A new concrete wall of hand-sculpted art is being built along Weliweli Road, and passers-by have contributed to the design.
The vertical wall is part of the Koloa Village project, a 45,000-square-foot business and housing development under construction and set to open in the summer of 2021. Property owner and developer Michael Serpa teamed up with Kaua‘i concrete company Kickass Concrete to create the 5,000-square-foot wall, which currently features underwater creatures and native fish.
Co-owner and graphic designer at Kickass Concrete, Keith Duffy, said his team started on the wall 14 days ago, with two weeks left to go, and they’ve already used 700 bags of concrete. When the project is completed, the wall will be the color of dark lava stone, and other colors will highlight the detail of the fishes.
“We do it by hand, and we have five artists,” said Duffy. “We use rubber molds for the rocks around each art design (because) each rock has a different kind of texture.”
Duffy said inspiration comes from people who stop and watch their progress, and who offer suggestions on designs.
“People come by and we would let them pick what we drew on the wall,” said Duffy. “We get a lot of people who bring their kids to watch.”
While the concrete company often works on septic tanks and concrete roofs for homes, other artistic endeavors include a 30-foot statue of King Kamehameha.
Duffy started the company in 2017 with co-owner Ryan Carpenter, with a mission to connect with Kaua‘i’s businesses and serve residential homeowners that needed help with personalizing their homes with concrete designs.
“He (Duffy) went to a graphic art school, and it’s really cool to watch him do his thing,” said Carpenter.
Michael Serpa, developer and owner of Koloa Village, contracted the company for the wall design after talking with other construction crews on the project, and had Duffy draw up some sketches before “anybody did anything concrete.”
“I really liked it,” said Serpa. “After the first five feet of his work, I didn’t have to say anything else. He was good.”
Incorporating the native animals of Hawai‘i and suggestions from the community in the wall design pairs well with Serpa’s overall goal for Koloa Village — to provide a place for local residents to live, work and enjoy their culture. The village is based on designs taken from Koloa’s rich plantation history, with small spaces that are expandable and “affordable by design.”
“This project is for the people built by the people,” said Serpa. “We provide an architect, permitting assistance and the initial design.”
He continued: “After the COVID-19 restrictions were made, we had to make adjustments, no matter what the COVID restrictions will be we will accommodate them, and like our tenants who will have great products at a fair price, so will we.”
The project originally included business and retail spaces, with office spaces above, but that changed after Serpa started getting feedback from the community.
“One of my tenants said it was hard for them to find housing for their servers and chefs, so we changed the office spaces on the top to studios,” said Serpa.
The public can tour the Koloa Village project every Friday at 4 p.m. to listen to the explanation of the architecture design, which is a replica of the same building built in that same location in the 1920s.
Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.