Opening at Salone del Mobile 2018, The Diner will celebrate American design now through design, food, and activations
April 17–22, 2018, Via Ferrante Aporti 15, Milan
In honor of its 25th anniversary, leading American design magazine Surface will unveil The Diner, in collaboration with architect David Rockwell, during the Salone del Mobile in Milan this April. The Diner will be a celebration of American design, presented as an unforgettable contemporary interpretation of the archetypal roadside restaurant.
The installation will immerse visitors in four distinct environments. Drawing on an expertise in hospitality and set design, Rockwell and the LAB at Rockwell Group are using the rituals of the diner as reference and departure points, linking the past and the future of an essential American icon. The entrance, inspired by the Airstream, will feature fresh coffee and homestyle pie. The journey will continue with an East Coast-style luncheonette, where visitors can enjoy milkshakes and other classic diner fare. A branded version of grilled cheese sandwiches will be served in the third segment of the space, a room that pays tribute to diners of the Midwest. The experience will conclude with a laid-back West Coast lounge concept.
“We are thrilled to be working with Surface on The Diner,” says Rockwell, founder and president of Rockwell Group. “Diners are uniquely American and enduring in our cultural iconography. Our goal is to capture the restaurant’s inherently optimistic and democratic spirit that draws people of all backgrounds to create a welcoming, lively, engaging, and fun environment.” To round out The Diner, Surface is tapping additional emerging and established U.S.-based designers and firms, including the renowned design studio 2×4, which is creating the project’s visual identity, from custom fonts and signage to menus. “Outside of the U.S.,” says Susan Sellers, creative director and partner at 2×4, “many would say one of
America’s distinctive qualities is optimism—an endless appetite for openness, possibility, and potential. I would say that American identity is currently challenged. We wanted to capture that paradox in The Diner’s identity.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with David Rockwell and 2×4,” says Surface editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey. “Bringing this powerhouse team to the international stage during the world’s largest design and furniture fair is the perfect way to celebrate Surface’s 25th anniversary.”
The concept, strategy, and execution of The Diner is being done in partnership with strategic consultancy firms Jacob Peres Office and Allenby Concept House. A collaboration with Ventura Projects, the installation will be part of the Ventura Centrale exhibition at warehouses underneath Milan’s Central Station. Open for seven consecutive days, The Diner will be a place to eat, relax, meet old friends and make new ones, and recharge. During the week, it will host a daytime talk series and in the evenings it will transform into a nightclub with late-night performances and parties.
Monday April 16 3pm – 7pm
Opening Dates and hours:
Tuesday April 17 to Sunday April 22, 10 a.m.— 8 p.m.
About Surface Magazine
Surface is the definitive voice of global design. For 25 years, the publication has produced authoritative and thought-provoking stories on architecture, art, design, fashion, and culture. Surface offers a clean aesthetic and incisive writing with an emphasis on process and craftsmanship. Surface is a compass for today’s creative leaders and a barometer for what’s new and what’s next.
About Rockwell Group
Based in downtown New York with a satellite office in Madrid, Rockwell Group specializes in a wide array of work from luxury hospitality, cultural, and healthcare projects, to educational, product, and set design. Founded in 1984 by David Rockwell, Rockwell Group takes a cross-disciplinary approach to its inventive array of immersive projects. A strong commitment to explore and experiment resulted in the formation of the LAB at Rockwell Group, a design innovation studio that blends interactive technology, architecture, strategy, and storytelling. Crafting a unique and individual narrative concept for each project is fundamental to Rockwell Group’s successful design approach. From the big picture to the last detail, the story informs and drives the design.
Founded in 1994 by Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgianna Stout, 2×4 is a global design consultancy headquartered in New York City with satellite studios in Beijing and Madrid. The focus of the studio’s work is brand strategy for cultural and commercial clients who value the power of design. 2×4 identifies and clarifies core institutional
values and creates innovative, experiential, participatory and visually-dynamic ways to engage key audiences worldwide. 2×4’s intellectual and creative conviction is that thoughtful design can make an essential contribution to every level of cultural discourse.
About Ventura Projects
Ventura Projects are curated exhibition areas that present the latest developments at the forefront of contemporary design. Each Ventura Project involves carefully selected exhibitions that also feature temporary initiatives, special projects and/or creative hospitality concepts. Whether as a design district or integrated exhibition, Ventura Projects stands out with its focus on content, creativity and experimentation. Its dynamic curated format balances renowned designers with emerging talents, independent studios with established brands, design academies, galleries and institutions. Conceptual experiments are juxtaposed with professional presentations. In this way,
visitors are challenged to view design from different perspectives, and participants are connected with others working beyond their own domain. In line with the widening scope of design, the event’s open approach gives participants flexibility to present their work in a way that best suits their practice.
About Jacob Peres Office
Jacob Peres Office is a strategic communications and design consultancy with an international client base. Jacob Peres Office provides strategic international communications support, design direction and brand development. Their approach is tailored to each client, using incisive strategic insight and cross-fertilisation of ideas and knowledge to achieve its clients’ commercial, marketing and communication goals.
About Allenby Concept House
Allenby concept house was built on the belief that advertising is an art form and that brands can become amazing media content providers. 21st century marketing requires simultaneous orchestration of tools and infrastructures: storytelling, internet, media, field, creativity, content and branding. Allenby Concept House specializes in combining all those fields, bringing the most creative professionals out there in order to ensure the best results. Allenby is a one stop shop: it delivers all the services and solutions, starting at the building of the concept and ending with its production and implementation.
The Diner Bar Rendering – Courtesy of Rockwell Group