Rockwell Group

Encompassing sweeping conceptual dares, specially developed materials, theatrical lighting effects and moody palettes, any project — whether residential or hospitality — is a production when David Rockwell is on the scene.

All photos by Michael Kleinberg

Remember the cosseting lobby lounge of a grand hotel and how much fun it used to be? Pre-pandemic, the Rockwell Group made just such a place for the Moxy hotel in New York’s East Village, and it still serves up joy to spare, whether you’ve checked in lately or not. Like the best kind of living room, it is designed around flexible pieces — here, custom seating by Stellar Works and light tables by Hay and DWR — that can be moved among conversation groups. Vintage chairs evoke the offerings in local shops, and a pendant light by Atelier de Troupe and sconces from Brendan Ravenhill energize like klieg lights in a club. The carpet, Rockwell says, mirrors the changing “urban archeology” of the neighborhood: “Pops of neon and pastels give way to a darker, moodier color palette, evoking a transition in time.”

“The design concept for Moxy East Village celebrates the patina of New York — the well-loved layers from different eras that co-exist in every neighborhood or even within a single building, evoking memories as well as daydreams.”

Design philosophy?

“At its core, design is an exhilarating journey that should have a destination with impact, with a narrative full of discovery and surprise along the way. I care about how our designs are experienced, not theorized — how they are felt ‘on the ground.’ Beauty and comfort are part of that narrative, arrived at through research, craft and experimentation. Design can be physically comforting, of course — like the perfect chair — but almost more important these days, it can be an emotional balm. To achieve that, we have to think carefully about scale, materiality, accessibility and how spaces allow us to connect to each other.”

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