Honolulu is the commercial and industrial center of the state. Here, tourists and locals are greeted with a plethora of architectural structures that range from historical landmarks to fine dining and world-class shopping areas.
In this list of the best retail architects in Honolulu are professionals with the skills to design spaces that serve as an extension of Hawaii’s beautiful setting and vibrant culture. With years of experience, these professionals are praised for their skills in practicing industrial design, ergonomics, and even graphic design and advertising.
District Architecture + Design
735 Bishop St. Ste. #230, Honolulu, HI 96813
From concept to build-out, District Architecture + Design brainstorms through all aspects to create a clear and memorable design. The We Are Iconic branch in Honolulu is a great example of the firm’s skills. A space meant to highlight the brand’s iconic entourage of distinct and modern clothing, the structure features high ceilings, and a clean open floor plan that allows visitors to focus on the products, minimalist brass and metal detailing, and chic asymmetrical feature lighting all on a clean white backdrop. After seven years in the industry, the firm has designed other commercial and public spaces such as churches, gyms, offices, cafes, and restaurants.
Ushijima Architects, Inc.
2226 Young St. #A, Honolulu, HI 96826
With an excellent track for maintaining project schedules and meeting project submittal deadlines, Ushijima Architects, Inc. (UIA) is one of Hawaii’s most reliable firms. Over the years, its reputation has earned it different projects such as commercial and industrial facilities, educational institutions, dormitories, public housing, luxury resort condominiums, retail interior tenant improvements, and even private residences. Such capabilities are possible thanks to the efforts of a highly experienced team that, combined, has more than 140 years of technical experience.
Alakea Corporate Tower, 1100 Alakea St. Ste. #1988, Honolulu, HI 96813
In the U.S. and overseas, KY International is a name with a reputation for cost-effective designs that are culturally and environmentally conscious. Currently, KY International’s portfolio includes a large variety of projects from small high-end boutiques to 1.5 million-square-foot shopping complexes. Among these is the Anteprima Plastiq project that highlights a contemporary elegance and sophistication that suits its Italian luxury brand. Over the years, KY International’s reputation has spread across the U.S., China, and different parts of Asia.
INK Architects Inc.
650 Iwilei Rd. Ste. #288, Honolulu, HI 96817
INK Architects has a vast portfolio that includes community, government, commercial, and renovation or alteration projects. Over the years, the firm’s projects have earned the firm a reputation for its design excellence and exceptional level of client satisfaction. Currently, the firm continues to grow under managing principal Scott RJ Harada who is involved in every type of project from the planning and design all the way to the project management and construction. At all stages of his career, Harada has completed several award-winning projects that have helped him become more experienced in handling complex projects.
ADM Retail Planning & Architecture, Inc.
1311 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814
Established in 2000, ADM Retail Planning & Architecture, Inc. is a company that specializes in the commercial architecture niche. So far, its projects have included retail structures alongside restaurants and even residential homes. It has worked with brand names like T&C Haleiwa, Dukes Lane, and the Hilton among others. The projects for these names are overseen by the keen eyes of co-principals Darin Fukunaga and Grant Sumile. Together, Fukunaga has 19 years of architectural experience while Sumile contributes experience in a wide array of projects that include high-rise luxury condominiums, custom home resorts, and even spas.
Shimokawa + Nakamura
1580 Makaloa St. Ste. #1050, Honolulu, HI 96814
Shimokawa + Nakamura is a dynamic firm with high-end designs that are both elegant, environmentally sensitive, and blooms for the senses. During its 30 years in the industry, the firm has completed hotels, destination resorts, custom homes, institutions, restaurants, and industrial or commercial service facilities. Richard’s Market is one of its most notable retail projects. A historical store on the Lanai island, Richard’s Market was once like every general store with crowded isles and outdated finishes. After two phases of renovation, these 6,000-square-foot interior finishes and light fixtures were completely changed.
Shimokawa + Nakamura is able to make projects like this with the guidance of principal architects Colin Shimokawa and Peter Uchiyama. While Shimokawa has over 38 years of experience in crafting both commercial and residential spaces, Nakamura has over 25 years of experience in architecture, design, planning, and project management.
1347 Kapiolani Blvd. Ste. #401, Honolulu, HI 96814
With new perspectives and bold ideas, InForm Design is able to honor the natural and cultural heritage of Hawaii by creating site-specific environments. Over the years, its approach to creating natural and modern spaces has been highlighted and praised in Hawaii Business Magazine, Hawaii Magazine, and Pacific Business News. These environments have included restaurants, financial institutions, tourism and leisure spaces, residents, and other commercial spaces like the Big Island Candies flagship store at Ala Moana Center. Since the brand already has eye-catching packaging for its items, InForm Design focused on highlighting the brand’s iconic orange, green, blue, and brown palette while creating a custom design for the wood-finished displays. Aside from the firm’s architecture services, InForm Design also provides interior design, bim services, and consulting or planning services.
Geoffrey Lewis Architect
3927 Old Pali Rd., Honolulu, HI 96817
From residential to commercial architecture, Geoffrey Lewis Architect has 24 years of experience to support its endeavors in architectural design. Even today, the firm is known for its collection of modern and traditional homes alongside the institutional and commercial works it has completed. In all of these markets, the firm provides clients with an extensive design process that involves concept development, designing schematics, developing the design, construction documentation, and construction observation. Over the years, this systematic process has helped the firm create high-quality projects that warranted honors like the American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s 2018 Mayor’s Choice Award, the 2016 Honorable mention for a commercial project, and the 2012 Award of Merit for a historical residential project.
677 Ala Moana Blvd. Ste. #705, Honolulu, HI 96813
The balance between the old and the new is a founding pillar that MGA architecture has long since been nurturing. Eighteen years into its establishment, this firm has been giving its clients a fresh focus that serves its clients and communities with a diverse and progressive design approach seen in various types of project markets. Over the years, the firm has worked on residential, healthcare, office, hospitality, and retail sectors among others. One project in particular, the Pu’unene Center in Kahului, is a notable project that embodies the firm’s extensive experience and expertise. Inspired by the Nene bird, this mall’s design incorporates the native Hawaiian bird’s distinct plumage, coloring, and markings while maintaining a modern look and feel. The completion of projects like these has led to honors like places within Pacific Business News’ 2015 and 2014 Fastest 50 list.
Benjamin Woo Architects
600 Kapiolani Blvd. Ste. #402B, Honolulu, HI 96813
Benjamin Woo Architects is a compact firm with high-profile projects. Established in 2000, the firm is an efficient machine operated by a collaborative team of architects and creative professionals who have helped turn this firm into a positive influence on its neighborhoods and clients. Over time it has been featured in publications like Plataforma Arquitectura, Hawaii Business Magazine, Maui Now, and Travel + Leisure among several other magazines.
One of its most notable projects is Aesop at the International Market Place in Honolulu. A project that presents the minimalistic charms of tropical modernism, it has folding screen doors, a ceiling, and furniture made of salvaged Douglas Fir. The folding screens of the wood-framed glass at the entry also achieves a fluid transition from exterior to interior and vice-versa.
Peter Vincent Architects
1021 Smith St. Penthouse 4th Floor Entrance, Honolulu, HI 96817
Peter Vincent Architects has projects that stretch from Hawaii and the Pacific Rim all the way to North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It has been featured in publications like Builder Magazine, Hawaii Home + Remodeling, and Pacific Business News among many other magazines. Within the 29 years of working with different clients from these locations, the firm has gone through a broad spectrum of styles that respond to each client’s unique needs while harmonizing with the physical, social, and environmental opportunities offered by the sites the firm works in. Over the years, Peter Vincent Architects has worked on hospitality and leisure projects alongside office and healthcare, interior design, retail and restaurant, and even residential projects. Among its many notable projects is the Maui Divers Hilton Hawaiian Village—a jewelry store project that highlights Hawaii’s coastal beauty through light palettes and a blue interior palette that gives the space a refreshing ambiance.
733 Bishop St. Makai Tower Ste. #3100, Honolulu, HI 96813
For 75 years, AHL has been pushing the boundaries of architectural design. An internationally-known firm, AHL has carefully constructed its reputation by producing many of the most beautifully designed structures in the community. With its comprehensive process, the firm takes each client from planning to building to interior design with utmost care.
One of its successful projects is the Whole Foods Queen, the flagship Whole Foods location in Hawaii. In this structure, onlookers can see the harmonious blend of styles that encapsulate both AHL’s design and Hawaii’s unique culture. At 72,000 square feet and two stories, the structure is wrapped in a palette of raw and natural steel and concrete interiors that reflect the Whole Foods’ healthy and organic character. Whole Foods Queen sits at the ground level of A’eo at Ward Village, a 39-story mixed-use luxury tower, also designed by AHL.
AHL has several other retail projects that warrant recognition, and over the years, publications like Forbes, Hawaii Business Magazine, Honolulu Magazine, and USA Today among several others have done so. Alongside being featured in these magazines, AHL also has a collection of awards that highlight its capabilities: the 2020 International Council of Shopping Centers North America Design & Development Gold Award and the 2020 NAIOP Hawaii Kukulu Hale Award which recognizes accomplishments in Hawaii’s commercial real estate industry several others.