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Nature is an enchanting source of inspiration for designers and only a few places in the world can offer the abundance of wildlife that enriches the National Wildlife Parks of Sri Lanka. Inspite of the very small land area, the great diversity in habitats harbours a rich and diverse fauna and flora, with many species endemic to the Island. This is where Thushari Herath,  a Bachelor of Design Student of the University of Moratuwa, sought her inspiration in creating the “Flemingo Furniture Collection” as her Final Year Project in Furniture Design. Her project brief was to create a collection of furniture for the Viewing Deck of a local Wildlife Park. The furniture requirement for the context consisted of tables, and seating for relaxation and dinning purposes of the visitors. The highlight of this Wildlife Park, is the migratory Greater Flamingo, which visits this wetland in large flocks of over a thousand birds.

Shenuka Dias

These delightful nestlings have existed since the dawn of time, yet they continue to fascinate creative minds such as Thushari’s in extracting the essence of the bird and transcending it into a unique collection of furniture. The pieces created by her are very simple in form, yet involving a complex process in design. Initially the form and anatomy of the bird was studied through the balance in various postures and the different rhythmic movements created by the behavioural pattern of the bird.  Along with this a contextual study was carried out to observe the architectural language and character used for the structure of the Viewing Deck. The exposed detailing and the material combination used in the building were reflected onto the design language of the furniture collection to merge the design with the context while giving it the outdoor rustic appearance. The pieces reflect certain principles of design such as, balance, rhythm, proportion, shape, structure, and pattern of the flamingo.

The design concept for the collection was to capture the contrasting qualities of ‘solidity and lightweight”. In addition, the designer wanted to compose the viewing deck as a part of the park experience by creating objects that look like an abstraction of something you would uncover while walking through the sanctuary. The furniture captures the perfection of nature and gives its user a sense of harmony amongst the flamingos.

Easy Chair

The simple three legged easy chair takes on the shape of a standing flamingo with its head perched down. With this inspiration in mind, the seat together with the hand-rests visually forms the body of the flamingo while the thin steel hand-rests are also an abstraction of its wings. The change in the diameter of the slender steel legs reflects the bird’s anatomical joint and also enhances the stability and strength of the chair. The slight angle of the wooden seat together with the recess on its surface are designed to take pressure off of one’s tailbone and improve the comfort of the chair.

Relaxing Chair

The relaxing chair is an inspiration of the bird’s posture in its relaxing form itself. With its legs folded, wings tucked in, and head stretched high, it is the perfect example of balance and proportion. It’s representation in a simple cross sectional line has been repeated to create a repetitive pattern that is developed into a relaxing chair formed in flat steel bars. The solid cement base of the chair represents that the object is static and also prevents the chair from toppling over during use.


Flamingos are visually majestic birds with their arching wings and intricately coloured feathers.

The inspiration for the design of the table was drawn from the way the birds spread their wings and remain suspended in the air. The two thin timber panels that form the top surface of the table, combined with the thin flat steel supports, represent the rhythm of this posture. The visually floating appearance of the table is created through locating the support for the table at the centre and by making these elements thin and barely noticeable.


Not only the fine feathered friends but their nests have also been integrated into creating this unique collection of furniture. These birds are natural-born engineers, constructing volcano shaped nests out of mud that can weather even the strongest storms. The stool design, which is randomly placed on the deck amongst the relaxing chairs takes a simple abstraction of the flamingo nest. This is conceptually completed when its user is seated, giving an illusion of a bird hatching eggs. The hollow stools are moulded in cement and have a contoured leather cushion on its top surface. This helps angle the body forward, promoting spinal alignment while simultaneously enhancing the comfort of its user.

Highlighting the beauty and strength in nature, this design student has created a charming collection with originality. They are extremely simple but equally stunning; making its minimalist appearance perfect to integrate in various modern arrangements. They are quite interesting to look at and are sure to become a conversational piece in its environment.