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SLDW 2018 to celebrate design in Sri Lanka

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Colombo Fashion Week and Responsible Fashion Movement Founder Ajai Vir Singh (second from right) addresses the media. From left: Leo Burnett Sri Lanka CEO Arosha Perera, Cargills Ceylon PLC Group Manager Rumaiz Rahim, University of Moratuwa Department of Integrated Design Senior Lecturer/Event Chair Dr. Sumanthri Samarawickrama, University of Moratuwa Department of Integrated Design Department Head Sithumini Rathnamalala and Balmond Studio Creative Director James Balmond also present – Pic by Ruwan Walpola


By Divya Thotawatte 

Sri Lanka Design Week 2018 (SLDW), a fête of product design, fashion and lifestyle design, media and communications design, is to take place delivering a range of platforms and experiences that will inspire design on multiple levels.

The Design Week will be held from 7 to 12 August at the Arcade Independence Square and is hosted by the Department of Integrated Design of the University of Moratuwa collaborating with Leo Burnett Sri Lanka, Balmond Studios, the Lanka Association of Designers and Design Development Corporation, while providing a platform for the program’s students, graduates and the industry’s best practitioners to display their design capabilities across a broad spectrum of design specialisations.

Colombo Fashion Week and the Responsible Fashion Movement Founder Ajai V. Singh, speaking at the press conference, stated: “I always felt that Sri Lanka has a very strong design sensibility and I think that it is appreciated in some fields, but not all the time. I feel that it is the right time now to position it in such a matter that it will be appreciated and gives a segregation to build on that. The generation that comes out of the university will be the first to benefit from that.”

Speaking on the collaboration for the project, Balmond Studio Creative Director James Balmond said: “One principle that drives us is the power of change. If we think about the world, it is in a constant state of flux, change, evolution. So change pretty much drives the whole universe and from our perspective it drives us to everything we do. So basically, why we’re here is the change, the design paradigm of Sri Lanka.”

He added that Sri Lanka had a very rich design tradition and as the economy and the industry was booming, the main objective of the Balmond Studio was to implement a lasting change. To do so, he said they would have to start from the background of the industry itself. 

SLDW 2018 will celebrate interactions, integrations and the innovations in creativity and design, amongst students, educators, practicing professionals and designers. The week will feature a compilation of mini-events around the theme ‘Design in Sri Lanka’ and will be dedicated to creating awareness of and conserving novel design knowledge.

Leo Burnett CEO Arosh Perera said that there were global brands that were blossoming up and that if the Sri Lankan industry stepped up to the plate and raised its standards, it would be a good starting point and global brands would use the local talent for their designs. 

“What is important is that this event really brings together the educators and the students, as well as the industries. That’s what is important. When the industries come together with the students, the students will get an understanding of what is required for the future. We need to start that dialogue on a national level,” he said.

The event will be inaugurated along with the awarding ceremony of the Lanka Design Award 2018, in partnership with Cargills (Ceylon). The four awards namely; Young Sri Lankan Designer Award, Young Global Designer Award, Young Sri Lankan Designer of the Year 2018 Award and the Most Popular Design Award will be presented at the event. The first two awards include the fields of product design, fashion and lifestyle design, media and communication.

The exhibition will be opened to the public on each day until 12 August from 8:30 p.m. to 7:30p.m. Along with the creations of the university’s graduates, there will also be an area dedicated to appreciate selected companies in Sri Lanka that have excelled in the local design industry and facilitated its transformation and growth while displaying their designs. 

One of the main highlights of the week, ‘Design Research Conference 2018,’ will be held on 11 August from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sports Ministry Auditorium, providing an opportunity for attendees to discuss industrial views, needs and expectations of design practice and design thinking along with an in-depth panel discussion.

A series of design talks and workshops highlighting the importance of design and how it integrates with other aspects of creativity will also be held over three days at the Lanka Foundation Institute with speeches and workshops conducted by nine reputed designers and academics from both local and international industry. 

“An ‘Interactive Live Studio Space’ will be dedicated to sharing some of the skills acquired by the students through design while the ‘Creative Thinker’ workshops will be aimed at school children from selected Western Province schools and will focus on nurturing young design minds on how to think out of the box,” stated Event Chair Sumanthri Samarawickrama. 

The SLDW 2018 will conclude with a fashion show featuring work of the university’s Department of Integrated Design on 12 August at Arcade Independence Square. The ‘Best Responsible Fashion Designer Award’ will be presented during the show. The fashion show is being held in partnership with Hirdaramani Group of Companies. 

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