On the Kalaupapa peninsula on the island of Moloka‘i, I was inspired by the living tapestry of native Hawaiian plants hugging the coastal jet black lava rock in swatches of bright silvery greens.
After graduating from UH Manoa I jumped at the opportunity to temporarily run a native plant nursery for the National Park Service in Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i. I’ll never forget my first glimpse through the little prop plane window: impassable sea cliffs sealing off a picturesque town set on a small remote peninsula. I’d learn that its harsh enduring beauty was matched in character by its inhabitants: caretakers and a handful of cured Hansen’s disease (leprosy) patients living out their old age. The remainder of its inhabitants care for the place: its historical buildings and its endemic endangered ecosystem.
I created this design as a lasting testament to the beauty of not only its native Hawaiian landscape, but also its history of human endurance and compassion in the face of daunting circumstances. This place and design are a reminder that beauty arises out of contrast and that depth is born from meaning. The central element to this design is the white Puakala native Hawaiian poppy flower. A thorny flower that thrives among the windswept lava rock and sea spray of the Kalaupapa peninsula.
- David Shepard