Home / Property/Construction/ A-list designers revealed as team behind new super-prime Colombo residential tower

A-list designers revealed as team behind new super-prime Colombo residential tower

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 3 September 2018 00:00


Operating in Sri Lanka through its 100% subsidiary WelcomHotels Lanka Ltd., luxury Indian hotelier ITC Hotels has released eagerly awaited details about its first-ever branded residential project. 

Sapphire Residences takes centre stage on the prestigious Galle Face, the ceremonial heart of Colombo. Comprising 132 private residences averaging a remarkable 5,000 square feet living area (penthouses are 9,325 square feet), all apartments benefit from 180° panoramic views of the city, lake and ocean, floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings.

The Sapphire Residences are scheduled to launch onto the market in Q4 2018 with Sotheby’s International Realty. The impressive Experience Centre (accessed from New BaladakshaMawatha in front of Beira Lake) opened last month. The web site www.sapphireresidences.lk went live on Friday.

The development is symbolic of a modern Sri Lanka which remains true to its roots. Accordingly the ITC One hotel and Sapphire Residences are modern skyscrapers with a futuristic illuminated exterior wrapping around each tower, while the interiors draw inspiration from the rich architectural history of Sri Lanka and incorporate elements of local architecture and vernacular practices. 

Set to redefine uber-luxury vertical residential living in the Indian Ocean region, the extensive mixed-use development also includes a private Residents’ Club offering over 40,000 sq. ft. of leisure amenities for the exclusive use of homeowners and their guests. Conceptualised by YOO Inspired byStarck, these include several swimming pools, cinema, residents’ lounge and library, outdoor amphitheatre, full-service spa (with steam, sauna and treatment rooms), gymnasium and fitness centre, yoga room, squash court, indoor multi-purpose sports court, function rooms, ‘hobby’ studio, teens’ and kids’ lounges and a lawn play area. 

Destined to become a globally recognised landmark for the city, the iconic design was the brainchild of a world-class international team lead by US architectural firm Gensler, which created the two distinctive parallel towers connected by a sky bridge, with the residential interiors by London-based YOO working with Philippe Starck in Paris and landscaping by BuregaFarnell in Singapore. 

WelcomHotels Lanka Ltd. Managing Director Arun Pathak said: “Our objective was to develop a new icon for the country on this ultra-prime Colombo coastline that would be recognisable across the globe. This inspired us to bring together and collaborate with an exceptional team of international designers to deliver this truly striking development, comprising the finest collection of apartments and penthouses in the region.”

The new development, currently under construction with completion expected in 2021, comprises a 224 metre tall residential tower, set alongside a 140 metre tall hotel. Connecting the buildings at the 19th and 21st floors is a 54-metre long sky bridge, which incorporates a stunning bar and lounge on the lower level with spectacular lake, city and ocean views, above which sits an exterior pool and sunbathing deck. Elegant offices available for lease or rent and high-end retail complete the mixed-use facilities on offer. With extensive landscaping throughout the complex, the drop-off areas, lobbies and retail components are elevated to the second level, whilst at the fourth level above this are a pool deck and an event deck (for the hotel’s conference centre).

Situated between Beira Lake and the Galle Face Ocean front, Gensler has thoughtfully designed each tower using an innovative triangular plan to maximise the uninterrupted views from each apartment across the Indian Ocean and the city.Engineered with no external supporting walls, uninterrupted light flows into every residence, accentuated by almost 4 metre floor to ceiling heights (c.5 metres in the penthouses). Well-engineered blackout blinds ensure a good night’s sleep. 

The spectacular apartment interiors are by YOO inspired by Starck. Responsible for numerous interior design projects around the world, visionary creator Philippe Starck has drawn inspiration from the island culture and the serendipitous nature of Sri Lanka for his work at Sapphire Residences. There are four interior design styles available, giving residents the opportunity to choose a distinctive theme to suit their individual lifestyles:

  • Nature: Airy rooms with white oak floors and light fabrics. Sun-filled spaces shaped by organic materials, as well as soft and textured finishes designed to instil a sense of freedom, health and freshness in your living experience.
  • Culture: Spaces designed to socialise and engage with family and friends. Culture has a richer and darker material palette, eclectic mixture of furniture representing the different cultures of the world designed to instil a sense of cool vibrancy and happening in your living experience.
  • Minimal: Pure and simple layouts to enhance space and light, creating a quiet and calm ambience designed to instil a light, calm and tranquillity in your living experience.
  • Classic: Interiors that are refined, sleek, with strong colour ways and dark wood finishes. It reflects the natural elements and textures from nature designed to instil a sense of finesse and sophistication in your living experience.

Discussing his work as Yoo Inspired by Starck for Sapphire Residences, his first project in Sri Lanka, Philippe Starck said: “YOO projects, and Sapphire Residences in particular, are about You. I wanted to create a place that draws people together, that makes them laugh, make them more in love, more sparkling, more intelligent. I wanted to create fertile surprises to awake people, to create conversations, to create interactions. A place where we humans are at its heart. “

Each apartment will be pre-wired to enable the fitting of Home Automation Systems, bringing a state of the art ‘internet of things’ experience to a sublime environment and placing control at its occupants’ fingertips. Serviced from a dedicated central control panel in each residence, the system can also be controlled and managed from a tablet or mobile phone and is designed to standards that allow it to evolve in line with technological advances in future. Voice recognition equipment can be integrated with the room controls and AV systems, allowing a superlative digitally controlled home automation experience. 

The hotel is crowned by a helipad (the only one being built in the vicinity) that cannot only be used by VIPs, guests and residents, but also to meet medical and other emergencies and evacuation needs in the area. The helipad facility in the prime business district serves to upgrade Colombo’s urban infrastructure on the lines of what is available in premier cities across the world.  ITC Hotels has developed and operates more than 100 hotels in over 70 destinations across the country, but the ITC One hotel and Sapphire Residences is the company’s first development in Sri Lanka. The company’s commitment to planet positive luxury experiences guarantees an outstanding luxury residential development with five-star hospitality services created around its unwavering principles of ‘Responsible Luxury’ and ‘Enduring Value’. In line with this ethos, Sapphire Residences has already achieved the prestigious and globally respected pre-certification rating for LEED BD+C (Core and Shell Development) at the highest Platinum level. 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Private or State hospitals? State, of course!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Framing the debate For those of us who can afford them, the question is often raised whether we should go to the neighbourhood private hospital or State hospital when sick. The purpose of this article is to share my experience over my lifetime in alw

Teaming up with the CIO for a journey towards transformational ERP

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation with a focus on a business outcome can bring significant competitive advantage across every area of the business. Earlier, it was the CIO who had to figure out the design and implementation of the

CRIB – Individual Credit Score

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

With the recent announcement of releasing credit scores of banked citizens commences a new chapter of the country’s lending industry. The General Manager of the Credit Information Bureau (CRIB) Nandi Anthony stated that the Bureau plans to release

Doomsday experts and entrepreneurial policymaking

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Views of two economic experts caught my eye last week. While one has given a scathing criticism of the Government for its handling of the economy, the other has given an analysis of the so-called “debt problem” of Sri Lanka. Doomsday scenario by

Columnists More