Amazingly, even though Sri Lanka is a hub of maritime trade routes, with knives and forks and foreign crockery being introduced four hundred years ago, the country continues to use earthenware, recognising that food tastes so much better when cooked in these simple hand made vessels. In the fabulous Ward 57 open planned dining room each table has an earthenware terracotta pot with mint, thyme and rosemary, reminding us that this is the island of spices and herbs used to marinate and infuse food with layers of taste, while been overlooked by a stunning three shelves cooking pottery sculpture.
So, despite Europeans, since the 1505 invasion of the Portuguese with Francisco de Almeida, recognising Colombo as a pivotal trading post in the middle of the world and trying to change many things for the benefit of European trade, one thing that has remained immovable is the humble earthenware cooking pot. So if you want to discover more about the tradition of pottery in Sri Lanka, dating back to its proto history, this can be seen a short walk away from the recently opened Jetwing Colombo Seven Hotel at the fascinating National Museum.
Jetwing Colombo Seven, built on the land of the owner’s two family homes, is the result of centuries of evolution, colonisation, independence and today world class development and innovation that recognises the importance of blending the old with the new. Singapore, another key Asian trading port, once looked to Colombo during the 1960s for inspiration but today the tables have turned, or perhaps merged, as they show the world the rich diversity and architectural layers that have come together during the different periods of time that value both the contemporary and the historic. The Jetwing Colombo Seven architect from Singapore, Sim Boon Yang of Eco ID, has reversed the island’s most famous architect Bawa’s concept of inside outside living to outside inside design in the most brilliant and inspiring way. This may just be the start of using pottery and roof tiles in much more interesting and exciting configurations.