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hawaii state capitol

the hawaii state capitol building in honolulu is home to the senate, the house of representatives, and the governor's office. it sits across the street from iolani palace, exemplifying the sharp contrast between the independent kingdom of hawaii and the US state of hawaii. it's a dramatic example of hawaiian international architecture- combining the design philosophies of bauhaus, with indigenous building materials and traditional hawaiian symbolism.

it's an interesting meld of architectural influences. bauhaus can often be cold and austere, but when translated in warm koa wood and rich earth tones, it takes on a much more organic-frank-lloyd-wright feel.

hawaiian symbolism is rampant throughout. a reflection pool surrounds the building, just as the pacific ocean surrounds the islands. the cone shaped legislative chambers symbolize the volcanoes that formed them. there are 8 columns on each side of the building to represent the palm trees that cover the 8 main islands. the central rotunda opens to the sky as a commentary on the openness of hawaiian society.

the legislative bodies weren't in session while we were there, so the beautiful koa wood desks were wrapped up to preserve them. the internet provided some shots of what they look like while in use:

some close ups of the enormous and amazing tapestries woven by ruth anderson:

the gigantic light fixtures, are actually kinetic sculptures by artist otto piene. they represent the sun and the moon, and are breathtaking in person. unlike the desks, they weren't taken care of and fell into serious disrepair. a recent refurbishment got them back in order and some lucky ducks in honolulu got to see them in action:

this interview with otto discussing the sculptures is a little slow, but it includes some incredible close ups of both pieces and gives insight into how they're constructed and originally functioned. they're amazing.

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