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Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Completes $4.25M Rainbow Mural Restoration Project

Once the World's Tallest Mosaic, the Iconic Millard Sheets Replica Ensures the Sustainability of One of Oahu’s Most Famous Landmarks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
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Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort celebrated the completion of its newly restored, iconic Rainbow Mural on June 23 with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and dedication ceremony. The event was attended by media, local tourism officials, contractors and other dignitaries. Hilton invested $4.25 million to ensure the two-sided mural, once named the world’s tallest mosaic when it was first revealed in 1968, would be an exact replica of the original designed by renowned artist Millard Sheets.

“The Rainbow Mural on Oahu is the iconic equivalent to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Statue of Liberty in New York,” said Jerry Gibson, area vice president of Hilton Hawaii. “It is synonymous with Waikiki and is actually a celebrity in its own right. It has been the backdrop in many movies, TV shows and thousands of vacation photos taken on Waikiki Beach.”

The original mosaic, designed by Sheets, consisted of more than 16,000 hand-painted ceramic tiles on two sides of the 31-story Rainbow Tower with the focal point being 2.5 miles away, which on the ocean side, provides a warm welcome for visitors flying to Oahu. For the reproduction of the 286 feet high by 26 feet wide mosaics, Hilton contracted specialist United Kingdom-based Johnson Tiles – a company with a long history in both restoration projects and ceramic art tile production.

The restoration project started in September 2013 with the removal of the existing tiles from both sides of the tower. The process of creating and installing the tiles included a detailed tile-by-tile review and extensive photographic comparisons by Johnson Tiles experts, allowing them to perfectly color-match and intricately replicate each of the mural’s tiles. The new mural features more than 31,000 tiles.

Darren Clanford, creative director at Johnson Tiles said: “The Rainbow Mural has such great significance, not just to the Hilton Hawaiian Village but to the people of Hawaii. We invested considerable resources to ensure the digital tiles we produced convey the passion and character of Millard Sheets’ original work.”

Sheets’ son Tony, who was involved with the restoration project said: “This was one of my dad’s major pieces and I appreciate Hilton’s dedication to preserving this important part of my dad’s legacy in Hawaii.”

The new mural also incorporates new artwork by Tony Sheets at the base of the mountainside mural.

“The Rainbow Mural is a huge part of the heart and soul of Hilton Hawaiian Village,” said Gibson. “Once we decided to proceed with the restoration, it was critical to do it right.”

Following the opening of the Rainbow Tower in 1968, a gala unveiling of the Rainbow Mural was held celebrating the completion of the world’s largest mural. Hundreds of dignitaries attended including the Governor of Hawaii, John A Burns and U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye. Barron Hilton, then president of Hilton Hotels Corporation and son of its founder, Conrad, represented the hotel company at the event.

About Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is Waikiki’s only true destination resort, offering the perfect mix of exceptional resort accommodations and classic hospitality on Waikiki’s widest stretch of beach. The resort features more than 90 shops and services, 20 restaurants, lounges and bars; and every Friday evening, it sets the stage for a celebration of Hawaiian culture and entertainment ending in a spectacular fireworks show.

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Founded in 1919 as the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues to build upon its legacy of innovation by developing products and services to meet the needs of savvy global travelers at more than 550 hotels across six continents. Hilton is the stylish, forward-thinking global leader in hospitality with Team Members shaping experiences in which every guest feels cared for, valued and respected. Access the latest news at news.hilton.com and begin your journey at www.hilton.com or www.hilton.com/offers for the latest hotel specials. View a list of official social channels at www.hilton.com/social. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide’s ten market leading brands.

About Johnson Tiles
Johnson Tiles is the UK’s leading manufacturer and importer of ceramic wall and floor tiles. A trading division of Norcros Group (Holdings) Limited, the company has over 100 years’ experience and produces wall and floor tiles at its Stoke-on-Trent headquarters to the highest standards. It operates in both residential and commercial markets and its product ranges are recognized by the industry not only for their eco-friendly properties but excellence in quality and design. To find out more about Johnson Tiles visit www.johnson-tiles.com

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