kitchen &
Bath Design News is pleased to introduce another exciting new
feature this month, with the publication of “Designer’s Notebook,”
written exclusively for K&BDN by Ellen Cheever, CMKBD,
Ms. Cheever, who is probably the most well known and respected
kitchen design authority in the nation, will write “Designer’s
Notebook” four times a year for K&BDN. The feature will
spotlight a specific, commonly faced design challenge, and offer
creative solutions for addressing it. This month’s feature on
designing multiple-height cabinet elevations is just one
Additional “Designer’s Notebook” features will be published in
April, July and October.
K&BDN is privileged to once again be associated with Ms.
Cheever both in print and through our 2004 seminar series,
“Designing for Profit,” co-produced with the NKBA.
We hope that K&BDN readers will benefit from her insights and