The Liljestrand House: Honolulu’s Mid-Century Architectural Gem
Attend a design presentation on Friday, May 19, featuring Ken Yeang, a Malaysia-based architect and ecologist, at this elegant property.
The Design Conversation Series at Liljestrand House features designers and critics from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, industrial, graphic and exhibition design who have made a global impact through their work. Attendees have the opportunity to engage with speakers throughout informal discussion and cocktail events at this inspired setting overlooking Honolulu.
Architect Vladimir Osipoff
There are few Hawai‘i architects whose work is as recognizable as that of Vladimir Ossipoff, with his distinctly mid-century modern aesthetic that remains as stylish today as it was more than fifty years ago. From some of the elegantly recognizable University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus structures to the IBM Building, his work has become an essential part of the legacy of Hawai‘i architecture.
One of the most outstanding examples of his work is the elegant Liljestrand House. What began as a family residence has become so much more: a living museum, an ode to a great artist, a foundation for preservation and a voice of support in the design community.
Get to know a little more about this hidden Honolulu gem, the story behind it and the work its team is doing to further the community’s exposure to and understanding of art and design in the islands.
The Liljestrand House
This beautiful example of mid-century architecture and style perched at the top of Tantalus Drive in Honolulu was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff in the early fifties for the Liljestrand family. Now, the family’s grown children operate the Liljestrand Foundation, hold events and give tours of the property.
The serene, 6,700 square foot, two-story home sits on a sprawling, lush property with inviting grassy lawns and pockets of lush landscaping that offer expansive views of Honolulu below and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Quintessentially mid-century modern elements like the jaunty, kidney-shaped pool, the floating staircase, contrasting exposed wood beams and stone walls are distinctive, unique, yet understated.
Ossipoff was raised in Japan, and his work shows a deep understanding and respect for Japanese culture and style. At the Liljestrand House, you’ll find shoji screen doors and a spotlight on natural materials, elements common in Japanese design. He also often placed nature at the center of his work, with the idea of bringing the majesty of Hawai‘i’s outdoors into the home. Think unobstructed views, lots of open air spaces and cozy, beckoning nooks that invite you to sit down and take it all in.
While the Liljestrand family lived in the home, they consulted with the architect on every piece of furniture and art, never changing anything without his approval. The result is a wonderfully cohesive vision of mid-century architecture and interior design that remain unchanged.
The Liljestrand Foundation
In 2007, the Liljestrand family created The Liljestrand Foundation to preserve the priceless, Vladimir Ossipoff-designed house and to bring awareness of its architectural significance and cultural legacy to a worldwide audience. In the foundation’s archives are preserved communications, drawings and photos of the home, the building process and exchanges with Ossipoff himself over the years. The foundation also hosts design and architecture events and holds regular home tours.
Part of the foundation’s continued efforts to stimulate the local art community include The Design Conversation Series, a program of speaking events hosted at the house that feature outstanding designers and critics from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism and industrial, graphic and exhibition design. Apart from bringing design enthusiasts, professionals, academics and artists together, these evening cocktail soirées are fantastic opportunities to see the house in, quite literally, a different light. Most home tours take place during the day, while design series lectures are held during pau hana hours—and typically feature an open bar, a valet, and stunning sunsets from the home’s Tantalus cliffside location.
Interested in joining the next event? While the program develops organically throughout the year, with new talks added to the design series calendar as opportunity (and inspiration) arise, the next scheduled design series event will take place on Friday, May 19. Liljestrand Foundation donors typically get the first stab at tickets, but for future events, join The Liljestrand Foundation mailing list for the most up-to-date news and early opportunities to purchase tickets for the foundation’s events.
Upcoming Events at Liljestrand House
Saving the Planet By Design
As part of the design series at Liljestrand House, Malaysia-based architect and ecologist Ken Yeang will discuss his signature hyper-green architecture and strategies to regenerate natural systems and reduce the impact of construction on climate change.
Tickets prices are $55 and include bites, valet and open bar; Friday, May 1, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at eventbrite.com until May 19. More information at liljestrandhouse.org.