Featured Project – Resurrecting a Demi-god at Andaz Maui at Wailea

This blog entry marks the beginning of our “Featured Projects” series.  This series reveals the stories behind our completed custom design projects, and helps you get to know all that came together to make them possible. Enjoy!

In late summer of 2013, Padilla Designs was asked to assist in reviving a weathered, deteriorated sculpture of the Hawaiian demi-god Maui, who is credited with raising the islands from the ocean floor with his legendary fish hook. Originally fabricated from steel plate by renowned American sculplor and construction executive Charles Watson (1915 – 2002), the 9 foot, 1200 pound sculpture was installed in the late 1970’s at the Stouffer Wailea Beach Resort (which became the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort in 1978 until it closed its doors in 2007).

The sculpture was taken down and prepped for disposal during the demolition of the resort to make room for the new luxury Hyatt hotel that would be built in it’s place, the Andaz Maui at Wailea.  The demi-god it was in pretty bad shape, after sitting on the oceanfront lawn of the hotel for over 30 years, with very little maintenance or care in recent years.

Kainoa Horcajo, the cultural advisor for the brand-new hotel at the time, sought to save the Maui sculpture, and approached Padilla Designs to see if we’d like to help resurrect the sculpture and enhance it for its new home at the entrance to the new resort, pending management’s approval.

The Padilla team accepted and we were honored to take part in bringing back to life a culturally significant piece of local Maui history.

We repaired the holes in the hands, legs and feet, and gave the steel structure greater stability. We adorned Maui with a new lei po’o (a lei worn at the crown of the head) made of hundreds of hand-cut copper maile leaves, and graced him with a new copper fish hook (embedded in a natural lava rock) at the end of a copper twisted rope. The entire statue was then highlighted and clear coated to bring out the color saturation.

Now it is a popular location for hotel guests’ photographs, and allows tourists to learn a little about Hawaiian culture and the demigod Maui.

The unveiling of the sculpture took place at the grand opening of the Andaz Maui at Wailea, which took place over Labor Day weekend in 2013.

At the opening, Kainoa Horcajo shared his thoughts on the completion of the Maui sculpture and the importance of the demi-god in Hawaiian culture:

“Maui the demi-god, often called Mauiakalana, Mauiakamalo, and Mauiakamai, is the progenitor of humanity in these islands.  He is the archetypal ancestor and the embodiment of positive, uplifting values that place the good of the community over the desires of the individual.  Maui slowed the sun, lifted the sky, obtained the secret of fire, and raised the islands from the ocean.  It is this deed of raising the island from the ocean that we want to honor and highlight.

Early on in the process of creating the Andaz Maui at Wailea, the general manager Michael Stephens called me about working on a project to create a fictional story about a Japanese man that sailed across the sea and landed on the beach fronting our resort in a past time.  This man, Hyato, fell in love with a Hawaiian woman and together they created a family and built a home for them and their friends.  This home they built is the Andaz Maui at Wailea.  We used the story and the elements of it to inform bits of our design, our hiring process, and many of the details of the resort.  The characters are built around Andaz values and Hawaiian values and help us better understand who we are and why we do what we do.”

Please enjoy some photos from the making of and installation of this very special sculpture:


Want to explore other installments of “Featured Projects”? Check out the entire blog series here.
Want to inquire about a new project at your home or commercial property? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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