When land use constraints on the design of a new build on the Big Island of Hawaii demanded that we remove several mature monkeypod trees, 180 Degrees Design + Build needed to find a way to incorporate the naturally beautiful resource into a conversation-worthy piece that the owners could still enjoy daily. In Hawaii, residents deal with a lot of sand; it gets everywhere, and they don’t like it tracking into the house.


Project Architect John Anderson AIA came up with the idea of transforming the highly figured and curvaceous hardwood trees into monolithic benches peppered throughout the site, including one that had a nearby foot shower positioned near the entrance to the lanai. After letting the trunks’ moisture content level out after several months, we could shape it into organic orthogonal forms and then mount them on custom concrete plinths joined by a large keyway on the underside of each wood block. Each bench was rough-cut, allowed to dry, then shaped, planed and tung oiled for a vibrant finish that will showcase the wood’s inherent beauty while resisting graying. In contrast, the ipe wood used on the lanai will weather with age.




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