Capturing the spirit of Hawaii’s surfing pioneer and legendary waterman, Duke Kahanamoku, was our first challenge. Not only did Duke need to be honored, but it had to be done in a more modern way – in other words, Old Hawaii seen with new eyes. It went without saying that this had to be done on time and on budget.
We first challenged the client, who already had a reputation for restaurants with a sense of place, to rethink the brand’s existing look and feel. Another restaurant in the chain already existed on Waikiki Beach and had been highly successful for many years. But a fresh approach was needed for this one.
Both designer and client decided it should be a space in which Duke himself would have liked to spend time. It needed to have the feel of an old-time island residence. The first thing we did was design an entry of ohia wood, once used extensively in Hawaii. The native wood was also used to partition dining banquettes around the restaurant’s perimeter. The modern glass ball lighting fixtures and an authentic koa canoe combine new and old beach elements. The LED ceiling lights, a concept using technology and green design standards, were a new step for this restaurant chain. The home-like ambience was furthered by the use of welcoming materials such as wood, stone and tile, coupled with rich blue hues reflecting the restaurant’s oceanfront location on Maui.