Big Buddha from Buddha Bar halved, reborn in Miami Beach

Two weeks ago we wrote about the auction of the junk treasures at the shuttered Buddha Bar on Massachusetts Avenue NW, most notably the 12-foot-tall Buddha statue. The question, at the time, was how to extricate the Buddha from the building, whose doors and windows seemed too narrow for his wide, lotus-positioned legs to fit through. We now have an answer to that question. The statue’s buyer, D.C. attorney and bar owner David Chung (who bid $1,526), hired D.C. design and fabrication studio SwatchRoom to disassemble, transport and reassemble it at the Miami Beach estate of his friend Bill Dean, chief executive of Dulles-based M.C. Dean. SwatchRoom tipped the fiberglass Buddha on his back, sliced through his chest (and its thin steel skeleton) with a cut-off wheel, then crated and shipped him in two parts. SwatchRoom co-founders Warren Weixler and Maggie O’Neill put the Buddha back together in Miami Beach this week using a bondo-like material, sand, prime and re-finish. O’Neill has some experience with fiberglass statues. She created “Pandela Anderson,” the buxom panda statue that lived outside Café Milano for a time. SwatchRoom sent us photos of the project, which actually seems like it was a piece of cake. Consider us enlightened:


Weixler midwifes the rebirth of the Buddha.

 


Weixler and O’Neill with the reassembled Buddha in Miami Beach.

Warren Weixler and Maggie O’Neill of SwatchRoom with the top half of the Buddha.

 

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Dan Zak is a feature writer and general assignment reporter based in the Style section. He joined the Post in 2005, after stints as an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a city-desk reporter and obituary writer at The Buffalo News.

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Emily Yahr · March 27, 2014