Administering minimalist yet contemporary designs, Amoda Rathnayake; Managing Director of Amoda Rathnayake Associates, is endorsed with expertise and artistry nurtured by many components that speak to the heart of her clients and their design goals. As a result, she has turned a new page in architecture, generating stunning works of art that continue to captivate her devoted clients.
Taking a step back in time to her formative years, Amoda was only five years old when her father, unfortunately, passed away. However, her steadfast mother rose to the challenge without hesitation, raising her to be the person she is today. She spent her youth in the prosperous kingdom of Kandy, making great memories and living life to the best as her mother instilled the value of self-confidence from an early age, and she was given adequate latitude and nurtured to grow on her own. Mahamaya College, Amoda’s alma mater, served as a second home for her, where she discovered her interest in the outdoors and a physically active lifestyle. She talks of participating in sports like basketball, swimming, and athletics and prefers them over her school teachings.
As she recalls, her first ambition was to grow up to be a pilot so that she could fly and travel across the world. However, following the conclusion of her Advanced Levels, Amoda discovered her true vocation in art and design and pursued a degree in the discipline. She commenced her career after graduation at MICD Associates, where she worked under the supervision of senior architect Mourad Ismail. However, she had always envisioned establishing her own brand and not long after that, with this purpose in mind, she founded Amoda Rathnayake Associates four years later in 2015, and Jayabuilders Pvt. Ltd, the building arm of her design firm, in 2018.
When asked what incited her to start her own company and how ARA has fared so far, Amoda answers that her affinity to take risks in life and learn through experience prompted her to do so. As a result, she conducted her profession and trade independently after taking off on her own in 2012. After establishing ARA, she realized the requirement for her own construction team to assist with her design projects; thus, Jayabuilders Pvt. Ltd. was launched in 2018. She speaks on having delivered complete design solutions to a diverse range of clientele through these establishments, including individuals, startups, and even world-renowned multinational corporations, stating, “The success that we’ve garnered over the years has been humbling, to say the least.”
Reality does not always follow the law, and women continue to face discrimination in various ways worldwide. In response to a question on whether women face prejudice in the field of interior design because of their gender, Amoda conveys that female interior designers have a unique set of problems that require them to be strong and proud of their gender’s role in the industry. However, she notes that originality and the continual flow of eloquent thinking only account for a portion of the success formula. Amoda has been the only woman in a boardroom full of men or a site meeting full of experts from various fields. Still, she considers herself fortunate that she has a strong desire and capacity to understand people — from her employees to her clients and collaborators. She has demonstrated her ability to earn their respect and win their hearts, expressing, “I fiercely believe that respect is something that should be earned and not demanded.”
As to any company’s success, there are a few critical things Amoda has had to do for hers. Speaking on the first factor, she emphasizes the importance of determining the right people to work with as she is quite selective about her team. She believes that what she seeks in her coworkers differs significantly from what many other companies pursue in their employees. Before recruiting someone, Amoda looks for a candidate’s ‘Can-Do’ attitude, not their work skills, task capacity, family history, or language skills, as the only thing that matters to her is the rarely found trust, which can always perform wonders.
Furthermore, she determines the appropriate clients to work with as composition and conformity are crucial features in design, and the components of any successful strategy always function well together. Similarly, Amoda believes that her best work stems from the harmonious ties she forms with her clients, acknowledging the aspect of always needing to feel at ease and confident with potential clients and the projects she has approached. Finally, she discusses unconditional devotion, arguing that success is never by chance. It is always the product of perseverance and self-sacrifice. Above all, one must be passionate about their work to give it their all.
Looking into how Amoda handles a customer project and if her work is guided by an ethos or design philosophy, she conveys that her first rule in communicating with clients is straightforward, upfront, and honest. She always has high expectations of her clientele. This degree of contact is critical in genuinely understanding the clients and their needs, and she believes it provides her with an advantage over the competition and even herself. Secondly, Amoda talks about how she always falls in love with her work and invests emotionally in it as she approaches all of her undertakings. She continues by stating that she is not philosophical but feels that beauty creates beauty. Using her designs and paintings to beautify the environment around her, she does not believe any design ideas constrain her; instead, she appreciates simplicity and creativity.
Covid-19, like most sectors, has had a significant direct impact on the Architectural industry. Amoda discusses how construction is stalling and how difficult it is to find the resources they require, with the prices of the materials soaring due to import restrictions. But, as she sees it, they are not the only ones suffering from this problem worldwide. In times like these, she states that the best she can do is be optimistic and come up with inventive solutions to her difficulties. To combat the material shortage that her market is experiencing, they have begun producing many resources locally, which is also advantageous to the local economy. She goes on to add that, with or without the pandemic, life will always be difficult. As a result, she views things as challenges rather than issues. This mentality provides her with the courage and motivation to conquer challenges, and she claims that it is the best mindset she has found to help her go forward in life.
Amoda’s motivating advice to young and aspiring architects is to move forward with a ‘yes, I can!’ mindset and never use the words “no” or “can’t.” In addition, she highly emphasizes never giving up, no matter what, and always setting yourself out from the crowd. This is her success formula, and she is confident that it will work for everyone.
Amoda and ARA continue to value and respect their clients’ ideas and goals. They uncover ways to highlight the character of a design combined with their creativity by listening, watching, and cooperating closely with their clients. They always dedicate and drive themselves to make their clients’ goals a reality that exceeds their expectations. She ends her statement by voicing, “Paint your life with your own hands, don’t let others do it for you.”