• A Sri Lankan Visual Feast

    Home & Design • By Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez • 10/02/2017 • 0 comments


    We love exploring new places as a family and, this year, I dreamt of a trip to Sri Lanka. I have never been to India and have been told by many people that Sri Lanka is considered "India Light" -- it has many similar facets to India with a fraction of the population. I wanted something relaxing as it would be our last trip as a family of 3 before the new addition arrives. The winning combo was a bit of nature, a bit of adventure, a bit of relaxation and immersion into a new culture. While our itinerary included safari and exploring Galle Fort, I was surprised to find myself inspired by the architecture and interiors that surrounded us. 


    Sri Lanka was a visual feast from beginning to end. On the safari leg of the trip, I got to explore stunning natural interiors as the resort managed to have both exterior and interiors blend seamlessly. I am a big fan of spaces that are "mindful", spaces that take into consideration the context of the space.  The safari lodge near Yala National Park was understated and it blended into the forest and its natural surroundings. The materials used to build the huts were also sourced locally, and the overall design did not compete with the wild surroundings.


    The drives to the park were breathtaking: lush forests, stunning birds (many gorgeous peacocks!), elephants, and the much sought after leopard. Even a flooded forest scene was so visually dramatic we had to stop and take it all in.


    In Galle Fort, the beauty was in its history and soul. The fort ramparts reminded me of how Manila's Intramuros could be developed and cared for. The colonial buildings and design were prevalent - many meals in these meticulously restored dining halls brought me back to another era. It was such a pleasure to be transported to another time, where things moved slower and colonial sophistication was at its finest.


    I had wanted to visit Geoffrey Bawa's villa Bentota, but did not find the time. He was another tastemaker that put together such beautiful spaces and was one of the most influential architects in Asia. I would love to save this for our next trip to Sri Lanka... next time, as a family of 4.




     Dramatic landscape: stretches of sand and blue.

    Such a peaceful color palette.


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    Leopard crossing in Yala national park. My favorite wild animal ... still obsessed with this print!



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    A scene out of the jungle book: elephants and waterlilies.




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    Natural interiors. Timber and cogon type roofing bring the outside in.



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    I love spaces where the exteriors and interiors blend. This resort called Chena Huts did that beautifully.



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    A colonial gem in Galle. Dark timber, white walls, tall ceilings, dramatic archways.



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    Colonial done right. Everything was on point, here, at the dining hall of this landmark hotel in Galle.



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    Exploring the architecture of Galle Fort.



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    Vibrant colors follow you everywhere in Sri Lanka.



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    A flooded forest turned into dramatic landscape.



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    The wild Sri Lankan coast -- I am inspired by this palette of aqua and sand ... very calming for interiors!



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    Old walls, vines and colonial day beds.



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    The stunning Amangalle landmark in Galle Fort oozes history and soul.



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    Stephanie Kienle-Gonzalez

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