David Rockwell’s Oscar Set

23 February 2009 at 11:35 pm 3 comments


Several months ago when I interviewed David Rockwell he had just found out he had been chosen by producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon to design the sets for this year’s Oscar telecast.  He couldn’t reveal any details; so I had to tune in last night to see what he had done. I was not disappointed.  Rockwell is no novice to set design, the acclaimed designer has done sets for Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first architect to design the sets, he took his inspiration from Busby Berkeley movies and Berkeley’s legendary kaleidoscopic patterns as well as the Piazza del Campidoglio (The curved floral pattern on the stage was a direct reference. ) Thanks to Linda from Surroundings for the correction!



Wanting the event to be more party than formal gathering, Rockwell used state of the art technology to create tensions and energy between the audience and the performers. “We created a spatial and architectural solution for the 2009 Oscars that is based on storytelling, spectacle, and community,” explained David Rockwell.  “We wanted to use a surprising and dramatic integration of technology and movement to celebrate the awards ceremony, which has become one of the greatest shared rituals of our time.” There were five LED screens that transformed and reconfigured, as well as 20 other still LED screens. An elaborate bandstand was placed onstage with a full orchestra that had the capability to move up and down the stage, and then break apart and disappear throughout the night.

The piece de resistance was the new proscenium curtain Rockwell created  of approximately 100,000 Swarovski crystals in a variety of shapes and sizes, The crystal curtain stands  an awe inspiring 60 feet tall and 100 feet wide and weighing in at three tons and being comprised of over 6,000 one-meter hand crafted strands. swarovski-and-rockwell-take-center-stage-large

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3 Comments Add your own

  • […] DesignBiz Rx Weblog put an intriguing blog post on David Rockwellâ […]

  • 2. Linda Merrill from ::Surroundings::  |  24 February 2009 at 9:50 am

    Those sets were fantastic. I loved his references to Busby Berkeley and I think on television they also mentioned a Michaelangelo designed piazza floor in Italy that he was referring to.

    And of course the crystals.

  • 3. draperydiva  |  24 February 2009 at 10:06 am

    You’re right Linda, He did mention the floor as the reference . I don’t know what I enjoyed more- the set and its 4-5 sets of drapery or the gowns.


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February 2009

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