Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Technicolor Tiki

Today I am going to stray off topic a bit and take a look at a different aspect of tiki visuals and examine the role of color.

In addition to researching Tiki Architecture, one of my other hobbies is painting. I'm a bit of a hack, but I enjoy it. I think every artist, at least the not very good ones, struggle with finding the right color palette to use in their work. To that end, I found this interesting color application on another great blog DesignerLand.

It is called Kuler. The web site is linked with Flickr and is really easy to use. Kuler will create a custom color palette for you based on complimentary colors that you select. You also have the ability to import an image and the application will create the palette for you.

For example, a favorite image of mine from Flickr

Kuler will then mathematically analyze the image and create a 5 color complimentary palette.

The great thing about this application is that after you have created your color palette, you can export it directly for use in other Adobe Creative products.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sands Oasis - MORE Hawaiian Living in Phoenix, Arizona

Due to the popularity of Hawaiian themed home sales in the Sands West development in 1961, E.T. Wright (Phoenix home builder) opted to continue to try his luck cashing in on Polynesian Pop Culture. In 1965 he built his second Hawaiian/tiki themed neighborhood in Phoenix called Sands Oasis.

The Sands Oasis development is located about 10 blocks west of Sands West, north of the intersection of 45th Ave. / Northern Ave. in Glendale.

The charm of the romantic South Seas returns to Phoenix in 1965 (click to read)

On August 1, 1965, the home builder ran an ad in the Arizona Republic announcing the grand opening of Sands Oasis, including this amazing piece of tiki architecture for the home sales office located at Sands Oasis.

If the roof of the sales office looks familiar to you as a fan of tiki architecture, it should. It appears to be inspired by the upswept peaked roof of the Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island in San Diego, California.

Shelter Island, San Diego, CA

It is not a coincidence that the roof structures look similar, let me explain…

In August 1959, Hawaii had just become the 50th state. Immediately following, in the early 1960s, Hawaii began a stark transition from an economy based on agricultural export of sugar cane and fruit to an economy based on tourism. During this period, Polynesian Pop culture was at its peak in film, television, music, architecture, and fashion and pushed Hawaii into popular awareness. South Seas images were everywhere.

In the mid 1960s, the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (CONVIS) viewed Hawaii as a major tourism competitor. In response, starting in 1964 CONVIS began a deliberate and well funded strategy into the early 1970s to market San Diego as a closer-to-home, budget version of this American “paradise”. The Hawaiian-ization of San Diego was in full swing and took place stylistically and architecturally, as well as through the national marketing campaign. (that’s another story for a future multi-series post).

Phoenix was viewed by CONVIS as a prime market for this tourism campaign (along with Denver, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco) and they spent significant advertising dollars in Phoenix.

CONVIS ad in Phoenix Magazine, mid 1960s

CONVIS runs a full page ad in Phoenix Magazine, mid 1960s

Take a look at the text in this full page ad. CONVIS was really pushing hard to compete with Hawaii.

It's the native way!

The exotic South Seas structures found in San Diego were being marketed in Phoenix as an accessible version of Shangri La. This marketing blitz from San Diego must have demonstrated to E.T. Wright that Polynesian Pop was still in full swing, hence his decision to cash in CONVIS marketing efforts and build Sands Oasis.

Detail of the Sands Oasis sales office, inspired by the exotic Shelter Island.

Note a few of the details:

- The decorative carvings on the front and back extended roof beams
- The collection of exotic lamps hanging over the doorway
- A tiki mask or shield on the wall to the right of door

This sales office had a real WOW factor. Unfortunately, if you drive the neighborhood today, very few of the homes actually reflect an exotic theme. More tiki inspired designs can actually be found over in the builder’s first development at Sands West.

There is however, one exception. This home (located at 8126 N. 45th Avenue) exhibits an exotic flair in the roof line echoed from the original sales advertisement.

It is a beautiful example of Desert Polynesia with gravel landscaping for the front yard and various palm trees around the house. I like the ‘Far East’ motif of the iron fencing along the half wall at the front of the house.

Detail of the roof design

Another shot of the upswept peak and decorative ridge beam.

If you are a tikiphile living in the Valley of the Sun, you can thank the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau for all of their effort to promote Polynesian Pop culture in Phoenix. I'm sure that all of that CONVIS advertising for almost 10 years had a significant impact on local restaurants, hotel operators and home builders to keep tiki alive in Phoenix.

Mahalo and enjoy your upcoming holiday weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sands West - Hawaiian Living in Phoenix, Arizona

About a year ago, I was enjoying an exotic cocktail in the lounge of the Trader Vic's in Scottsdale, Arizona waiting to meet a friend of mine, Mr. Dewey Webb, to talk about the history of tiki in Phoenix. We chatted for a while about tiki establishments long gone from the Valley of the Sun like the Islands Restaurant, The Samoan Village and Kon Tiki Motels, the original Trader Vic's location in Scottsdale, etc. Then he shared with me a copy of an original sales brochure for a Hawaiian inspired resdential neighborhood on the west side of Phoenix called Sands West. I asked where he found such a rare item and he told me that his family had kept it from when they originally bought a house in Sands West.

Inside cover of the sales brochure

Sands West was built in 1961 and was a big hit. So much so, that just a few years later in 1965, a second Hawaiian themed neighborhood was built just 10 blocks west of Sands West, called Sands Oasis (that's a topic for a follow-up post).

I love that the sales and marketing staff came up with Kumuanahanahana - the Phoenix Tiki God of Air Conditioning!

The brochure also had plans for three of the models to be constructed in the development, including:

The Hawaiian

The Samoan

The Devonshire (everything about the brochure is Polynesian themed, henece the odd choice for the name of this model???)

I've since been out to explore Sands West and most of the homes are in need of some TLC. However, there are still a few select home owners that have not cut off all of the outrigger beams or modified the house beyond their original Phoneix Polynesian design.

Sands West in 2010

Roof details on The Hawaiian Model

The Hawaiian Model decked out in Pepto pink with light purple trim (OUCH!)

The Samoan Model with a carport roof added

Details of The Samoan carport roof located at 3457 W. Belmont Ave

If you want to explore Sands West for yourself, the neighborhood is located between 32nd / 35th Ave and Northern Ave / Belmont Ave.

Part 2 of the story is continued in this post about the nearby Sands Oasis development.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Waikiki '73

Welcome to the most exciting vacation paradise in the Pacific, Waikiki.

In 1973, four of the nation's leading travel masters - United Airlines, Sheraton Hotels, Avis Rent A Car and American Express got together and created a year long Hawaiian marketing campain called 'Waikiki '73'. Stories and pictorials of Waikiki '73 ran in several publications for the year, including, Reader's Digest, Sunset, Newsweek, Mademoiselle, and Vogue. It was a very sucessful marketing campain.

Today's images come from a Waikiki '73 marketing brochere that was distributed to travel agents across the USA to promote the program. I love the artwork in this package in all its 70's groovyness!

Jet to Hawaii with United

You're in a sparkling Polynesian atmosphere the moment you step aboard United's Friend Ship Flight to Honolulu. Your friendly steward and stewardesses, in colorful aloha attire, put you in a relaxing mood. Settle back into a contoured chair and order up a sunny Mai Tai or your favorite cocktail. If you fly First Class, you'll dine sumptously on the finest gourmet cuisine, complete with complimentary wines and champagne. If you're a Coach passenger aboard the Friend Ship, you'll dine elegantly on Trader Vic's cuisine.

Check out that drink cart!

A fresh juicy pineapple, compliments of Sheraton, will be delivered to your door on arrival.

Explore and discover the great variety of shopping and dinning in the famous International Market Place.

A family of four, decked out in aloha attire, poses on the front steps of Trader Vic's in the International Market Place.

I love the color scheme in this one.

Hula Now, Pay Later with American Express!

Not wanting to be left out, Continental Airlines ran their own Hawaiian vacation commercials.