Environmental graphics and installations designed for the stairwell and elevator lobbies as part of the remodeling of a 5-story, 54-unit complex located in Honolulu, Hawai’i. 680 Ala Moana is a 2013 finalist for the Best Adaptive Reuse award from the National Association of Home Builders.

Kamehameha School approached us with the idea of creating installs that were “positive, family-friendly, and sensitive to the neighborhood of Kaka’ako and Hawai’i.” We first spent a week on location gathering measurements, photos, making friends with locals, and immersing ourselves in the history of Kaka’ako and Hawai’i.

The “Aloha Defined” concept began to materialize after briefly meeting Prime, a local artist of Kaka’ako, who generously shared a mixed bag of Hawaiian history, story and spirit. Prime told us of a Hawai’ian state law titled the “Aloha Spirit Law,” whose primary purpose is to remind public officials in Hawai’i of the values they should exercise while in service of the people. It turned out that the generosity Prime shared with us strangers in the course of 10 minutes was a consistent courtesy we received throughout the rest of our stay in Oahu.

Upon further discussion and research into the concept and definitions of Aloha and the Aloha Spirit law, we felt this was a perfect concept not only because our stay was full of kind acquaintances, but because the words of Pilahi Paki, co-author of the Aloha Spirit law, rang to us as true and largely unknown to Hawai’ians and mainlanders alike. We passionately believed Pilahi Paki’s words to describe “Aloha” articulate universal values of human compassion, which inspired us despite being strangers to Hawai’i.

Our concept for the “Aloha Defined” murals is based on Aunty Pilahi Paki’s recitation, and ancestral definition, of what Aloha means. These murals were created in honor of Aunty Pilahi Paki, and are intended to be a memorial to aloha spirit for locals and visitors alike.

Client: Kamehameha Schools
Location: Kaka’ako, Hawaii
Measurments: Variable
Medium: Neon lights, Aerosol
Team: Jeffrey Gress (production); Tony Martinez (project manager); Jordan Stark (design, direction); Jasper Wong (project management, production)