Aug 29, 2016
Mad About Mod in Honolulu
When it comes to decorating your new home, you're given a blank slate. But there's something about this blank slate that fills us with optimism. It's a chance to start anew, to do better, to create something special for yourself.
There are very few opportunities in life where you're allowed this kind of unfettered access to creativity; after all, the ability to sculpt your own personal world built on your own personal taste doesn't come knocking often. Decorating your new home, however, is one of those blank slates.
But where to begin? If you've developed a taste for simple-yet-elegant lines in your furniture, and can appreciate the organic curves on an oak credenza, you may want to consider going mod. Midcentury mod to be specific. Across the country midcentury design–which, as the name suggests typically spans from the 1950s into the early '70s–is back in vogue, thanks to the help of period shows like Mad Men. Names like Eames, Knoll, and Ossipoff are uttered in reverence among enthusiasts in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London. But perhaps as much as any big city in the world, Honolulu holds a very special connection to modernism, making it a natural fit for your new home.
Partly due to the building boom that followed statehood in 1958, our city is awash in midcentury design. Whether it's government buildings like the State Capitol and the Board of Water Supply Building downtown, the iconic IBM Building at Ward Village, or residential gems like the Liljestrand House, remnants of the era abound here in Honolulu. As Architectural Digest put it: "With modernist design in full swing when the island earned statehood in 1959, the capital city of Honolulu is an architectural time capsule, thanks to a coterie of West Coast visionaries like Vladimir Ossipoff and John Carl Warnecke."
Now that we've established the very natural connection the city has to modernism and its current resurgence, where can you find the right kind of period pieces in Honolulu? If you're not willing to scour Craigslist and hit the Garage Sale circuit, you're in for a challenge. However, there is an easier way to score authentic, refurbished pieces. His name is John Reyno and through his Instagram account, @Hawaii_Modern and pop-up shops, you'll find yourself drooling over the likes of expertly restored credenzas, chairs, lamps and so much more.
"I really fell in love and started collecting midcentury furniture about 15 years ago. On the mainland, it's been really popular for some time, but it's taken longer for it to catch on in Hawaii. Which is funny because this city is so intertwined with the period," Reyno says. "Yes, it's a lot of work sourcing, purchasing, refurbishing and selling these items, but it's also a lot of fun. Each one of my pieces is more than just beautifully designed furniture, but these are original pieces that really have a story to tell. To me, that's one of my favorite things about collecting and selling; we're keeping these historical pieces, these stories, alive."
You now know where to look for mid-century finds, but you may still need some help putting it all together and filling in the gaps. If you're looking for an expert's eye on sourcing and displaying your new midcentury goods, look no further than Fishcake, located a stone's throw away from your new home. From their ultra hip storefront on Kamani Street, Fishcake not only offers their own collection of mid-century items, but they also offer interior design services inspired by the modernism movement as well.
"For me, midcentury design is simple, elegant and timeless. I'm a bit nostalgic for it and love seeing that it's embraced once again in the islands. It's truly one of the few styles that has passed through our town that makes sense for Hawaii's climate and lifestyle," says Brooke Puder, an interior designer at Fishcake. "We're a full service design firm that specializes in both commercial and residential projects and love working on mid-century-inspired projects. Design from this period seems to work so naturally in Hawaii. If you're interested in mid-century modern and are looking for some help designing your space, please give us a call or stop by Fishcake. We'd love to chat."
share this article
more stories to discover
2014 Ward Village Foundation Recipients
Feb 25, 2015
Ward Village Foundation grants its first set of recipients
Where Surf, Yoga & Jiu-Jitsu Collide
Jan 06, 2017
Surf shop, yoga studio & jiu-jitsu gym, Kekoa Collective is unlike anything you'll find in Honolulu.