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Meet Chayneeka Jayawardena From Akara Design Studio

Sometimes, all it takes is just one person to believe in your ability to succeed. This couldn’t be more true for Chayneeka Jayawardena, interior designer at Akara Design Studio. As an architect, designer and artist, she took a leap of faith and started her own design studio as a means to live out her passion. Let’s hear more about what her brand means today…

Tell us about your background?

I am an Architect by trade. My career path has taken me on a spontaneous journey, after four years in corporate and retail architecture industry; I made the bold decision to start up my own interior design studio. This was all influenced by my mentor Erica Schalkwyk director of Form Interiors. I approached her while job hunting and she saw potential in me starting up my own business. She mentored me for a year to get it up and running. So, it only took one person to believe in my ability to get this business going.

My background in architecture has allowed for us to create a niche for ourselves as interior Architects. Our expertise is focused on newly built projects, where we are involved from the ground up. Together with the clients and architects, this holistic approach gives the client and project a more turnkey solution. This aids the project to be well-curated from the architectural design, space planning to interior design, project management and final installation.

Tell us about the history of the company and your ultimate focus?

The interior side of Akara Design Studio is 3 years old this year, but the company started 5 years ago selling décor and artwork which I created. This led to a deeper passion for interior design, and this is where I found my true calling.

The ultimate focus is to grow the business and do projects globally. We would love to expand our project scope into hospitality and the dream project is to design and work on hotels and lodges.

What personally inspires you in your working life?

Being able to travel and see other incredible interiors and buildings around the world. Being able to design and see it materialise and come to life. We love being part of that process and seeing it all come together like a big puzzle.

What are some considerations when designing an interior?

There are so many considerations to look at all in one go, as an interior space is always layered in the design process. Never isolate your design approach and secondly understand the client’s needs, lifestyle and design taste first.

What is your favourite current product?

I have recently worked with Infinity stone and Sapien stone to create furniture and feature walls. This product allows for many applications and is so versatile, you can create some wonderful designs with these products.

Any exciting projects or collaborations you are involved in?

We currently have two new build projects in Cedar Creek Estate and Waterfall Village. These projects are due for completion mid-year 2022, so we are excited to get into the final finishing stages of these projects.

Which designer inspires you?

There isn’t a specific designer, however locally I must say Soata, Arcc & Fox Brown are doing some astonishing work worldwide. It is inspiring to see our local talent excel.

The perfect place in your home to indulge?

It has to be the living spaces, that perfect spot with a comfy couch and morning sunlight, that always distracts me if I am working from home.

What are your current favourite restaurants or shops?

Razor Charlie in Kramerville is one of our favourite spots to get a really good toasted cheese sandwich and chips. The space is decorated with quirky artefacts and makes you feel like you are in Zanzibar sitting at a local café. It’s a nice escape after a long day running around Kramerville.

My favourite shop is The Grand Living in Kramerville. They have a large collection of locally made furniture, and can custom make any furniture design we come up with. Their whole team is also super friendly and helpful. We enjoy working with them.

What’s your personal Motto?

Find your happy place in everything you do and keep searching till you find it. son’t settle for what you have if you are not happy, be brave and make the change.

A place you visited to unwind in Africa?

Nambiti Hill reserve in Ladysmith. I was lucky enough to have visited this incredible reserve over the December Break. just a 4-hour drive from Joburg, it was a wonderful escape from the city life.

Any awards the company has won?

None so far, but hopefully we can change that in the near future.

For more visit Akara Design Studio.

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