SHANGRI LA Doris Duke Estate
It's located in Oahu, Hawaii. The location is popular as it is in Black Point , a surfing spot, in the east of Diamond Head. Doris Duke Estate, so-called "SHANGRI LA" is owned by this American millionaire, Doris Duke. This building named "Utopia", stands in the land of approximately 1300m2 with a superb landscape and it's an art work as Doris phrased it as "it would never be completed" and she spent her whole life on decorating it.
Doris Duke was born in NY in 1912 as the only daughter of James Buchanan Duke who was a prominent founder of tobacco company and electric power company. She was called "a million dollar baby" and received a lot of attention from public, however, when she was 12 years old, her father had deceased and she inherited all his assets. She got married at the age of 22, and spent a year on her honeymoon visiting Syria, Turkey and India. In Syria and Turkey, she was mesmerized by ceramic tiles and their ornaments. In India, she was inspired by Taj Mahal shining white in the moonlight and she was determined to build a white mansion. She got antiques and ivories in Shanghai and Bangkok and she fell in love with Honolulu, a final destination. She learned swimming and surfing from a surfer god, Duke Kahanamoku and his brother in the quiet environment without any distraction. She utterly enjoyed this active and free lifestyle there.
She decided to build a house in this paradise and purchased a prime land command a view enjoying Diamond Head. Architecture design was done by an American architect, Marion Sims Wyeth influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. He proposed the space design applying difference of elevation and simplified the space without any decoration. In that space, Doris took a lead and reproduced her favorite decoration with antiques, tiles and textiles from Syria , Turkey and Iran and with Indian white marble. The ceiling was decorated with wooden work by an artist, Rene Martin from Morocco.
Doris passed away in 1993 and by her will "Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art" was established to let SHANGRI LA have a public exposure.
Doris Duke who loved ocean, devoted everything to SHANGRI LA and it is suitable be called it an art. Inquiries for tours are addressed to Honolulu Academy of Arts.