Indula Jayalath, one of Sri Lanka’s finest- leading Interior Architects, is a creative mastermind who has allowed his passion to become his purpose and this purpose to become his profession.
From his younger days Indula had a keen eye for Art, however not all Artists share the same success story as he does. What stood him out from the ordinary is his knack, ambition and dedication along with his unyielding personality that encouraged him to always deliver his best.
For him, Interior Designing is not just a profession, it is his way of life.
“Over the years, it helped me to develop and to have a deep understanding of the relationship the way that design plays to our emotional, physical as well as psychological wellbeing. Using the set of tools of interior design, showing people how to create beautiful personal unique living spaces that translate into balance, organization and beauty in their external world and also how to create productive spaces in style has become my passion.”
He shared his story along with a few insights on what is happening in his chosen field.
Define Interior Design as you feel it
A good interior design is not only what meets the eye. It emulates the power to fill your senses and feel it in your heart. People think designing is so simple and anyone can do it, but it isn’t. It is so complicated and challenging and goes through a tedious designing process before it is finally delivered. I believe people are much happier and energetic in a good, clearly designed space.
What is your Designing Process?
For every project, I create my own design on a blank canvas for the client to see because I believe designing is a form of art. I am privileged that most of my clients trust and understand me whilst giving me the freedom to create designs that I truly believe in. This in return helps me to give my 100% and transfer my design -imagination to them.
How do you decide which projects are a good fit for you?
I do hospitality, corporate to residential projects, so it depends on the client as well as the genre of the project. When a space is given, you have to have a deep understanding of the space and visualize what elements go where and how to make it work practically.
Do you welcome client involvement or do you prefer clients to be hands-off?
I prefer to work with clients who understand my design language, that way there is a mutual understanding and a trust. When a client tells me what they want to be done, I refine it with my ideas and designs and get their feedback. It is important that I do this especially when it comes to residential projects because at the end of the day they are the ones who live there.
Does your design tell your story or your clients?
Clients who want their interior spaces designed by me are the ones who understand my design language. What I do is, tell their story in my language- that way there is a striking representation of both.
What is your trademark?
Elegance and simplicity. I don’t like when designs are claustrophobic, I like to keep it minimalistic and allow elements to sync in. For every project, I give meticulous attention to the design details in order to get the perfect ambience according to the theme I create.
Where do you find inspiration?
Anything you find in the day-to-day life could be translated as a design inspiration. I follow eclectic design forms like Sri Lankan colonial designs to up-to-date Global design trends. Sometimes I like to mix and match modern furniture and design elements with traditional designs tastefully, which creates an interesting look. However, everything depends on the client preference, some like antique/ rustic spaces while some like modern- trendy, simple-clean interior spaces, and I find my inspiration accordingly.
What do you find most challenging about designing?
It is difficult to construct elements to get the perfect finesse. Sometimes when we make custom furniture we even get it down from abroad. Once I remember I wanted to get a chair custom made and it was so tough to perfect the finish it needed to be redone five times.
What is your project-management style like?
I give it all I have, that way I know what the people who work with me are up to as well. My main focus throughout the entire process is to ensure I deliver the project I had envisioned when I started, with nothing less than improvements!
How do you stay up to date?
I travel a lot. When I do, I always explore and immerse in the local interior architecture to find inspiration. I also do what everyone else does, I’m on social media platforms like Instagram, I even refer to books and magazines to keep myself updated but I always make sure to create my identity and have my own designs without following trends.
What is more important, a great idea or a good budget?
You can’t achieve a high-end design with a cut-down budget. So, I try to work in my designs to fit the budgets clients give me. However, low the budget is I always try to keep things minimalistic and classy and not tacky. So, I guess a good designer knows how to work in a great idea regardless of the budget, but having said that if there is a good budget there is so much you can do!
Do you think designers are born or made?
It has to be in your blood, I know one can learn skills and improve, but the eye for designing comes from within. I have been painting since I was a child, and at Royal College, I learnt to brush up on my skills.
When I went to Canada to learn about Interior Architecture I developed further. I used to work in an Interior Architecture firm in Canada which helped me to further polish my set of skills.
After returning home from studies I used to work at MICDA under Murad Ismail for a while, who was a great mentor and helped my journey a great deal as well.
What is your stress buster?
I travel a lot and unwind.
What is your greatest support system?
It is my loving parents. I was selected to the local university but they still gave me the freedom to study abroad and learn the subject. My parents have stood behind me from the get-go, supported me and therefore have been my greatest strength. I also have a supportive bunch of friends that I am grateful for.
Why are you different from any other Interior Architects?
I give 100% to detail and delivery of the project. Things could be as minute as accessories that goes in, and vary from lighting, ambience, furniture, colour palette to anything else that goes into the project. Everything has a purpose and a reason behind it that has a dramatic impact on the final delivery of the project.
For me, it is my instincts and the final look I have envisioned in my head, which I am always adamant, see coming to life.
By Amali Dissanayake
Photography By: Sidath Wanaguru
Gallery: Creating Ethereal Settings that Hold an Artistic Allure