Author Archives: Kaycee

David Rockwell Drew on Personal TedTalk Experience to Design the Next Chapter Theater for TED2014

TED celebrated its 30th anniversary by moving the annual TED Conference from Long Beach to a temporary theater installed within the Vancouver Convention Center.  Designed by David Rockwell of The Rockwell Group, The Next Chapter Theater is a portable 1,200-seat theater that was designed to enhance the speaker and audience experience, and will be reinstalled in the years ahead.

“I have spoken [at TED] and have had that experience of: your talk is influenced by how you feel in the room. The environment affects how the talk evolves,” says Rockwell.

David Rockwell’s talk at TED2002 on the memorial at Ground Zero influenced his design of The Next Chapter Theater.

The bowl of the theater is steeply raked to ensure that in a room of 1,200, the farthest distance from the speaker is a mere 80 feet, helping the speaker better see and feel the audience’s reactions and allowing audience members to immerse themselves more deeply in the talks.  By comparison, Hollywood’s Ford Amphitheater, which is lauded for its intimacy, has a 96-foot distance from the farthest seat to the stage.

“TED is a combination of theater and festival,” says Rockwell, “…we’re creating from scratch a theater designed around a talk. [It’s] like going back to the roots of theater. No one’s done a theater solely based on a talk.”

The intimate TED2014 theater was built in just under a week and was constructed from 600 modular boxes and flooring and furniture donations from Shaw Hospitality Group and Steelcase.  The carpet is from Shaw Hospitality Group’s Layered Luxe collection, which was also designed in collaboration from Rockwell.

Read more about the construction of the TED2014 Next Chapter Theater here.

Posted in Design, Hospitality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Google’s Project Glass Help Re-Design Our Life?

This week, Google was awarded patents for their newest innovation, Project Glass. These augmented-reality glasses are rumored to carry the potential to re-design how one operates their daily lives. Check out the video below, which released by Google this week, to see if you agree. And if so, how might this affect how we design the built environment?

Goggle Project Glass prototype

Posted in Design, General | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Encouraging Creative Thinking Through Design


Imagine: How Creativity Works explores where innovative thoughts originate and explains how some companies are not working to create environments where they’re more likely to occur. The book suggests that the best ideas come when you least expect them; when you are in a relaxed state. Supporting this idea, designers are incorporating spaces in workspace environments that reduce stress, such as game rooms or relaxation spaces.


In an interview with NPR, author Jonah Lehrer also says that when solving a technical problem, outsiders are often more successful than the expert in the field. Shaw Contract Group applies this thinking in product collaborations. It expands our thinking and encourages us to think differently about our designs.


Posted in Design, General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Cities are Defined by Their Noise

In this Radiolab podcast, two physicists explain a mathematical formula that reveals, with surprising accuracy, key statistics of any given city. Based on the “beat” of a city, they can define its population, average wage, crime rate, number of libraries, etc. But what this equation can’t define is what makes each location unique. It’s the details in the built environment that play a major role in making each city its own. Design sets each city apart, imparting a unique personality that can’t be explained by a mathematical equation. In this way, design is human.

Neo Derm (HK) Limited in Hong Kong

Posted in Design, General | Tagged , | 1 Comment