david rockwell’s temporary bespoke theater for TED 2014
all images courtesy of rockwell group






TED, the nonprofit enthusiastic to ‘ideas worth spreading’, has invited the rockwell group to build the stage for the 30th anniversary of the conference, in vancouver. set in the vancouver convention centre, the portable and temporary theater is constructed with 600 pieces and assembled onsite for the five day festival. the intimacy of the space is realized by instilling a sense of community while having singularity in form. the individual and the collective are showcased in unison as the arena becomes a manifestation of the organization’s core principles. in addition to david rockwell’s observations, from being an attendee over the years, further inspiration for the theater was gathered from historic organizational spaces such as campfires and other non permanent commons. comprised mostly from locally harvested douglas fir wood sourced from the pacific northwest, the seating ‘bowl’ also includes a walkway along the perimeter with lattice-like platforms and handrails. 16 different seating options are present, and vary from lounge groupings, rows of benches, and beanbags. a standing room area in the back allows viewers to access personal electronic devices, without disturbing the rest of the audience. aided by an electronic cutting machine, the event construction company, nussli, fashioned the structure (along with the custom furniture and steelcase fabrication) to be easily disassembled back into 8’ x 10’ x 12’ boxes, and possibly reused for upcoming events.

the stage designed by the rockwell group provides intimacy and a defining dialogue between the speaker and audience


the well lit theater shows the varying colorful seating options


regionally sourced douglas fir from washington and oregon are exposed and support of the arena similar to a cabin


construction of the bespoke theater



timelapse video of the construction
video courtesy of rockwell group