Just five months after opening its doors, the Asahi Grill at the corner of Keeaumoku and Rycroft in Honolulu was bustling and busy at lunchtime on a recent Thursday.

With marble flooring, cherry paneling and dark-wood beams suspended from a vaulted ceiling, hung with light fixtures crafted of green glass and metal, the restaurant seemed sophisticated and inviting.

“We get a lot of compliments,” said Susan Rosario, manager of the new restaurant. “It’s a modern, elegant design. Especially the bathrooms! Ken did a really good job.”


Rosario was referring to Ken Lau, architect at Pro Build Hawaii Construction and a designer of the new Asahi Grill. A partner in the 5-year-old design/build firm, Lau says he planned the restaurant’s look with a commitment to elegance and perfection.

“The washroom was only supposed to be white with a single washstand, not marble and granite,” said Lau. “As a contractor, I always think about how to make things nicer for clients.”

Lau started out building luxury apartments in his native Hong Kong back in the 1990s, and then in China, Japan and Singapore. “Apartments there can be three or four times more expensive than in Hawaii, so there’s great demand for high-quality contractors.” He would eventually bring his construction and renovation expertise to Hawaii.

Pro Build, Lau’s full-service Honolulu firm, has found its niche in world-class construction, additions and renovation, offering services such as architecture and design, permitting, construction management, electrical and plumbing services and interior design. With a team of 10 that includes architects, construction managers and skilled carpenters, the company specializes in exotic materials like marble, porcelain and stone tile; oak, bamboo hardwood, and engineered laminate flooring; and granite and marble countertops.


The company’s current projects include a 4,000-square-foot glass and metal Aina Haina ocean-front home designed for a Japanese client. It’s modern and sparse, with bedrooms on the ground floor and kitchen, living and dining area on the second floor, connected by a huge exterior spiral staircase.

The firm specializes in elegant international style, according to Joseph Jovenal, a project manager and architectural designer with Pro Build. “We listen to our clients, in terms of the style, color, materials and finish work they prefer, and we try to mix American/local style with that.”

Jovenal and Lau have done many projects under their own banners and as part of Pro Build’s team. Their portfolio includes the Canton Seafood Restaurant on Keeaumoku, Hana Sushi in Hawaii Kai, Dr. William

Lum’s office in Mililani, Sushi San at Ala Moana Center, and Dish Go Restaurant in Moililili — think yakiniku with a conveyor belt.


As the young firm expands, modern technology has emerged as an important part of the way it does business. Members of the Pro Build team use iPhones to communicate with subcon-tractors and suppliers — and especially with clients, who receive a steady flow of notes and photos of the ongoing construction “from the foundation up,” according to Jovenal.

“We want to build trust from start to finish,” he said. “When the house is done and we hand over the key, we want them to sleep well — and we want to sleep well, too.”

CONTACT: 478-1628 • Probuildhawaii@gmail.com
WEBSITE: probuildhawaii.com


Image 1 of 2