A look at David Rockwell’s iconic Set design for Oscar’s this year

This year's Oscar set design was designed and architectured by Tony Award-winning designer David Rockwell. David Rockwell is an American architect and designer. He is the founder and president of Rockwell Group that is a 250-person cross-disciplinary architecture and design practice based in New York City with satellite offices in Madrid and Los Angeles.

Looking at this year's Oscar scenes, they were iconic and worth remembering due to the diverse nomination list and Oscar winnings but also after Covid international award show that was located in the beautiful Los Angeles’s historic Union Station that was booked for the glamorous and glitzy filled 93rd Oscar hosting venue bot outside and inside.


The Union Station is the main railway station in Los Angeles, California, and the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. With its large multistoried design feature, we got to see a lot of differently curated and devised locations for different events in the hosting. The unique thing about this set location was the outside and inside the utilisation of spaces that were both differently and beautifully created in a communal centric design. 


SO WHAT WAS THE THEME AND MOTIVATION FOR DAVID ROCKWELL’S OSCAR SET DESIGN?

 

The theme for this year was around creating an intimate space for the main stage and hall of the ceremony, along with auxiliary venues for before and post-show festivities on the grounds of LA Union Station.  Completed in 1939 by the father-son architect duo, John and Donald Parkinson, the Union train station features a distinctive blend of Spanish colonial design, Art Deco and Mission Revival styles For decades, it has functioned as a gateway into the city for innumerable hopeful performers chasing their dreams of breaking into Hollywood and forging a career in the film industry.

The very first Oscar ceremony was held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. Rockwell Group wanted to emulate the flower-filled room and dinner party atmosphere in its design for the 93rd Academy Awards.

The overall mission was to create a must needed intimate and specially curated space for the guests, keeping covid restrictions in mind. It was a communal gathering sort of setting with elements of stages coming from above the centre surrounding the brim of the centre hall like an auditorium. The stage itself was made in a way to reflect light and sound due to the inability of the location interiors to do so itself. 

Let's see more about the interiors and architectural details of the set below:


AESTHETICS OF THE SPACE

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The Oscar set was itself divided into four separate parts which were left and right patios, the station's ticket concourse and the waiting room. The location was a challenging experience for Rockwell’s team due to the lack of lighting and sound. Therefore an easy fix of hanging globes of light was fixated that was sufficient enough to put the room in a fun and elegant repertoire. 

The space was a wonderful amalgamation of an old train station and the modem deco of the cinema with the lovely wooden sky roofing and rustic settings of the interiors of the place, the interiors were to reflect and give a sense of a bistro or a casual cafe. There were clearly defined elements of old and new that concerted the space with a lively affair


MATERIALS UTILISED TO CREATE THE SET


The set design had been designed by a rich amalgamation of wood, metallic splashes in texture, and old and vintage wooden combination with a rustic palette to go along with the location look which is reminiscing of the nouveau architecture. Technology had been utilised to fix the gap between wider space and sound system mechanisms. 

Overall the set design has been set over the iconic and glittering old Hollywood setting but in the modern art deco style. 


INTERIOR SET DESIGN


The interiors were decidedly inspired to pay homage to the surreal and beautiful early oscar scenes during the 20th century when the Oscars were first hosted at the most famous hotels. The gatherings used to take place in small communal dining table sets that were intimate and the overall interiors were beautifully designed with flowers and candlestands. 

Rockwell's set design was custom made to design such everlasting and ever so fine communal gathering with personalised low seating cage tables and chairs that were placed at multiple levels and heights and spread all across outdoors and indoors. Since the stage was set in blue lights and crystallised chandeliers, the blue velvet upholstery was truly stylish. The tables had oscar inspired lamps that illuminated through the oscar award shape in black. 


THE WONDERFUL LAWN FOR THE OUTSIDE 

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The outsides were, where the east and west wings of the station are located, were transformed into a floral garden. The summer vibes were sophisticatedly played in the pre and post-party shows. The gardens were inspired by a painting made by Maxfield Parrish in 1918 called THE GARDEN OF ALLAH. It was to be depicted by a landscape of heaven with a lush green lawn with white pleated shaped tables and floating floral arrangement of roses, orchids, poppies and carnations. 


SPECTACULAR BLUE FOR THE MAIN AWARDS

 

Rockwell's set design for the Oscars gained its popularity with the different and LED led approach of this year's Oscars. The interiors were lit with blue lights, covering the centre stage and floating LED screens were visible in the multi-layered seating arrangements. 

Platinum covered geometric shapes were used as wonderful dividers between the audiences and the decor flourished. The stage was paired with a massive blue velvet curtain with golden crowning to complete the look. 

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