What If...? Architecture and Design of David Rockwell

  • Project Projects conceptualized and designed What If…?, a monograph detailing the career of architect and designer David Rockwell. The book catalogues thirty years of his firm’s interdisciplinary output, supplemented by critical essays. Project Projects worked closely with Rockwell Group and the book’s editors over a two-year period to reinvent the traditional design monograph, in structure as well as form.
    In keeping with Rockwell’s boundary-breaking practice, the book bears an overall content strategy that subverts standard disciplinary lines. It is structured around a series of “what if” questions (for example: “What if light was your primary material?”) that serve as open-ended speculative frameworks for considering a variety of Rockwell projects ranging from playgrounds and theatrical set designs to exhibitions and public works. The question-based structure references the fundamentally inquisitive, exploratory foundations of Rockwell’s practice; in What If…?, it becomes the narrative through-line that distinctively weaves his multifaceted output together.
    As an object, the book underscores Rockwell’s signature mix of imagination, exploration, and sophistication. While the book’s cover is a sleek, stark white slab that introduces the deceptive simplicity of Rockwell’s questions, the work’s playfulness and sense of wonder are expressed in the book’s colorful book block edges, each of which are printed with a vibrant four-color silkscreen design — an experimental process that found its first expression in this volume. In this manner, the book itself becomes a theatrical performance of the very ideas it presents.