Impact of visual performance

A visual exploration into the grandeur, beauty and power of “shared experiences” across the globe. A dynamic visual essay that celebrates public performance worldwide.

In Spectacle, the architect David Rockwell, in collaboration with designer Bruce Mau, explores the allure of larger-than-life events that take place around the globe. From the running of the bulls in Pamplonato the Holi Festival in India to deafening - and dangerous - NASCAR races, Spectacle considers what it is about these "shared, live experiences" that transforms not only the way we see the world, but also how we connect with each other.Illustrated with over 200 color photographs, the dynamic visual essay highlights the power of real-time, real-space events in today's highly mediated world.
The book features a collection of photographs and interviews with award-winning authors, producers, directors, and performers. These contributors have documented, participated in, or produced large events and bring a fascinating behind-the-scenes and in front-of-the footlights perspective on "spectacles" today. Interviews include: Muhammad Ali, champion boxer; Kurt Anderson, novelist and essayist; Simon Doonan, author and creative director;Dave Hickey, art critic; Quincy Jones, legendary music and event producer; Guy Lalibert,founder of Cirque du Soleil; Julie Taymor, film and theater director; Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, architects; John Waters, filmmaker;and Steve Wynn, Las Vegas mega-developer, with a concluding essay by critic Herbert Muschamp.
The book offers readers an unprecedented tour of over 60 far-flung and fleeting, beautiful and bizarre man made events around the world. An in-depth selection of "spectacles" are presented thematically in six chapters that focus on various characteristics and unique cultural attributes that connect or distinguish each of the events.
offers statistics and sidebars on the history of featured events,providing layers of information that add depth and context. Further, a reference section called "Getting There" contains a monthly calendar listing more global spectacles throughout the year, maps and insider tips you should know before you go."An empty stadium, an open field or a busy urban thoroughfare, each - when transformed by spectacle - undergoes an alchemic process," says David Rockwell. "A group of strangers fuses into an instant community. As an architect I strive to make environments where people connect. This is rooted in vivid recollections of my childhood--from amateur theater on the Jersey shore to the open air markets of Guadalajara Mexico--that have made me deeply aware of the power of shared experience. By physically attending an event, you declare yourself; you become something greater than you."From the glitzy appeal of Las Vegas to the historical reenactment of the Calcio Storico in Florence, Spectacle presents an extraordinary collection of images and text that convey the palpable buzz, sheer beauty and unusual fascination of public performance around the globe.If you are an armchair traveler or spontaneous jet setter, David Rockwell and Bruce Mau offer a mesmerizing, thought-provoking journey into the world of spectacle that is bound to encourage not only conversation but also participation.


David Rockwell is the founder and CEO of Rockwell Group in New York, an internationally acclaimed architecture, planning, and design firm specializing in restaurant, cultural, educational, theatre and film design.

Bruce Mau is the Chairman and Creative Directer of Bruce Mau Design, which has gained international recognition for innovative multidisciplinary work. He is the author of Life Style and Massive Change, both published by Phaidon, and designed and conceived the award-winning book S, M, L, XL with Rem Koolhaas.

Spectacle, by David Rockwell and Bruce Mau PHAIDON PRESS • 256 PAGES


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