Taj is commemorating the centenary of Sri Lanka’s leading architect, with a journey through Geoffrey Bawa’s distinctive ‘Tropical Modernist’ architecture and design influences in Chennai and Colombo. Rejecting ornamentation, embracing minimalism, and drawing from the environment around him, Bawa showed generations of Southeast Asian designers how to stay local, indigenous and yet offer an international hallmark of design.
Experience his work first hand with a visit to Taj Connemara, Chennai. Dating back to 1854, the hotel is a proud relic of the colonial era and is named after Lord Connemara, the then Governor of Madras. Bawa updated the classic architecture of the hotel with a striking grand staircase and an impressive swimming pool. Known for combining modernity with traditional architectural features, Bawa used wooden carvings sourced from the 16th and 17th century temples of Mahabalipuram and combined it with the clean lines of the 1970’s. Guests can imbibe the hotel’s eclectic architectural element as the stories unfold on the Connemara Heritage Walk.
After a short direct flight to Colombo, guests can check-in to Taj Samudra, which overlooks the historic Galle Face Green with enchanting views of the Indian Ocean. The world-renowned Golden Keys Concierge will take guests on a specially curated ‘Art and Architecture’ tour to showcase Bawa’s No. 11 Residence. A short-drive away, guest can explore the Lunuganga Country Estate through guided walking and boat tours. Guests will be regaled with fascinating stories of the legend as they spend the day in the tropical version of the European Renaissance garden; considered as Bawa’s first muse.