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The award-winning mural was a kākou effort of KS’ Commercial Real Estate, Hoʻokahua, and Facilities Development and Support teams. They included Sr. Capital Program Manager Sheldon Char, Cultural Consultant Manu Boyd, Director of Planning and Development Cathy Camp and Sr. Asset Manager Haunani Fujimoto.

KS earns beautification award for cultural design on commercial property

Nov. 9, 2016

Part of cultivating a strong Native Hawaiian identity for Kamehameha Schools includes embracing culture in the stewardship of its real estate assets. This project is among many that pay homage to the Hawaiian culture through meaningful design.

Kamehameha Schools recently received the Kalihi Beautification Award for creating a culturally inspired mural for the Wismettac Asian Foods building on Nimitz Highway and Waiakamilo Road. The award was given by the Kalihi Business Association.

The concept and design development of the mural was a kākou effort involving KS’ Commercial Real Estate, Hoʻokahua, and Facilities Development and Support teams. KS Director of Planning and Development Cathy Camp led the project and design components and KS Cultural Consultant Manu Boyd envisioned the design. KS then worked with local artist Mark N. Brown and Honolulu architectural firm Next Design to make the cultural concept a reality.

“The Commercial Real Estate team is excited to continue our efforts and collaboration with other divisions,” says Cathy Camp. “As a group, we want to ensure that cultural elements are incorporated into commercial projects which embrace Native Hawaiian culture. This design is a visual interpretation of the elements that represent the Kapālama area and its neighboring lands into a flow of modern artwork.”

The design of the mural is laid out as a 180-degree view of Kapālama to Diamond Head from the harbor. Each element represents a particular area, focusing on the Kapālama and Kalihi area. The main features are architectural metal cuts that protrude off the wall with patterns continuing around the building.

Cultural key elements of the design include:

  • Main feature – Kapālama/Kalihi ridge line
  • Kukui tree – Prominent in the Koʻolau Mountain range. The pattern mimics the profile behind the ridge line.
  • Kou tree – Kou was the harbor name and surrounded the village between Nuʻuanu Avenue and Alakea Street. The pattern represents the harbor fronting the ridge.
  • Diamond Head – Design elements include the iconic view of Diamond Head.
  • Aku (type of fish) – Featured in legends of the Fishponds of Kapālama

Next Design is the same company that helped with cultural signage components at the KS-owned Kapālama Center  which earned a Kūlia I Ka Nuʻu Award for incorporating Hawaiian language and culture throughout its retail complex. The award was presented by the Kuini Piʻolani Hawaiian Civic Club and ‘Ahahui ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi.

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

The award-winning mural addresses Goal 3 of SP2020 which calls for shared customs, values and behaviors that strengthen KS’ identity as a Native Hawaiian organization. It also supports Action 6 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-2017 relating to adopting cultural principles.

Nani Kapālama – Beautiful Kapālama

Koʻolau’s silvery-green kukui groves shimmer in the sunlight.

Māmala harbor’s kou trees boast brilliant orange blossoms.

The sapphire sea teems with schools of aku (bonito).

To the south, Lēʻahi – Diamond Head – stands majestically at Waikīkī.

So beautiful is Kapālama and the scenic surrounding districts of Oʻahu.

By Manu Boyd
Cultural Consultant
KS Ho‘okahua Cultural Vibrancy Group

goal 3, ksorg, hawaiian culture, kalihi, native hawaiian identity, 16-17action6, commercial real estate, art, kapalama

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