I do, however, have my sporting event of choice: the Oscars . Gorgeous gowns... handsome men... hairstyles far more interesting that any old up-do... oh, and there are some movies involved, too. It is a night of fantasy and frippery which feeds that inner girly-girl in me on an annual basis. But this year there's an added thrill for me: Michelangelo's design will be under foot all evening.
Architect David Rockwell designed the sets for this year's event. He also designed the Kodak Theater where the event is held, so he knows the space well. In fact, he has designed several other theaters including Cirque du Soleil's venue at Walt Disney World . But the architects who design the buildings rarely get to use the stages they lovingly craft. Not so for David Rockwell. While he is the first architect to design the sets for the Oscars, he is not a novice. On Broadway, he designed the sets for "Hairspray ," and he has been tapped to create sets for other theater productions including "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and the sets for the movie "Team America."
the Oscars , Rockwell has reimagined the Kodak Theater not as a grand thespian palace, but as an intimate nightclub. "We created a spatial and architectural solution for the 2009 Oscars that is based on storytelling, spectacle, and community," Rockwell explained. "We wanted to use a surprising and dramatic integration of technology and movement to celebrate the awards ceremony, which has become one of the greatest shared rituals of our time." But underneath the feet of the winners and the presenters, the floor pattern he chose is a replica of the paving pattern Michelangelo designed for the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome -- an appropriate choice given his stated goal.
The Piazza del Campidoglio sits high atop the Capitoline Hill. When they say "all Roads lead to Rome" -- well, they actually mean that all roads lead to the Capitoline Hill. Literally. In ancient Rome, the Capitoline Hill was the center and most revered spot in all of the Roman Empire. By the 1500s, however, it was a muddy, disheveled hilltop that was impassable when it rained. Pope Paul III approached Michelangelo and asked him to redesign the hilltop which he did creating a grand and impressive piazza.
Oscars . True, with 100,000 Swarovski crystals, 25 LED screens, a bandstand and orchestra, not to mention Hugh Jackman and any number of other stars, the stage at the Kodak Theater will be far glitzier than an average day on the Piazza del Campidoglio. But the Piazza del Campidoglio has seen its fair share of grandeur embodied in emperors, princes, popes, and politicians. These days you are more likely to see brides, grooms, and their wedding parties as Rome’s City Hall, located on the Piazza, is one of just two places in Rome to have a civil wedding ceremony.
the Oscars this year, we will be hovering about our televisions in what David Rockwell hopes is an intimate and celebratory experience – gathered together in a metaphorical piazza.