How David Rockwell Built a Design Empire: Photo Gallery

Scott Frances
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Nobu Fifty Seven

In 1994, I designed Nobu, Vong, and Monkey Bar—each wildly different, in rapid succession. I'm not interested in what a space should look like but what meaning it should convey. Nobu Matsuhisa is a major Japanese chef from the countryside, so I got artisan craftsmen to build the light fixtures and furniture to create a rustic feel. It was the first three-star restaurant with no tablecloths. People saw it as radical, but I saw it as essential to telling Nobu's story.