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5月 9, 2016

The Surfjack’s Creative Design Community

From a design studio to a ceramics guild, these are the locals that helped shaped this swell little spot in Waikiki.

HONOLULU, HAWAII (May 9, 2016) – The design-led artist-driven Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is home to over 25+ collaborators whose pieces are a collective curated by the design studio, the Vanguard Theory. Completing the public spaces of the property, Matthew Tapia, Brendan “The Blob” Monroe, Mark Chai, Andrew Mau, Wooden Wave and Hawaii Potter’s Guild, are just a couple of the local artists who have brought the laid-back spirit of mid-century aloha to life at the Surfjack Hotel.

The Vanguard Theory 

Credited for pulling together the original 25 collaborators whose works are featured throughout the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, the Vanguard Theory, founded by Michelle Jaime and Judy Andrade is a multi-disciplinary Oahu-based design studio. With a focus on collaborative art, product development and interior design, every project allows Jaime and Andrade to exchange ideas, explore new resources, and create a larger platform for emerging artists and designers. The Surfjack’s interior inspiration stems from the year the hotel was built, 1959 and is designed for the avid traveler; travelers who have been to Hawaii before and are looking for something new to experience; or visitors who haven’t been to Hawaii but seek unique experiences not found in a guide book.

“Our concept was to create a hotel that feels handmade. The public spaces are intended to pay homage to the era when the hotel was built, layered with inspiration from the bones of the building’s structure and encompassing modern elements.”

The Vanguard Theory seeks to balance creativity and feasibility. From the surfboard fin art installation at check-in to the guestroom headboards, the Vanguard Theory lives up to their popular hashtag #designlikeyoumeanit.

Matthew Tapia

Quickly becoming the most Instagrammable pool in Hawaii, the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s “Wish you were here” nostalgic mural is a result of Hawaii-born Matthew Tapia’s talented and self-taught calligraphic handwriting. As one of the artists chosen to contribute to the property’s public spaces, Tapia’s career began with a simple stroke of luck. When clothing company Ecko Unltd. happened upon Tapia’s work, it was the first step towards his budding art career with Tapia soon relocating to New York in order to design for the brand. Since moving back to the Islands, Tapia has expanded and varied his portfolio from consulting on small branding projects to creating designs for companies such as Nike, Sixpack and Huf. Tapia’s greatest influence is derived from the carefree retro typefaces found on hotel, building, and business signage during the 50s and 60s in Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu.

“Everybody who came to Hawaii just wanted to forget their worries, so the message ‘Wish you were here’ goes back to that time but also brings it forward to right now where you can share it over social media and tell the people you love, ‘I wish you were here with me.’”

Brendan “The Blob” Monroe 

Upon swimming up to the Surfjack’s Cabanas, guests are surrounded by a black-and-white tryptic mural reflecting the ripples left over from the Swim Club. Painted by Oakland-based illustrator Brendan “The Blob” Monroe, the mural is inspired by the flow of water.

“I was focusing on the motion and activity in a body of quickly moving fluid. Recently I’ve been experimenting with different ways of drawing surface textures in a stark black and white graphic palette. These are the two primary things that came together to make this piece.”

Monroe’s creations blend aspects of abstract fantasy and concrete science. His interpretations of the world are mostly rooted in science then executed through his mediums of painting and sculpting. As one of the chosen muralists by the Vanguard Theory, Monroe enjoys artist collaborations as they help him build a well-rounded practice that’s rewarding and inspiring, a perfect addition to complete the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s public spaces. Monroe’s works have been featured in galleries worldwide from Richard Heller Galley in Santa Monica, CA. to the Galerie L. J. in Paris and have been highlighted in national publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker and Nature.

Mark Chai 

Oahu-born and raised, Mark Chai is an award-winning artist of Hawaiian-Chinese descent who designed the incandescent lighting fixtures into flowing curves illuminating the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s signature restaurant, Mahina & Sun’s. The lights are constructed by interlocking precision hand-cut pieces of 2-ply wood veneer of maple, mahogany or cherry, or white PVC plastic.

“I like creating art the viewer is able to interact with. What better way than to turn something on.”

Chai combines his formal training in art with a lifelong passion for aesthetic design. Named by HONOLULU magazine as one of Hawaii’s hottest designers, Chai’s works have been displayed at the Hawaii State Art Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art.

Andrew Mau 

Founder of the Honolulu-based design studio, MAU-HOUSE, Andrew Mau has always been a major contributor to the market of contemporary furniture and design. Working as both designer and consultant, he’s featured amongst the many artists at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.

Gracing the walls of Mahina & Sun’s is Mau’s signature shaka print and each of the guestroom bathrooms are outfitted with his custom-made Moana Vanity Mirrors.

“The shaka is such an iconic symbol of Aloha and represents something more unique to Hawaii than a hibiscus or coconut. So it seemed fitting to do a bold, mid-century size graphic wallpaper that would give the property a unique feel.”

Select designs of Mau’s including his lost-wax cast Shaka Bottle Opener, debossed Leather Pineapple Coasters and unique sets of hand-printed stationary are sold at Olive & Oliver boutique in the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. As a Honolulu native, Mau is continuously inspired by Hawaii’s unique culture and history.

Wooden Wave

Locally-based husband and wife team Matthew and Roxanne Ortiz, also known as Wooden Wave, specialize in whimsical paintings, murals and illustrations. Guests riding the elevator to their rooms are welcomed by the couple’s creative mural illustrating the Surfjack, imagined as a treehouse hotel.

“We referenced the Surfjack’s mid-century modern style by adding retro-architectural details like breeze blocks found throughout the [actual] property.”

Wooden Wave’s art captivates its viewer with an inventive quality woven into concepts of development and sustainability, their love for surfing and a deep connection to nature.

“Given the Surfjack’s location in Waikiki, we thought it would be fun to paint some waves and surfboards in the treehouse, too.”

The treehouse mural also includes solar panels, a rooftop garden and a special pineapple-shaped ohana house, set amongst a swellular backdrop.

Hawaii Potter’s Guild Seven potters from Oahu organization, Hawaii Potter’s Guild, were commissioned to design the unique, hand-crafted ceramic bowls served at Mahina & Sun’s. The Hawaii Potter’s Guild is a nonprofit organization committed to the support and development of ceramic arts and crafts. Founded in 1967, the Guild became an active center to “experience clay” for the community.

Similar to the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s collaborative community, Hawaii Potter’s Guild’s purpose is “to provide workshop facilities and classes for Hawaii residents so that they will be able to learn the techniques of ceramics and work together in a free atmosphere while encouraging a spirit of cooperativeness and community within the operation.”


About The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club Located at 412 Lewers Street in the heart of Waikiki, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club offers laid-back accommodations, leading chef Ed Kenney’s Mahina & Sun’s restaurant, Olive & Oliver’s coffee boutique, and the Swim Club’s poolside style. For more details, visit www.surfjackjp.wpengine.com, call (808) 923-8882, or connect with us @thesurfjack.


Theresa van Greunen, PR Director, (808) 202-5756, press@surfjackjp.wpengine.com