Going by the motto of preserving heritage, Lak Arcade is the newest addition to Colombo’s stratosphere. Located in Staple’s Street, Union Place, it is a novelty gift and souvenir mall that has all of the traditional Sri Lankan crafts under one roof. Whether it’s an ornamental piece, or a devil mask or even batik, they have it all.
Their main goal is to support the Sri Lankan craftsmen by showcasing their talents and give their products the proper value it deserves all the while preserving the diminishing art of crafting for at least another few millenniums. They have been able to elevate the living conditions of the humble craftsmen living all over Sri Lanka by gaining a huge profit margin for their masterpieces.
Lak Arcade showcases wooden items, tea and spices, gem and jewellery, metal crafts, rush and reed products, leather and ceramic creations, textiles and much more. The Senior Product Design Consultant for Lak Arcade, Mr. Senaka Silva says that their main point of differentiation is branding the products with a unique backstory and their one-of-a-kind packaging. For example, Lak Arcade has handcrafted terracotta jewellery by the brand name Fire and Ice and with a small backstory attached to it.
Along with the distinctive creations, the branding plays a major role in positioning these crafts in the customers’ mind while differentiating them from the crowd. This has never been done with local crafts before and they believe this will create a huge leap in the local craft industry.
Lak Arcade features a set of unique creations, which include seashell jewellery, jewellery made out of waste paper, wooden fridge magnets, framed wall hangings of miniature traditional Sri Lankan drum sets, ceramic elephants, Sinhala embroidery cushions and many more.
Mr. Anil Koswatte who is the chairman and CEO of Lak Arcade shared some thoughts with us. He said that the government has nourished the industry for many years and it is the private sector’s time to do their part. Mr. Koswatte says that the main problem is the craftsmen not getting an appropriate price for their valuable creation, thus leading to the fading away of the industry. As well as the industry lacks timely marketing and new product development and designs. His opinion is that if the private sector is involved with the industry, it will definitely sustain. The objective of Lak Arcade is to make the industry of arts and crafts sustainable through marketing, new product development and proper pricing thereby increasing the profit of the craftsmen which will lead to the taking over of the professions by the younger generation, which is not happening now. They have introduced new product designs such as, framed wall hangings of miniature traditional Sri Lankan drum sets, which would otherwise not be bought if it was in their real size and is unusable as a souvenir, but in this way, Lak Arcade has been able to preserve the heritage as well as make it a souvenir, so the components of our culture will travel around the world showcasing the pride of Sri Lanka.
In time to come, this small step will create a huge difference in the arts and crafts industry of Sri Lanka, preserving our culture indefinitely.