Cosentino CTop Designers

David Rockwell

Designer

Image of David Rockwell in David Rockwell - Cosentino
The diner

For David Rockwell a hotel, a restaurant, a cultural center… “are sites of possibilities, like the theater where environments can be controlled, manipu-lated and, ultimately, designed”.

Educated as an architect but creator by vocation, Andrew Rockwell founded Rockwell Group in New York in 1984. Over the last 34 years, he has created and been part of amazing projects. These projects include Broadway sets, designing restaurants, and creating hotel products, playgrounds and workspaces.

The Diner is one of the most iconic places, conceived as the ultimate gathering space at Salone, taking guests on an experien-tial road trip through iconic elements of American diner culture.

How did you approach this project? Why a diner? Do you consider ‘The Diner’ an icon for American culture?

We wanted to celebrate American design and manufacturing ingenuity, and trans-port visitors seamlessly through different vignettes that drew on the firm’s exper-tise in set design and hospitality. Far from nostalgic, diners have always been a celebration of social experiences, which is something that forms the bedrock of our firm’s work.

Vintage diners are the pillars of authentic America, and represent our unique identity in the world. In this rapidly evolving world, the diner remains a central, social eating space that is available to everyone. The Diner is the link between the past and the future.

The Diner is divided into East Coast, West Coast and Midwest. Do you consider culture and design likewise divided in the US?

Good, contextual design is happening everywhere in the U.S. today. But The Diner at Salone was, in part, of a celebra-tion of the history of American design and a time—the middle of the 20th century—when regions of the country were more soloed and less homogenized. We took certain vernacular ideas from those regions and used them as a basis for inspiration in our three Diner spaces. The variations showed how diners were universal and also local.

Do you like working with chefs? Do you like going into the kitchen your-self? What would be the ideal meal to prepare on a Silestone worktop?

{{I love working with chefs. My relationship with chef Nobu Matsuhisa over the last 20 years has resulted in more than 30 restau-rants (and now hotels) and we continue to evolve a design language that keeps the brand fresh and timely and allows us to continue to push the boundaries of our work.

As for the ideal meal to prepare on a Silestone worktop, I try to eat healthy and I always love preparing fresh fish and vegetables. My signature dish, which my kids always request, is a grilled portobello mushroom and fontina quesadilla with roasted garlic and truffle oil.

“The vintage DINER are the pillars of Authentic america”

How do you choose the materials for your projects?

We’re deeply interested in using materials as part of our storytelling. In general, we love authentic, expressive and highly tactile materials that retain the presence of the maker’s hand. In every project, we explore materiality and are constantly trying to challenge ourselves with new and unique materials inherent to a project’s backstory.

The quality of surfaces, the tactility of fabrics, and the mood established by color and pattern creates a language.

Did you find within Cosentino inno-vative materials, Silestone quartz surfaces and Dekton ultra-compact surfaces, the design and performance you were looking for?

Absolutely! Cosentino was one of our first partners in the project and they were incredible collaborators throughout the entire design process. The grand scale of the monumental Silestone quartz bar combined with its functionality and beauty added an element of theatricality.

The Dekton ultra-compact surfaces in the booths were the perfect spot to gather and enjoy a grilled cheese. Both materials really brought a sense of movement and performance to The Diner. The play of the various lighting settings on the surfaces helped convey the space’s transformation from day to night.

What’s next? Which new projects are you working on?

Rockwell Group is currently working15 Hudson Yards and The Shed in collabo-ration with Diller Scofidio+Renfro, Nobu hotels in Barcelona and Atlanta, Warner Music Group’s headquarters in Los Angeles, and several W Hotels across the globe. We also have a few restaurants and hotels based in the New York.