Amongst a number of other wooden goods made locally, Sri Lanka is fundamentally known to excel in furniture while holding a special place in tradition and culture through centuries of skill and craftsmanship. Not having any particular on-top seating arrangements prior to the colonial times, furniture was inaugurated to the country sometime between the 16th to 20th centuries by the western colonizers of Sri Lanka. Finding exceptional quality wood locally, the furniture industry began its growth in manufacturing since then. As a result, many valuable ancient pieces of furniture play a significant role in today’s interiors while equally making space for fresh and new concepts.
Contributing to the Sri Lankan furniture industry today, with possession of talent and passion, Dilini De Silva brought to life Belle Living in the year 2016. “It’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve made and have not looked back ever since”, she states. Embarking on the journey of life and business together, both Dilini and her partner Druvi De Silva are the Managing Partners and Directors of the venture.
Belle, a word in French that translates to ‘beautiful’, is a concept Dilini converges on when carrying forth the fundamental structural elements for her clients’ interiors. “Making everything around me beautiful and tasteful is what gives me the greatest pleasure in life”, she asserts. With formerly held a series of key positions in corporate companies, Dilini has gained an ample amount of experience and exposure that propelled her to venture further into the world of interior design and furniture manufacturing. Maintaining a friendly, outgoing and creative personality, not only is Dilini an empowering woman in the work field sector, but she is also a devoted mom of two.
When it comes to expecting the best results from any creative department, providing a considerable amount of timing is salient. Therefore, while undertaking a best-fit project, the timeline is one of the few factors Dilini considers beforehand. “A larger percentage of fittings and furniture are produced in house and require lead time”, she reveals, “Depending on the magnitude of the project, having the flexibility to choose a suitable timeline is a key component when choosing a project.”
Aside from the pliable period, Dilini finds a personal liking towards makeovers and transformation. She deemed them her “choice initiatives” alongside ones that unfurl her creativity and unprecedented, innovative thinking. Attaining inspiration behind it all, she relishes being implemented with the exigent opportunity to explore new concepts. “Trying my hand at a novel, unchartered territories, though challenging, is a definite draw”, she responds.
Upon questioning Dilini what drives her style, she says, “Less is more, minimalistic concept and design is my forte.” While subtle colours and rich textures are also instrumental in her style, she believes that taking into account her client’s requirements is paramount. She considers it a perfect job to obtain a happy union by coupling their needs with an infusion of her design. Creating with a focus on bringing purpose to the assigned space, she additionally ensures the results are aesthetically appealing. Listing the elements that characterize her sense of flair, Dilini remarks, “Functional, enriched, aesthetics, would be key elements I consider when designing my projects.”
Dilini lets her creativity flow by focusing and giving prominence to a core piece of the element, thus composing a focal point and working her way around the rest of it. This allows her to compliment, contrast and bring out the best in the interior space.
While Dilini works around the innovative concepts and projects of the firm, Druvi unwinds and exerts his knowledge on strategizing the business and building the right clientele. With a friendly and free spirit and an easy-going character, he holds a noble background in sports. Having started his career as a management trainee at Airport Garden Hotel, he joined the Air Lanka cabin crew. Taking a detour from his job, later on, Druvi worked at Metropolitan Communications Pvt. Ltd. and CricHQ NZ before setting into the interior and furniture collusion industry alongside his life partner.
When asked about his project management style, he answers, “To use personal marketing and relationship marketing to acquire market share in specific markets.” Druvi endeavours to expand Belle Living globally, springing from the Asian Region and setting up their territories from there onwards. In discussing mistakes made and lessons learnt, he shared an experience attempting to replicate and import furniture; “We couldn’t get the exact design; thus, we managed to do our best to make it as close as the imported item and made it our own. As a result, we learned how to trust our original designs.”
While the furniture industry expands and plays a vital role in the interior sector, so does the duo’s vision for Belle Living. With incorporated ideas and plans to continue climbing up the ladder, Dilini and Druvi increase the essence of their modus operandi one project at a time.