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Ala Moana Shopping Center, Honolulu, HI (other)

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Name:Ala Moana Shopping Center
Street:1450 Ala Moana Boulevard

Built on reclaimed swampland in 1957. The largest shopping mall in the world when it opened in 1959 - it is still the largest open-air shopping center in the world, with over 290 shops.

Photos and artist's renderings of the mall from its earliest days show architecture that is both Hawaiian and Modernist at the same time, with some tiki thrown in as well.

:up: An artist's rendering of the entire shopping center. Towards the right you can see the Sears store, which is still one of the anchor stores today.

:up: A close-up of the old McInerny's Department store.

:up: A cool rendering of a tiki and Hawaiian petroglyph fountain.

:up: And an actual photo of possibly the same fountain (although there were three of them inside the mall)

:up: Another fountain in the outside courtyard that resembles a Hawaiian warrior in one of those gourd helmets.

:up: Where that giant fork and spoon set you found might have come from originally.

I'd be interested in seeing photos of more of the polynesian-themed stores in this mall as well as photos of the shopping center itself, so please post them.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-10-28 23:49 ]

Ooooh, nice Tiki Modern there, Sabu.

That petroglyph fountain was executed by Edward Brownlee, who also did these two dudes for the McInerny Men's Store at this mall:

Read all about Brownlee in Jeff Berry's Sippin' Safari!

Great photos, I think that place became a victim of its success since all the empty space was quickly filled up with boxy shops with no respect to the original modernist design. Also worth noting is that the center is in the shadow of the La Ronde restaurant with its revolving flying saucer design. Its architect John Graham Jr also did The Space Needle and the Ilikai which is a stones throw from Ala Moana.


Another great brochure.

The Ala Moana also had the Down Under Bar with aboriginal cocktails.

And the Coral Reef restaurant. That logo looks a lot like Mr. C's at the Outrigger Motel.


Researching Hawaiian sculptors, I found out that this sculpture is titled "Waiola Fountain" and was done by George Tsutakawa.

it really looks very great and in fact it is

Thanks. These bring back memories for me. I went shopping at the Sears in Ala Moana for a Primo Beer aloha shirt with my grandparents when I was about 10 years old. On a previous visit my dad had decided I couldn't have one. He was really ticked off they bought it for me. Later, my friends and I would cut class and ride The Bus to Ala Moana to hang out. Maybe it was due to the bad influence of that Primo shirt, but we were kind of a 1970's Hawaiian version of mall rats. My best friend's mom taught hula and her class used to perform on a stage in the middle of Ala Moana and at the International Marketplace sometimes.
Fun times.

Bought a few more vintage tourist snapshots of the Ala Moana Shopping Center:

Including what looks to be a different Edward Brownlee tiki from the ones posted earlier:

Compare to bigbro's photo of two other Brownlee tikis outside the McInerny Men's Store:

On 2010-11-12 22:18, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:
Bought a few more vintage tourist snapshots of the Ala Moana Shopping Center:

Great Sabu!! This is the carving that Brownlee refers to in (near the end of) his first letter printed in Waikiki Tiki: Art, History and Photographs."

The large "Kukilimoku" figure was done for McInery's Waikiki with the cooperation of Stanley Shinkawa. Stan and I were students at Arts and Crafts [College] in Oakland as undergrads. Our careers in Hawaii remained parallel. Stan showed me how to enjoy "Soba" noodles. - Mick Brownlee"

Waikiki Tiki; Art, History, and Photographs.
Available now from Bess Press Hawaii.

[ Edited by: Phillip Roberts 2010-11-15 12:59 ]

From a postcard I found this weekend...


I have a lot of fond memories of Ala Moana from when I first moved here in 1981. This was before all the remodelling & it went totally shi-shi upscale. (Although I still love it..but not in the same way). I'm always looking around on the internet for info about the older Ala Moana and sometimes try to reconstruct where everything was in my mind. The Waiola Fountain statue is still there, btw, but that's about it.
I try to remember the old food court & what was in there as well as FOND memories of the huge two story Woolworth's...I STILL miss that place! And the classic ICON...Patty's Chinese kitchen.


A few pictures of Ala Moana from the book "Hawaii" by Gordon Sager, first printing 1969, 7th 1976.

"Ala Moana Center, in central Honolulu, has all sorts of stores & restaurants as well as fountains & sculptures, a Japanese garden & a replica of Peking's Summer Palace gate. On top, the revolving restaurant makes one complete turn every hour."


I am still looking for pictures of the Ala Moana Center playground installed with Tiki.


Got a few pics to share of the Ala Moana, and specifically the Waiola fountain by George Tsutakawa, which is still there. I really like this sculpture, and also Tsutakawa's style in general, so I made a post in Beyond Tiki with more general info about him.

Although the sculpture seems to have echoes of Hawaiiana, I think it actually has more to do with Tsutakawa's style rather than any overt intentional Hawaiian influence, which becomes clearer when you see it in the context of his other work. Still, it's very interesting how it fits into that modernist Hawaiian style that was like a time capsule of the mid 60s there.

First up, here's an older color photo of the Waiola fountain...

Now some recent pics...

Notice how the water is just coming out in one place now, versus the exuberant blasts churning up the pool all over the place in the older photo. Probably not 1000 gallons a minute anymore!

While admiring the fountain, I looked up and noticed probably the coolest Macy's exterior I've ever seen.

By and large, Ala Moana is like a regular mall now. There's not much discernible of that beautiful style from the concept drawings earlier in this thread, and of course the Brownlee carvings are long gone (some of my very favorite work by him). But it's nice to see these details that still survive!


Aloha Randy,

Great to meet up with you. Funny, I was just by that fountain yesterday...

Some great photos there Randy. Thanks for documenting what's left.


When I was ten years old in 1974, my parents used to take me to the Coral Reef restaurant regularly. I can remember the Supper Club look of the interior, the abalone soup, and the almond cookies at the end of every meal. It seems to me there were a lot of curving walls covered with tiny dark ceramic tiles, and cool hourglass shaped light fixtures inside, like the whole place was inspired by a lava lamp.

I was scanning some old slides of my parent's, and I discovered these photos taken in Ala Moana Shopping Center in 1969. I thought I'd share them here.

One thousand gallons per minute in evidence.

Children at the Koi ponds.

I think that might have been outside Shirokiya's Department store.

A great Sabu thread. Here is another peek at the Tiki on the right side of this old photo.


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