Through a design lens, vintage Hawaii expresses itself in tropical prints in midcentury hues like aqua and salmon. That timeless look is exactly what Official Mfg. Co. of Portland, Oregon, strove for when making over the brand and palette at The Laylow in Honolulu's Waikiki Beach neighborhood, steps from the ocean.
"We really wanted a laid-back, Hawaiian vibe and we chose furniture, lighting, colors, art and materials accordingly," says Fritz Mesenbrink, Official Mfg. Co's principal and creative director.
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"Midcentury-inspired design meets present-day Hawaiian charm" is how Mesenbrink describes the look. "We wanted to hearken back to the optimism of midcentury design — a moment when many cultures recovered from the aftermath of World War II. In particular, this moment culminated in Hawaii, as American and Japanese culture built a new relationship, influenced by the ancient native culture."
The design team used every little detail, including ukuleles and custom monstera-print wallpaper in the rooms, to tell the Laylow story.
The rooms combine rattan furnishings with pops of bold color and fun wallpapers.
Design icons like Paul McCobb, George Nelson, and the Eames Studio influenced Mesenbrink heavily in The Laylow's design.
"We populated public spaces with curated items including vintage Arthur Umanoff bar stools, Marmoreal countertops, a 100-foot-long wall of terra-cotta breezeblocks by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina and custom hand-painted wallpaper murals by Michael Paulus," says Mesenbrink. The design team's own installations include a collection of over 70 vintage dashboard "hula nodders" behind the reception desk and a sign for the Hideout Bar made of modified cocktail umbrellas.
A small but expertly curated gift shop sells wares from local designers.
Mesenbrink says he looked for "furniture you could sink into and stay in for a while."