The Aulani Hotel and Resort is a spectacular Disney property in Hawaii, and while crafting a special place in a land of paradise, the Disney Imagineers really needed to study Hawaiian culture and arts deeply in order to pay proper tribute and respect to a setting that has always been incredibly beautiful and sacred. At the same time, they needed to built a structure that was decidedly much larger in scale that traditional island structures. To do this, the Imagineers incorporated a variety of motifs and gestures to signify an ode to traditional Hawaii without being superficially imitating. The arched roof structures echo a traditional tropical architectural vernacular. Bas relief sculptures by artists Carl Pao and Harinani Orme communicate the sun and moon, aquatic canoe travel across the seas, and bounty and feasts. Architectural storytelling and details call out sustenance from the land and the sea. The warm color tones reflect the feel of traditional building materials like straw and wood. It all comes together in a cohesive and intimate design that breaks down the hotel's large scale and celebrates the rich Hawaiian culture in the intricacy of the building facades. Though Disney may be associated with "fake theming," by critics, the designers really did their homework here to craft something special and exquisite.
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