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New York, NY (April 26, 2021) – David Rockwell, Founder and President of Rockwell Group, an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm based in New York, reprised his role as production designer for this year’s 93rd Oscars®. For the event, which took place on April 25, 2021, Rockwell transformed L.A.’s Union Station into an indoor/outdoor supper club for nominees and their guests, recalling both the intimacy and understated elegance of the Academy’s very first ceremonies. Rockwell has designed sets for the Oscars twice previously – the 81st and 82nd annual ceremonies – both times at the Rockwell Group-designed Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood.

Rockwell made over four separate spaces for the event including Union Station’s Ticket Concourse and Waiting Room, as well is its North and South Patios. The design concept mixed rich woods, gleaming metallics, cool, saturated colors, and sumptuous textures, all working together to complement Union Station’s existing architectural details and evoke the aspirational aesthetic long associated with Hollywood. Integrated technology added modern and flexible touches throughout.

“It was an honor to design the Oscars ceremony in such a critical year for cultural production,” said David Rockwell, Founder and President of Rockwell Group. “People crave shared experiences, especially now, so we tried to create a celebration of the type of communal arts we’ve been missing. The Oscar ceremony is always intimate and grand at the same time, more so this year with Union Station’s soaring details and historic details. We conceived a room within a room that made circulation intuitive, enveloped the audience in an intimate embrace, and also created a space in which the action happen everywhere, not just on stage.”

Nominees and their guests entered the ceremony, inside of the Ticket Concourse, from the house left along a raised promenade. Platinum-finished geometric screens served to create a room-within-a-room, defining the seating area and enveloping the audience in an intimate embrace. These screens also served as a portrait gallery, featuring a series of live picture frames celebrating the nominees and honoring Oscars history. Throughout the ceremony, these frames also delivered live content.

Because of the building’s landmarked status, nothing could be installed or affixed and all hanging elements had to be ground-supported. To accommodate this restriction, much of the lighting and sound equipment was localized. Custom-designed, Oscar-inspired table lamps provided much of the necessary lighting, and each table had its own speaker.

The amphitheater-style seating area was populated by custom café tables and chairs, as well as a series of custom-built woodgrain banquettes in blue velvet. This seating surrounded a simple thrust stage made of rich, inlaid wood in a circular, multi-tiered layout. Flanking the stage were a pair of LED screens attached to platinum-finished dividers, using the same geometric motif as the screens placed throughout the seating area and entry promenade.  A giant, velvet drape in a rich blue tone, complete with oversized matching tassels, hung directly behind the stage.

Union Station’s North Patio served as a backdrop for pre- and post-show celebration broadcast specials.  Multi-tiered decking in teak woodgrain was installed on top of all grassed areas, and accommodated a DJ booth, working bars, and multiple lounge areas. Renowned international luxury furniture brand, Roche Bobois, collaborated with Rockwell Group to furnish the outdoor lounge seating areas, utilizing its Mah Jong lounge seating upholstered in Missoni fabric and its Cute Cut cocktail tables. The perimeters of the raised platforms were outlined by drink rails. Existing trees were festooned with baskets of flowers and more than 100 lanterns, creating a hanging garden inspired by the floral imagery of Maxfield Parrish.

On ground level, a series of large, wooden Award silhouettes bordered the patio, each filled with its own floral display.  High-top tables were peppered throughout, and a blue carpeted walkway cut through the center of the courtyard.

The outdoor space was open to nominees and guests throughout the ceremony, and strategically placed monitors displayed the live feed.

Images can be found HERE, credits can be found in the link.


David Rockwell, FAIA, is the founder and President of Rockwell Group, an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm based in New York with satellite offices in Los Angeles and Madrid that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project. Merging theater, performance and architecture, the firm’s work includes hospitality, luxury residential, airport terminals, cultural institutions, set design, products, exhibitions, and festivals.

Notable work includes Nobu Hotels and restaurants worldwide; Equinox Hotel (New York); Warner Music Group headquarters (Los Angeles, CA); Moxy Hotels (Times Square, Chelsea, East Village and Miami); W Hotels worldwide; Union Square Cafe and Daily Provisions (New York); NeueHouse (New York and Los Angeles); The Shed (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lead Architect and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect); TED Theater (Vancouver); the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center; the restoration of the Hayes Theater (New York); and set designs for more than 60 productions, both on and off-Broadway, including Kiss Me Kate, She Loves Me, Kinky Boots, and Hairspray.

Current work includes the set design for the 2021 Oscars, the Perelman, a new arts center in New York (Restaurant and Lobby Interior Architect); Hopkins Student Center for Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore); Illuminarium Experience, a brand new experiential entertainment concept in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Miami; The Grand Los Angeles; Climate Change Arena (Seattle); Smithsonian FUTURES, an exhibition spotlighting the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary; W Nashville; the pro bono DineOut NYC initiative; and Civilian Hotel (New York).  David Rockwell’s newest book, DRAMA, developed in collaboration with designer Bruce Mau will be published by Phaidon in May 2021.

Honors include a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for She Loves Me; the AIANY President’s Award; the National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for outstanding achievement in Interior Design; the Pratt Legends Award; and the Presidential Design Award.

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