How David Rockwell Built a Design Empire: Photo Gallery

Greg Harbaugh/81st Academy Awards
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81st Academy Awards

I prefer projects where there's a lot at stake, like the Academy Awards. We designed the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars are held, in 2001. We designed the sets for the ceremonies in 2009 and 2010. The first year, we decided to rip up the theater and reconfigure the seating. My goal was to make the experience more about the audience and the performer being together—so we had cameras mounted to the stage so you could see the actors coming up for the awards as they approached. We were striving for intimacy, and it worked.