Cannes Lions

CPB: Kai nu’u o Kanaloa Art Installation


Presentation Image
Demo Film
Presentation Image






In 2020 we worked with Central Pacific Bank on an entire brand overhaul, a company with deep roots in Hawaii and incredibly strong ties to their local community. Yet they had an aging customer base and no real culture of innovation.

We leveraged the truth that Central Pacific Bank cares more about its customers than their money and repositioned CPB as “the radically human bank”. This entailed a new brand design and a campaign crafted around a new tagline: Where People Like Banking.

As part of their reinvigorated mission to serve the people of Hawaii, CPB built a public co-working space within their Honolulu headquarters where students, small businesses, and nonprofits could work at no cost. To complete the brand experience in this space, CPB asked us to create a public art installation that had a cultural connection to Hawaii and the brand’s future for a budget of $400,000.


The challenge was to create an art piece that reflected the bank’s history, its renewed commitment to innovation, hold cultural relevance for the local community while being accessible for visitors as well. We were inspired by the way Hawaii’s unique geography, culture and almost every part of life on the islands is impacted and shaped by the ocean.

As we considered ways to represent the strength and spirituality of the Ocean we were drawn to the simple rainstick, an instrument almost as old as music itself, but realized that if we paired it with modern technology we could literally bring the waves, via real-time data from Ocean buoys, into downtown Honolulu.

The idea formed to create a timeless installation that visually and sonically recreated real-time Hawaiian waves using kinetic motion composed of light and sound. It is essentially the world’s most elegant surf report, in the home of surfing.


The CPB rebranding was inspired by mid-century modern design aesthetic from the time of the company’s founding in 1954. We looked to this when it came to selecting materials and form factors for the art installation.

The 48 plexiglass and brass rainsticks are mounted on rich, warm Mahogany panels. The local master carpenter chose 16-foot lengths of wood to ensure that the grain matched down the entire span of the wall while hand-sanding and staining each of the 150 pieces that went into the construction of the massive 423-foot square piece.

To control the rainstick’s kinetic movement a custom interface was designed, using real-time data feeds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoys. Extensive testing resulted in a program that translates the data into the motion of the rain sticks creating the perfect representation of the waves through the light and sound emitted from the wall-mounted installation.


The installation is called Kai nu’u o Kanaloa, paying respect to the important role the Ocean plays in native Hawaiian culture. The name means The Rising Tide of Kanaloa. Kai is the ocean and nu’u is translated as the summit. Kanaloa is one of the great gods of the Hawaiian pantheon - god of the sea, tides and ocean navigation.

“Kai” opened in January 2021, and due to Covid regulations, only a limited number of people can be in the space. Those that have been able to experience Kai comment on the way it brings the sounds of the ocean into downtown, and a peacefulness into a space that houses the CPB flagship branch and their new public co-working space.

Kai is ready to welcome CPB employees, the local community, and travelers from around the world, to its newly renovated headquarters with the powerful, yet calming, strength of nature.