David Rockwell (born 1956) is an American architect and designer. He is the founder and President of Rockwell Group, a 250-person award winning, cross-disciplinary architecture and design practice based in New York City with satellite offices in Madrid and Shanghai.
Early life and education
David grew up in the theater—his mother, a vaudeville dancer and choreographer, often cast him in community repertory productions. But when he was 12, David’s family had a dramatic scene change, moving from Deal, New Jersey to Guadalajara, Mexico. There he discovered a whole new world of vibrant marketplaces, street life, and public spaces. After training in architecture at Syracuse University and the Architectural Association in London, David brought his passion for theater and artistic eye for the color and spectacle of Mexico to his profession.
David founded Rockwell Group in 1984. Over the past 30 years, Rockwell Group has carved out a unique role encompassing multiple ideas, design styles, clients and project types. Inspired by theater, technology, and high-end craft, the firm creates a unique narrative for each project, ranging from restaurants, hotels, airport terminals, and hospitals, to festivals, museum exhibitions, and Broadway sets. A strong commitment to explore and experiment resulted in the formation of the LAB at Rockwell Group, a design innovation studio that blends technology, architecture, strategy, and storytelling.
Known for his commitment to charitable organizations, David currently serves as Chair Emeritus of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and as a board member of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and New York Restoration Project. David also conceived and developed Imagination Playground pro-bono, a play space designed to encourage children to work together to create their own worlds of play. After five years of research on children and play, the first site-specific location opened in collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation at Burling Slip in Manhattan in 2010. Following the success of the first location, Rockwell Group developed portable, scalable models that can transform smaller, unused areas into dynamic play spaces. These playgrounds have since enlivened public parks, schools, facilities, and children's museums across the globe. In addition, through the U.N.I.C.E.F. P.L.A.Y. Project, in partnership with Disney, the blocks have been distributed to more than 13,000 children in Bangladesh and Haiti.
His numerous honors include the 2016 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for the musical She Loves Me and six Tony Award nominations for Best Scenic Design, the AIA New York Chapter President's Award; the 2008 National Design Award by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for outstanding achievement in Interior Design; the 2009 Pratt Legends Award; the Presidential Design Award for his renovation of the Grand Central Terminal; induction into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America and Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame; inclusion in Architectural Digest’s AD 100; and the 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical for She Loves Me and five Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical. Rockwell Group was named by Fast Company in 2008, 2014 and 2015 as one of the most innovative design practices in their annual World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies issue. David is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.  
Select design projects
- Chefs Club by Food & Wine, New York
- Gordon Ramsay’s Maze (London)
- Maialino, New York
- Nobu restaurants worldwide, including New York, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Doha, Melbourne and Dubai
- Aloft hotels (Starwood Hotels & Resorts)
- Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
- Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
- Nobu Hotel Eden Roc Miami Beach
- W Hotels New York, Union Square, Vieques, Paris, Singapore, and Madrid
- Hall of Fragments, the entrance installation to the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale
- The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco
- The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta
- Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center, Lincoln Center
- The Shed in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro 
- 15 Hudson Yards in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro
- TED Theater, Vancouver
- Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards ceremony (Los Angeles)
- The Marketplace at the JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport
- NeueHouse, New York, Los Angeles, and London
- Shinola, New York
- Imagination Playground
- The New York EDITION
- Rockwell Unscripted for Knoll
- Union Square Cafe
- The Rocky Horror Show
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- All Shook Up
- Legally Blonde
- Team America: World Police (2004, film)
- The 81st Annual Academy Awards (2009)
- The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010)
- The Normal Heart
- Catch Me If You Can
- Kinky Boots
- Lucky Guy
- You Can't Take It with You
- Side Show
- On The Twentieth Century
- She Loves Me
- Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group, Universe, a division of Rizzoli Books, 2002.
- David Rockwell with Bruce Mau, Spectacle, Phaidon Press, 2006. Examines the history and public fascination with larger-than-life man-made events.
- What If...?: The Architecture and Design of David Rockwell, Metropolis Books, 2014.
- Mun-Delsalle, Y-Jean (February 26, 2014). "David Rockwell Celebrates The 30th Anniversary Of His Architecture And Design Firm". Forbes.
Born in 1956 in Chicago, Rockwell grew up in New Jersey
- "David Rockwell". Designers & Books.
- "Chefs Club". rockwellgroup.com.
- "Maialino". rockwellgroup.com.
- "Aloft". rockwellgroup.com.
- "Andaz Maui at Wailea". rockwellgroup.com.
- "Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Open December 2010", Cosmopolitan Website Archived July 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Molvar, Kari (October 7, 2014). "Nobu Matsuhisa and David Rockwell on the Art of Constructing a Restaurant". The New York Times.
- "The Walt Disney Family Museum". rockwellgroup.com.
- "Center for Civil and Human Rights". rockwellgroup.com.
- "Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center". rockwellgroup.com.
- Ferro, Shaunacy (March 18, 2014). "How David Rockwell Reinvented The Theater For The TED Era". Co.Design.
- Finkel, Jori (July 28, 2014). "NeueHouse Chooses Historic Hollywood Site". The New York Times.
- "Shinola". rockwellgroup.com.
- Ackman, Dan (August 5, 2008). "The Architect-Designer Focuses on Child's Play". The Wall Street Journal.
- "David Rockwell to Design Sets for 81st Academy Awards", A.M.P.A.S., 2008.
- Goodman, Wendy (October 2, 2014). "On the Set of You Can't Take It With You With Designer David Rockwell". New York.
- Marks, Peter (November 17, 2014). "A big, beautiful "Side Show" on Broadway". Washington Post.
- "On the Twentieth Century". Roundabout Theatre Company.
- What If...?: The Architecture and Design of David Rockwell. Metropolis Books. December 31, 2014. ISBN 978-1938922565.