Dutch-Era and Sri Lankan Furniture

Sri Lanka is a great nation with a proud history. Its unique traditions and customs are as rich as any other nation. But from time to time, Sri Lankan culture has been subjected to various direct and indirect forces from the outside world. Sri Lankan tradition has evolved throughout the centuries by responding to the trends from the outside world but also has been further developed to align with local preferences.

Sri Lanka was colonized by the western powers (Portuguese, Dutch and British) from 1505 to 1948. Shadows of the western influence remain in the country to the present day. Expatriates of all three nations settled in Sri Lanka and some of their traditions and trends eventually got rooted in the country. Dutch furniture and British architecture are such significant influences.

Furniture craftsmanship and production increased during the colonial period. Acquiring ornate furniture became a trend among the colonists and high ranking local elites. During the Dutch era, furniture was initially imported from Holland, but local craftsman soon incorporating the Dutch designs into local furniture. Their influence is so extensive, that even Dutch words were incorporated into the local vocabulary – e.g. “almari” for cupboard, “kanappuwa” for stool, “lampu” for lamp.

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Why teak?

Locally known as THEKKA (තේක්ක), teak is a tropical hardwood tree species and is highly valued due to its aesthetic, durability and water resistance. Teak has adorned the residences of high society for centuries. It was the Dutch that brought it to the rest of world from its native countries in the south and south-east East Asia – mainly Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar.

It is what is hidden beneath…

The main attribute that makes teak so valuable is the unique oil that the tree produces that protects it against the environment. As the tree matures, the oil eventually saturates the entire plant that can protect it from insect infestation and fungus growth causing decay. This robustness has made teak one the most versatile and adored timbers in the world, and with a little substitute, it will remain prized for years to come. So teak furniture is not only appreciated for in its robust utility but has the potential to be a solid investment in the future.

PRIMROSE continues the traditions set by various mid-20th century Scandinavian designers whose legacy have brought teak into a more modern and contemporary era. Our skilled craftsman endeavour to maintain the timber’s exquisite golden brown grain while to PRIMROSE’s minimalistic design philosophy.

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Message from our Lead Designer

Our vision at PRIMROSE is to showcase traditional craftsmanship techniques with raw and natural beauty of the hardwood timber.


Wood is central to our design philosophy. We appreciate the natural look of wood, so we strive to produce furniture to not only reveal
its organic beauty but also be versatile in its application.

We are passionate about supporting the local furniture sector. Collaborating with local craftsmen, PRIMROSE endeavours to produce HIGH QUALITY furniture that blends comfort, durability, and aesthetics.

Sachithra Thilakarathne

B.Des (Furniture Design)

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Who We Are?

PRIMROSE is primarily focused on supplying high-quality, locally manufactured, solid wood furniture. We are a unique design house that blends minimalist and mid-century design with classical craftsmanship techniques of Sri Lanka. Our furniture is crafted by local artisans whose skills have been handed to from past generations.
All furniture has been carefully crafted from the local sourced, high quality TEAK wood. PRIMROSE takes pride on being LOCALLY OWNED and the furniture pieces being LOCALLY DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED.

Our team of furniture designers can design and build CUSTOM pieces to suit the unique needs of our clients.
We can consult on how to tailor the furniture to compliment other furniture in a room and highlight architectural features.

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