Meet the Designers



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DESIGN
MATTERS
MEET
THE DESIGNERS
DESIGNING
THE ISLANDS
TAKE HOME
DESIGN

CLARENCE LEE

photo: Monte Costa

After 40 years of working in Hawai'i, Clarence Lee has become one of our most iconic designers, having created hundreds of logos and packages that Hawai'i residents see every day--everything from the safety sticker that decorates (almost) every car on the road to the colorful tubs that store Zippy's chili. He's perhaps best known for his popular series of Chinese New Year-themed postage stamps, which have introduced Lee's local sensibilities to the rest of world. "You have to enter design with a passion and a love, let it permeate every part of your life," Lee says. "It's a part of who we are as humans, in every culture of the world."

From left: The Hawai'i state Department of Transportation vehicle safety sticker logo, the logo for the Hawai'i Alliance for Arts Education and Lee's series of Chinese New Year-themed postage stamps.

 

DAVID COX By day, David Cox works as Punahou School's graphic designer, producing all the school's printed materials, including the quarterly Punahou Bulletin. But in his spare time, Cox designs, pro bono, for local nonprofits--The Contemporary Museum, The Hawai'i Opera Theatre, the Hawai'i International Child Adoption Agency. You've probably seen his work on posters for Manoa Valley Theatre's plays, such as this January's M Butterfly. Cox says he loves the creative freedom that play posters afford him, but says, "The challenge is capturing the essence of the play visually. To me, the poster has to convey what the play is really about; otherwise, it's all for naught."

Clockwise: A poster for Manoa Valley Theatre's production of M Butterfly, promotional material for The Contemporary Museum's 2005 Contempo fundraiser and the awards book for 2005 Hawai'i 5-0 deisgn competition.

 

STACEY LEONG Graphic designer Stacey Leong is constantly looking for new ways to incorporate Hawai'i elements into her work. When she designed a new book on Lena Machado, Songbird of Hawai'i--My Memories of Aunty Lena, she strove to evoke Old Hawai'i in the design.

"I wanted to make it reminiscent of old mu'umu'u, both the materials and the patterns, to capture the essence of that time period." She turned each chapter divider spread into a muted floral print, exploring variations on the gardenia, Machado's favorite flower. "I played it out in so many different ways that you wouldn't even realize that it was the same flower. I like taking something and then stretching it out to its maximum, and really exploring the possibilities."


Left to right: Songbird of Hawai'i, a new book about Lena Machado, Hawai'i Outcomes Institute logo and the Fall 2004 issue of The Contemporary Journal of the Pacific.


LES LOOK Working from his home, Les Look runs Makana Ali'i, hand-crafting coveted outrigger canoe paddles. "Lightness and strength are a priority, particularly for those who are serious about racing," he says, "so we might use Kevlar, Fiberglas or carbon fiber. I used to work with just wood, but the composites allow us to make more efficient paddles." Look calls his approach "the opposite of one-size-fits-all." Each paddle is completely customized, from the length to the blade shape and the ergonomics of the handle.

The paddles run about $240, but good luck getting one. "We have a six-month waiting list," he says. "We can't even supply the stores."


 

STEPHEN GOSS Whether he's giving a bold, comic-book flair to local printing company Electric Pencil, or lending an upscale Hawaiiana image to cookie makers Clara Confectioners, designer Stephen Goss says he takes a holistic approach to his work. "I have a hard time distinguishing between different areas of design, graphic, clothing, products. What you're doing at the core of it is identifying the problem, solving that, and then, if you can, applying some aesthetics to that solution," he says. Goss made his name with Studio Ignition, the design firm he started with Noah Tom. Now, as creative director for The Harris Agency, he sculpts the images of everything from hip new nightclubs to high-tech startups.

From left: packaging for Clara Confectioners and promotional materials for local printing company Electric Pencil.


The lobby area of the Westin in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, features these settees, designed by Sourcing Asia. photo: courtesy of Sourcing Asia
SOURCING ASIA You may have sat on or slept in the work of Bobby Cepeda and not even known it. Cepeda, the Hawai'i managing director of Sourcing Asia, has designed furniture and other items for 55 foreign five-star hotels, such as the Westin Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia (pictured). "I work with architects and interior designers to design custom doors or floors, as well as beds, armoires and chairs," he says.

The Guam-born Cepeda says he prefers to work in natural materials, such as wood, copper and stone, when designing. "Wood is alive," he says, "even when the piece is finished, it's still moving."

His work is also available locally--our favorite is his cinnamon-stick inlaid dining-room chair, which carries a lingering scent of the spice. For information, call the showroom, 585-8505.

 

DESIGN
MATTERS
MEET
THE DESIGNERS
DESIGNING
THE ISLANDS
TAKE HOME
DESIGN

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