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TWC: Colombo, Sri Lanka

The brief was simple, capture and define the essence of a modern Sri Lanka corporate interior space. The address; WTC (World Trade Centre) one of Sri Lanka’s most sought after corporate and institutional addresses for trade and finance.

The client, TWC CEO and Founder, Thilan Wijesinghe who recently took up a new residence in WTC in doing so sought to use the space as a backdrop to something he holds dear to his heart – Sri Lankan heritage and craft. But the conundrum was, how were we to define something that hasn’t been done before and take the unknown to new heights?

“We have such a rich and abundant history of craft, heritage and skilled artisans that are being lost and forgotten – the time is ripe to celebrate and take our heritage to new levels”, says Wijesinghe.

Creative Director Robert Meeder and Interior Designer Sharon Joseph were selected to head and lead the project along with Romeish Dias, Director / General Manager at Turnkey Design; bringing an international tactile aesthetic with a contemporary touch of Sri Lankan craft - a dream project with challenges but long-term rewards.

“It was brilliant to have a client like Thilan, somehow who could see the power and believes in supporting craft and heritage. Someone who took a chance to bring local craft to Sri Lanka’s most important corporate address WTC. The key was to strike the right balance of materiality, details and tactility to key touch points and surfaces” says Meeder.

Getting the craft to such a high level requires a real hands-on approach and additional rounds of prototyping to get it just right. But it’s worth it in the long run as it's more an exchange of ideas and expression than just a technical design”, says Joseph.

There is so much potential to develop the craft sector but the approach and the way you work with it must change”, says Meeder. “One has to invest in the supply chain all the way to the local craft village level, sitting side by side and developing a respect for the artisan, not speaking down to them in a production vs. order approach but instead working collaboratively and creatively as one. This way it becomes an enriching sharing process where ideas and concepts are owned by all and all learn and grow from the process itself.

The key to achieving the right balance is all about curating the tactility of the space, taking into account the environment, light and how the materials make the user of the space feel whilst engaging all participants along the way - a true collaborative creative effort.