IN THE HEART OF KAKA‘AKO, WARD VILLAGE CONTINUES TO TRANS- FORM HONOLULU’S SKYLINE. It includes such residential complexes as Ae‘o, with its tri-level Whole Foods acting as a community meeting point, and Anaha, its suspended glass-bottomed pool and gleaming sculpture by Chinese art star Zhan Wang evoking a sense of wonder in passersby. And while heritage and history of the area has always been a part of this planned community, its future seventh residential tower, Victoria Place, is where Ward Village is making a Hawai‘i sense of place a focal part of its design.
The project will sit on part of the footprint left by Ward Warehouse, now a gravel mound that looks like the leveled ruins of a heiau. The name honors Victoria Ward, the woman who once owned the 100 acres that ran from Thomas Square Park to the ocean and was a loyal friend of Queen Lili‘uokalani. She and her large family lived in a two-story wood home, called Old Plantation, that sat where the Blaisdell Concert Hall now entertains residents. And Victoria Place’s architectural renderings reveal it is a 400-foot-tall translation of vintage O‘ahu homes like Old Plantation, and the low-slung beach houses of Kahala, with their tree-shrouded expansive lawns and surfboard-filled garages.
Like all of Ward Village’s residences, Victoria Place will feature notable art. In addition, it will also showcase the timeless aesthetic of famed interior designer Adam Tihany—Victoria Place is Tihany’s first project in Hawai‘i. There will be an emphasis on island artists, and the search for works that will enhance the Victoria Place experience has already started.
Just last October, Ward Village purchased Sunrise to Sunset, an approximately eight-foot-tall bronze-and-copper tree by Satoru Abe, the elder statesman of Hawai‘i’s art world. With his work installed throughout the islands, from Waiakea High School on Hawai‘i Island to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Farrington High School on O‘ahu to Maui High School, generations of island residents have literally grown up with Abe’s evocative sculptures. He is a fitting artist to include in a project that has a reverence for old Hawai‘i.
What makes this sculpture a special acquisition is the fact that for 10 years, it has been part of Abe’s personal collection, standing on a concrete base in a lush courtyard area between his workshop and home in Honolulu’s Kaimuki neighborhood.
“Art, culture, wellness and greenscape play an integral role in how we curate our placemaking vision through- out Ward Village,” says Simon Treacy, President, Hawaii of The Howard Hughes Corporation. “We are honored to procure this magnificent piece from Satoru Abe’s private collection to showcase at our newest residence.”
Sitting in his studio amid decades of his work—as well as work by a who’s who of Hawai‘i artists such as John Koga, Lawrence Seward, Mary Mitsuda, Fred Roster, Hamilton Kobayashi, Maile Yawata and Tadashi Sato—Abe says that the tree symbolizes growth and unity in his work, a message that blooms from First Hawaiian Center to Nanakuli High School.
“At first my work was figurative,” says Abe, who still practices art in his studio at 93. “But the human figure became too personal. The tree took its place.” When asked what he thinks about his work finding a home in Ward Village, he says he is pleased—it won’t be far from where he was born on Sheridan Street, where his parents rented a house amid vegetable patches, where the Pagoda Hotel now stands. He also reveals that his large-scale metal sculptures are fabricated by Universal Manufacturers in Kalihi. Sunrise to Sunset is truly a work of Honolulu.
The tangle of bronze branches, alive with copper leaves, visually captures the concept of many forming one. And it will stand peaceful sentinel at Victoria Place’s pool house. The property will have three pools—a resort pool, and fitness pool, and the secluded pool house, a special amenity that residents will be able to completely book for their own private gatherings. It is a first for Hawai‘i residential condominium properties. “The sculpture’s organic nature is the perfect focal piece to the pool house at Victoria Place,” says Bonnie Wedemeyer, Senior Vice President, Ward Village. “This piece has lovingly been restored by the artist and it will now proudly rest in a lush courtyard where its beauty will be enjoyed by residents.”