Perhaps you are familiar with his stage sets for Hairspray… Or, you noticed his designs for the 2009 and 2010 Academy Awards… Or, you’ve ventured to any number of the restaurants his designs have helped make a destination: Nobu, Bar Americain, or Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York…

David Rockwell, the 2008 National Design Award winner for Interior Design, is celebrated for the theatricality, playfulness, and confidence of his diverse design projects. I find that his designs create an emotional experience in space; they affect users, whether it is a cantilevered bar overlooking a dramatic double-height suede-paneled wall, or a processional space orchestrated by a catwalk for arriving and departing guests. So much of Rockwell’s work is about forming and molding space to heighten its impact on a user. His wallcoverings for Maya Romanoff in Cooper-Hewitt’s collection are no different.

Wallpaper: Blanket/Zigzag. Designed by David Rockwell, manufactured by Maya Romanoff. 2009. Gift of Maya Romanoff. 2009-37-1.

Imagine a single wall charged with the mottled orange texture wrought from Stitched Vertical, a hand-dyed, hand-stitched paper that resembles weathered leather. Or, the coziness imbued in a room swathed in Blanket/Zigzag, a felt wallcovering made of a wool blend with contrasting stitched stripes. Both wallcoverings, celebrations of the beauty of craftsmanship in their own right, would dramatically define a space. Their rich materiality becomes something you want to touch. And the energy of their stitched lines adds a dynamism to the designs. The irregularly spaced, vertical hand-stitched rows of Stitched produce a rhythm and vigor on the orange paper, whereas Blanket/Zigzag’s regularly spaced, vertical zigzag stitches of olive green and lighter gray are tailored, adding a tactility to the experience of the wallcovering. Such small gestures, even in consumer products, demonstrate Rockwell’s attention to detail and his dedication to creating immersive environments (even if he can help you do it for yourself).

Stitched in situ. (Image credit: Unknown from http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/07/0717_idea_winners/83.htm)

Related Objects:
2009-37-1

National Design Week is October 13–21, 2012.

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