Capitol Facelifts

After several months of hiding in a boarded up tent, a newly remodeled version of the mosaic “Aquarius,” revealed itself this Monday, looking vibrant, fresh and shiny.

The 36-foot circular mosaic, originally designed by the late Maui artist Tadashi Sato, underwent rigorous reconstruction in commemoration of Hawaii’s 50th anniversary of statehood.

“Aquarius,” Sato’s most popular work, is comprised of approximately six million small blue and green glass tiles representing submerged rocks in the ocean reflected by the sun.

The original mosaic, a replica of Sato’s painting, has needed work for years as the tiles have faded, cracked and chipped away. The old tiles were removed and replaced with new ones brought in from Italy and designed by Franz Mayer of Munich—the company chosen by Sato before his death in 2005.

The new mosaic—with a price tag of $1.4 million—not only embodies Sato’s original piece, but is now more resistant to the weather with a drainage system set atop a waterproof foundation.

“Aquarius” is not the only part of the Capitol that’s getting a facelift—it’s two state seals, one on the front and back of the building, are also undergoing renovation. The copper seals depict King Kamehameha I in royal dress as he holds up his staff. Each one weighs in at 7,500 pounds, and are 16 feet in diameter and five inches thick. Renovators are currently cleaning the seals (over on the lawn) and say they will be done in two weeks.