A Tribute to Geoffrey Bawa's Legacy

Nestled between the breathtaking Bentota Beach and the Bentara River, Cinnamon Bentota Beach is a haven for those seeking a unique blend of relaxation, adventure, and artistic inspiration. While Cinnamon Bentota Beach is renowned for its exquisite locality and tranquil ambiance, this Luxurious retreat is also a sanctuary for the array of artistic masterpieces crafted by esteemed local artists, such as Ena De Silva, Laki Senanayake,Barbara Sansoni, and Ismeth Raheem. The Resort's commitment to celebrating the local artistic community and preserving Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage is evident throughout Cinnamon Bentota Beach.

A Journey Back in Time: Artistic Legacy of Cinnamon Bentota Beach

The roots of this artistic renaissance are deeply embedded in the history of the Bentota Beach Hotel, now known as Cinnamon Bentota Beach. Originally built in 1967 as part of a tourism development encouraged by the Government of Sri Lanka, it was designed by Geoffrey Bawa, one of the leading Asian architects of his time. Bawa's vision for the Resort marked a departure from conventional architectural norms, introducing what is known as Tropical Modernism – an architectural style characterized by minimalist aesthetics, designed in response to climatic and environmental shifts in tropical regions (Geoffrey is known as ‘the Father of Tropical Modernism’). This style embraces local materials, seamlessly blending with the natural surroundings. In the late 1990s, the Resort underwent a shift in aesthetics, diverging from Geoffrey Bawa's original visionary style. Fast forward to 2017, exactly 50 years after it was first opened to the public, the hotel embarked on a transformative journey to revive Bawa's distinctive vibe. Under the expert guidance of the local architect Channa Daswatte, the year 2019 witnessed a dedicated effort to restore the Resort to its initial glory, preserving the history and contemporary vision of Geoffrey Bawa.

A Return to Glory: Restoration of Iconic Masterpieces

One of the most remarkable aspects of the restoration was the recreation of iconic elements, such as the famous batik ceiling by Ena de Silva and Anil Gamini Jayasuriya, which embellishthe entrance. Under the guidance of Chandra Aluvihare, Directorof the Aluvihare Heritage Centre, more than 150 panels were meticulously recreated, showcasing the rich tapestry of Sri Lankan flora and fauna. The handloom fabric ceiling located in the Peacock Salon, mimicking the hues of the sunset, wasdesigned by Barbara Sansoni and Barefoot. It was reinstatedunder the guidance and support of Marie Gnanaraj, in 2019. Initial furniture designed by Bawa himself was reproduced to furnish the lobby and lounges. Brass panels on the copper backdrop of the lift doors were designed by the famed local Architect, Anura Rathnavibhushana, reminiscent of the designs by the Scandinavian designer brand Marie Mekko, Co-founded by Armi Ratia. These panels were a copy of the original made in the 1990s. Amidst the restoration process, the Peacock Salon's centerpiece, the iconic copper and brass Peacock sculpture by Laki Senanayake, remained undisturbed. Artist Pradeep Manamperi undertook the task of cleaning and restoring this cherished masterpiece, preserving its timeless charm. Painted wall panels, originally adorned using felt tip pens and Samara pigment on limewash as instructed by Geoffrey Bawa, were copied from the records kept by Ismeth Raheem.

Luxury Redefined: Artistic Accommodations at Cinnamon Bentota Beach

The artistic journey continues within the Resort's accommodations. Thirty rooms were transformed into sixteensuites, each bearing a name aligned to a specific theme. Each suit included a masterpiece designed by eight talented artists, which resonated with the theme of each suite. These suites boast a main artwork in the living room and several others in the bathrooms and dressing areas. Additionally, six archival Barefoot fabric designs by Barbara Sansoni were displayed behind the bed heads while custom-designed and woven cushions by Asanga Godamune added a touch of comfort and artistry.

Comics & Caricatures: Three-day Art Experiential Festival by
ARTRA Magazine

Cinnamon Bentota Beach is a place where nature and creativity converge, offering guests a truly unique and enriching experience. In line with its unwavering commitment tocelebrating the local arts community, Cinnamon Bentota Beach is delighted to announce the collaboration with ARTRAMagazine, to unveil its 65th Edition, titled "Comics & Caricatures." This publication is a pioneering local source committed to illuminating the rich tapestry of art and architecture in Sri Lanka. The launch of "Comics & Caricatures" will be a highlight of a three-day Art Experiential Festival, curated to captivate audiences from the 13th to the 15th of October – with art tours, exhibits, and inspiring art talk sessions, featuring Ismeth Raheem. ARTRA is set to guide the participants through an immersive art tour throughout Cinnamon Bentota Beach, showcasing the signature art pieces of thecelebrated local artists – Laki Senanayake, Ismeth Raheem, Ena de Silva and Barbara Sansoni. The Resort's commitment to art, culture, and heritage is not just admirable—it is a testament to the importance of art in modern society.

For tickets and festival day passes for ARTRA’S Art Experiential Festival | Bawa Brothers on 13 to 15 October and to pre-order a copy of the Comics & Caricatures 65th Edition, call +9477 570 1891. Guests attending the festival will be entitled to a special room offer from Cinnamon Bentota Beach, please contact +94 070 134 4748, for reservations. For more information, visit - ARTRA.LK Sri Lanka's Art Magazine | Visual Art Article | PROGRAMME OF AEF OCT 2023.

ARTRA Magazine’s Launch of the Comics and Caricatures Edition 65 & Art Experiential Festival | Bawa Brothers is supported by ARTRA’s partners with whom they have worked closely to bring to life this festival in all grandeur, namely the iconic Brief Garden by Bevis Bawa, French Embassy for Sri Lanka & Maldives, Nations Trust Bank Private Banking, theirExclusive Banking Partner, Cinnamon Bentota Beach, ARTRA’s Exclusive Hospitality Partner, the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau, their Art Tourism Partner, Daily Mirror, The Sunday Times, and Daily FT of Wijeya Newspapers, theirExclusive Print Media Partners and MTV, News First, Legends, and Yes FM of The Capital Maharaja Organization Ltd, Exclusive TV & Radio Partners.

9th October, 2023 Applied Art | Architecture