A chance encounter at the Honolulu Neiman Marcus between Ralph Pucci and John Koga led to a collaboration that is now twelve years strong. Initially, Koga displayed his stone sculptures at the gallery… he never considered the possibility that he might eventually design lighting and furniture FOR Pucci. However, once Pucci brought up the idea, Koga was “super excited.”
The initial process was far from streamlined… but it worked! Koga began sketching and making tiny clay models in Hawaii. He would send the images to New York, and from there… the final designs were decided upon.
The collection is made from Plasterglass. This material is a unique fiberglass resin owned solely by the Ralph Pucci company. The collection is comprised of nine pieces which all resemble abstract forms- “extraterrestrial” in appearance.
Koga is continuously influenced by his home state. He says, “Hawaii, the physical beauty of it—how can you not be inspired? My aim is to, without re-creating it photographically, get the feeling of Hawaii. I kind of draw on what I call the soul or the essence of what the mountain, or the clouds on the mountain, or just a stone might feel like. All of my work is based on this.”
It is clear that Koga pushes the boundaries of sculpting. He loves trying to incorporate many different forms of “the arts” into his pieces. For example, there is a three-ponged bulbous chandelier, a paw with reptile-like features descending from space, and an arched chair which can be flipped and turned into a two-top side table.
You never know exactly what Koga intended to portray, but you DO know that it has a bit of his amazing “spirit” in it.
Koga has gone through many phases over the years, and he has many influences. Growing up and living in Hawaii, the unparalleled beauty of his native land has been an endless source of inspiration.
When he was starting out, Koga would carve into driftwood or fallen gourds. While on walks, he would stack stones so that they resembled gallery installations. As with all his work, living with nature is the main intent!
Koga has remained true to his roots and has never considered leaving Hawaii for the “glamour” of other locations. His studio, the former home of his parents, is amazing. Entering his house is similar to entering two worlds… on the right is where he “lives” and on the left is “Studio Manoa”. This is a two-story workshop filled with finished pieces and works-in-progress. Moving walls conceal storage for Koga’s artwork… and surfboards.
At any point in time, Koga might be working on at least 6 projects. This flexible space allows Koga to have a lot of creative freedom… something necessary to come up with the ambiguous shapes which fill his imagination!