Step into The Spa at Pelican Hill® and the first thing you notice is the giant wall of rippling water in the welcoming lobby. Listen for a minute. Close your eyes. Hear the sounds of an inviting mountain brook. Listen awhile longer and you will transcend your surroundings even before experiencing this serene sanctuary.
The lobby water feature creates the calming effect with movement and sound. The soaring 15-by-10- foot travertine wall, with water cascading down the front, accentuates the sense of leisure and calm. It only makes sense that the sculptor’s name, Yoshikawa, translates to “lucky river.”
“The idea was to create the right mood for the right space,” said Yoshikawa, a Los Angeles-based sculptor who only goes by the one name. “For The Spa at Pelican Hill, my intent was to create something big enough that it would permeate throughout the space—the lobby is a good size.”
Yoshikawa said that the technique he used of hand-chiseling the wavy, horizontal lines of the water wall fits the Palladio architecture aesthetic by integrating the classical feel with a modern design. The Resort’s overall Palladian architecture is styled after the renowned 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio.
Yoshikawa’s style is “a raw, natural approach that provided a good, natural counterpoint to the Palladian interiors,” said Brad Neal, Vice President of Architecture at The Irvine Company.
For more than 30 years, Yoshikawa’s sculptures have won awards. In the past two decades, he has become known for his expertise with water features and the refined sound he can create through his manipulation of travertine, marble, limestone and granite. The Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society turned to Yoshikawa in 2008 for the Los Angeles Fallen Firefighter Memorial sculpture with water feature. His sculptures are also in two of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants—Spago in Beverly Hills and Chinois at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. With a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Yoshikawa honed his skills with independent studies in Japan and Western Europe.
“There’s a natural elegance about Yoshikawa’s work that lent itself to the Spa and Resort,” said Michael Major, Vice President of Landscape Architecture for The Irvine Company, who suggested Yoshikawa for the Spa’s water wall. “He had the expertise and skill of carving travertine to get the perfect water sound.
He had mentored with the great 20th-century sculptor and artist Isamu Noguchi, who to my mind, shares a similar aesthetic with the Palladian architecture in balancing space, sight and sound.”
The Spa features two other Yoshikawa-designed water walls, one each in the women’s and men’s Relaxation Rooms—both with soothing sounds to wash your cares away. Nothing sets the tone for relaxation and peace better than the sound of rippling water.