At Home in Sri Lanka – James Fennell, Tom Sykes
A decade after the publication of Living in Sri Lanka, photographer James Fennell revisits the ‘Paradise Isle’ to discover exactly what it is that makes a great Sri Lankan home. Travelling with writer Tom Sykes, he has visited numerous houses and taken thousands of photographs, as well as interviewing owners, interior decorators, architects, stylists and designers. Collectively, the twenty-six properties showcased in this book – the very best examples – capture the essence of elegant Sri Lankan living. Sri Lanka is a place of geographic and cultural contrasts, and its best architecture is structurally versatile, using features such as overhanging roofs, slatted walls and courtyards to cope with intense sunshine and sudden downpours in equal measure. Also in the interior, climatic factors dominate even the most luxurious homes: valuable antiques and art give way to simple pieces of furniture, batiks, prints and artfully crafted cushions, with colour or shadow used creatively to enliven expansive walls. From the colonial grandeur of actress Gillian Anderson’s secluded retreat and the sumptuous Wallawwa hotel to works by the celebrated architects Geoffrey Bawa (Claughton House; Paradise Road The Villa Bentota) and Anjalendran (The Crooked House; Mount Cinnamon), the structures in this book have one thing in common: they embrace the unpredictable natural environment, seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor living.