HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The blue backdrop to United Airlines ticket counter is a work of modern art. The multi-hued shades of bright cast glass is fashioned to mimic the Pacific Ocean.
"You can take the ocean with you when you go home," said departing visitor Leslie Ann Lipoff of San Francisco.
"It's almost a little retro, which I like. It's very refreshing to look at" Bakersfield resident John Miranda said.
The State Department of Transportation and United covered the wall with 1,000 square feet of colored glass, and ran a redwood wave ceiling runner the length of Lobby 8.
"It's certainly unique to Hawaii to see anything without big back wall branding signage," UAL assistant general manager Scott Poomaihealani said.
Forty six new ticket counters replaced the old one's eaten by age and termites.
"You step in here and you're not like, 'My vacation's over.' You step in here and you're like, 'Wow! I'm still in Hawaii. I remember swimming in that ocean,'" DOT spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said.
The renovation took a year. The goal was to finish before next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, when outgoing delegations will pack the lobby.
"We certainly targeted those dates and wanted to have all construction completed before the end of this month to give us a little buffer," Poomaihealani said.
The makeover cost about $635,000. The money came from airport user fees and federal grants.
"I'm a flight attendant," Lipoff said. "I've seen a lot of airport lobbies and this is very pretty."
"It gives me that last jealous look of Hawaii," Miranda said.
Lobby 7 is next in line for a Hawaii-themed makeover now that Lobby 8 has stepped from the dark ages into the light.