The Art of Design

Hawaii, Lanai, U.S.A.

The contemporary décor of the beachside Four Seasons Resort Lanai reflects the tones and textures of Lanai and adds a Hawaiian aesthetic, featuring rich colours from the earth, sand and brush as well as thoughtfully curated artwork from across Polynesia, Micronesia and Hawaii.  

Worn only by those of chiefly status, a late 19th-early 20th century wasekaseka sperm whale tooth necklace can be seen on display in the Lower Lobby along with a mid-20th century billum feather Bag often worn as a dance ornament during celebrations.  Additional pieces include a vintage Hawaiian ivory pikake blossom lei as well as 19th century Micronesian Gilbert Island shark tooth swords.

The authentic Hawaiian touches can be felt throughout the guest rooms as well, with a number of custom designed pieces. The bed throw is a reproduction of a 20th century kapa/tapa/masi or barkcloth, a design from the island of Fiji - a glimpse at the original can be seen at the Honolulu Museum of Art. The wall coverings are all original woodcut designs by Hawaiian artist Dietrich Varez, enlarged and installed as custom artisan wall coverings – one example is Maui’s Kite depicting the demigod who restrained the sun to provide longer days in summer. Additional pieces include reproductions of pen and ink drawings by Don Blanding dating from the 1930s titled Catching Octopus, Volcano Rage and Two People Swimming Underwater, reflecting aspects of Hawaiian life and legends.  

Los Angeles-based Dora De Larios, one of America’s leading clay artists, was commissioned to create a set of large-scale architectural sculptures for the Resort embodying this Hawaiian aesthetic.  De Larios’s design, now lining the hotel’s corridors, encompasses four 3-by-15-foot (.9 x 4.6 metre) triptychs depicting vivid scenes of the ocean, hula dancers, fishermen and rowers.  The 81-year old ceramicist and university professior is renowned for both her private and public commissions, including a set of dinnerware for The White House and a mural for Nagoya, Japan.