Maximalism

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In the arts, maximalism, a reaction against minimalism, is an aesthetic of excess. The philosophy can be summarized as “more is more”, contrasting with the minimalist motto “less is more”. – Wikipedia

The concept of maximalism is new to me in name, but not in practice. I was introduced to the word by a friend, Rebecca Marchand, who was visiting A. Panda’s Tiki Lounge for the first time. After the initial sensory overload of absorbing her surroundings, she proclaimed that I was a maximalist, like her. When I asked her what that meant, she said it was the opposite of a minimalist. The more stuff, the better.

This definitely applies to my basement escape! When I first started building out this space in 2006, it was unfinished. Slowly but surely, I erected walls and painted them brown and orange, decorating with art, pandas, and Tiki ephemera along the way. You can read that full story here. Here are some examples of how maximalism informs my work.

Home Theatre. The funny thing is, my main motivation to build and finish walls in the basement has been the desire to display new art. The entire front section, my SHAG Tiki Room Theatre, was born out of my need to have a place to hang all of my Josh Agle art prints. And, obviously, a place to house my audio/video equipment so I can enjoy listening to music and watching video on a big screen. It was the first “room” I completed, though it’s never truly complete. I’m always finding places to squeeze in more stuff. Here’s a panoramic video view:

Dividing Wall. As I worked on finishing off the main Tiki bar and game room area, I realized two things. 1. I was running out of room to display my growing collection of Tiki mugs. 2. I had a SHAG Pink Panther 40th Anniversary poster I wanted to hang but had no place to put it. The solution? Build another wall! Only this time, I wasn’t simply framing up and drywalling against the outer foundation; this new wall was a kick-out partial wall, perpendicular to the outer wall. This served several purposes. Not only would I solve problems 1 and 2 above, but this new wall would also serve as a dividing line between two “rooms,” which were previously only separated by a sectional recliner facing the home theatre, a side Tiki bar facing the game room, and a heating duct. A functional place to hold more stuff – more is more! This was a brilliant solution, if I do say so myself. Here’s what it looks like, from both sides:

Polynesian Powder Room. A bonus canvas in my basement is the powder room, which is the only actual “room” down here. You can actually close the door and be apart from the rest of the space. Early on, I decided to make this place a tribute to Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort, my happy place. It started with a mirror and light sconces from the actual resort, then a repurposed bamboo shoe rack as a shelf to hold some collectibles, and of course lots of art and pictures. One of the last things I did was cover the heating duct with some tapa cloth to give it a Polynesian feel. This all makes for a pretty busy space, though it still gives you the feeling of an escape while you do your bathroom business. Whaddaya think?

Travelogue Wall. One of the last walls in the main Tiki bar area, as it transitions to my train room, is a space right next to my home office. I have a credenza from my old office against this wall, and I have some pictures from our Disney trips on it, so I decided to make this my travelogue wall. It includes memories of our wedding trip to Jamaica, photos and the show print from The Hukilau, a poster from a Wild Wildwood Tiki Weekend, and special framed family photos from trips to WDW’s Polynesian Village and Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room. There’s lots of other stuff that ended up here for lack of a better place, including two inflatable tubes from the Cabana Bay Resort at Universal Orlando, which we were forced to buy to ride their lazy river. I refused to leave them there, so I deflated them, brought them home, blew them back up and have them hanging from the ceiling. A little splash of color. More is more!

I hope this gives you a bit of an idea of how much stuff I’ve collected and display in A. Panda’s Tiki Lounge. There’s a lot down here, and all of it comes with a story, as my guests have found out! There’s no substitute for seeing it in person, so come on over, grab a Mai-Tai, and let me show and tell you what maximalism means to me.

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