Linda Speldewinde, Founder and Chairperson of Design Corp, released its new vision for Craft and Design with the new annual Island Craft collection being unveiled alongside announcing the work of AOD’s Design For Sustainable Development Foundation (DFSD). A vibrant new range of Island Craft interior, homeware and textiles, “Designed and Made in Sri Lanka” will be shown from 28th June -10th July 2018 at 33S store, 33, Lauries Road (next to AOD) in Colombo. The opening on 28th June evening took place with representatives of government, international high commissions & associations as well as senior executives of high end hotel and travel businesses.
Design Corp’s Island Craft partners with rural artisans in Sri Lanka to produce high quality hand-made items. Island Craft previously worked primarily with high-end and boutique hotels interested in showcasing the best of Sri Lankan craft in their rooms and restaurants. Island Craft’s newest release marks its increased availability to retail customers who can browse the range in newly renovated showrooms at 33S, 33 Lauries Road in Colombo (next to the AOD campus) and online (www.islandcraft.lk)
Lin Gong-Deutschmann, Managing Director of Design Corp, added at the appointment of Victoria Walker - the Honorary President of Sri Lanka’s Design for Sustainable Development Foundation at the event, “We are delighted about this latest appointment as it will give an added impetus to the Foundation, particularly its work on helping to preserve and promote Sri Lanka’s craft heritage” she said. Ms Walker is an international relations expert with over 25 years experience as a senior officer in the Australian foreignservice. She will bring to the position of Honorary President expertise she garnered from postings in Laos, Canada, India, and as Australian Consul General to Chicago, and from her work in areas including sustainable development, women rights and international environment agreements. Accepting her new position, Walker added ''I look forward to helping forge even stronger links between the Design for Sustainable Development Foundation and the community in Sri Lanka – both local and international”. She also believes that great design is about more than the end product. It’s about being both creative and innovative and looking at a problem from different angles and the foundation’s aim is to use great design as a way to scale-up this work with rural artisans, develop their craft to a higher level and to find markets so that they can make a decent living.
Lin also added the mission of Island Craft is to retain the Sri Lankan craft heritage, make it more appealing and more accessible to the global audience through a contemporary design and modern retail business models. ‘Our inspiration is to wed our love for Sri Lankan traditions with European modernism, to illustrate how culture and heritage is rooted in graphics, shapes, colors and abstractions.’
The Design For Sustainable Development foundation (DFSD) supports Sri Lankan artisans, primarily in rural communities including in post-conflict areas in the north and east, by helping to preserve Sri Lanka’s craft heritage. Established in 2011, DSDF’s focus is on making an impact through design by promoting design innovation and excellence in craft and textiles. This includes a strong focus on sustainability, sound environmental practices, and women’s empowerment.
Thoughts on DFSD
‘The local artisans have a lot of potential but no direction so I am happy what DFSD is doing to give direction to make the commodity sellable’
Ajith Wijesekera, Managing Director , Union Resorts
'AOD is encouraging an industry that is very rewarding, especially because it’s creating employment and development in the rural areas. On behalf of BOI, I wish AOD all the very best and we look forward to working closely to take this project forward.'
Nilupul De Silva, Director (Promotion), BOI Sri Lanka
‘It’s one of the pioneering platforms of its kind in Sri Lanka which gives an opportunity for the designers to work with local crafts and been able to communicate with the local craftsmen. We have had many successful partnerships with DFSD Island Craft.’
Ruchi D Jeyanathan, Archietect- The contemporary design studio
‘Coming from a rural background and as someone from been in active politics, I see immense amount of talent when it comes to design but the lack the focus and innovation lense to channel their synergy so that we have internationally accepted designs. What AOD and DFSD is doing gives immense potential for this country’s future.'
Mayantha Dissanayake , Member of Parliament