Unique Chess Set designed by Mr. Nandadasa
If you are in the market for a custom-tailored mounted trophy, a special sign styled from stainless steel, ‘an engraved brass name–plate, a fibreglass fabrication from your own imagination, a brass plaque or other product created out of any of these materials and more, where to start your search for what you want? If you try the Yellow Pages of the Telephone‘Directory, the name you will come across under numerous listings for the provision of these various items and then some is Flexport, located in Nugegoda. Look under “Brass Products”, in particular, and you will find their advertisement giving you an overall outline of the extensive scope of products which this unusual company designs and manufactures. You will also see their motto: ‘You name it, we make it …. “; and this is no false claim or idle boast. Rather, it is a challenge-a challenge to you to bring to them a piece of work requiring unique skills and techniques to produce what no other company can match in innovation, creating exactly what you want when you need it.
It is not only the immense diversity of their manufacturing capabilities and product output which make Flexport outstanding in its field and foremost among its competition, but the perfection of style the exclusiveness of design and concept-that makes their products distinct masterpieces of aesthetic engineering, executed with the care and dedication which is their hallmark. This quality and attention to minute detail are reflected in eYen the simplest of their name-tags to their extremely sophisticated custom-created trophies which are treasured by their distinguished recipients throughout the world. Strict quality control is exercised and no product leaves the Flexport premises until it has been thoroughly scrutinized to ensure that there is not the slightest flaw, otherwise it is rejected. Maintaining such a high standard is integral to their reputation and way of doing business.
Look around in any five-star hotel in Colombo or at one of the major banks and you are most likely going to find a sampling of Flexport’s expert craftsmanship worked in brass when you see the interior fittings, the directional signs and the custom-cast and cut-out letters at the entrance to these buildings. Many of the plaques and other signing devices found around town to identify public edifices and memorials have been created by Flexport in brass, bronze and aluminium, whether cast, cut-out or photoengraved with satin, polished or enamelled colour finishes. In fact, whenever you come across a sign with an aura of class, it is probably a product of the Flexport factory.
The man responsible for the founding and flourishing of Flexport is a very modest and unassuming gentleman whose quiet demeanour belies his tremendous talent as an artist, designer and technological innovator. Mr P. N. Nandadasa, the Chairman/Managing Director of Flexport (Pvt), has an impressive string of initials trailing his name which tells only part of the story of his academic and creative achievements. Mr. Nandadasa’s family tradition since the days of his great-grandfather has been one characterized by distinguished artistic talent. But Mr. Nandadasa was trained as an automobile engineer and began his formal career with the Colombo Port Commission and then the State Timber Corporation. However, Mr. Nandadasa ‘s inborn artistic inclinations started to emerge publicly when he made a wooden plaque for his own home. So many people admired this that he soon came to be making similar items for others before graduating into working in brass and progressively more varied materials. From humble beginnings in a makeshift shack, his sideline turned into a business which expanded along with his reputation for careful craftsmanship and originality in transforming brass, copper, fiberglass, stainless steel, marble and other materials into practical and decorative products commissioned by discriminating clients.
At present the Flexport factory employs some 96 people, with most of the craftsmen having been trained by Mr. Nandadasa himself. He firmly believes in the strong potential of local craftsmen and is dedicated to training them and upgrading their skills.
Today, Mr. Nandadasa can look back with justified pride in having designed and executed the dynamic Arthur C Clarke Award for Aerospace, Satellite Communication Development and the striking Test Cricket Trophy, the largest of its kind in the world which is now at Lords Cricket Club, England. He has also been the winner of the “Ten Outstanding Persons Award” for design, interior decor and crafts, and he is a member of the prestigious Chemical Machining Institute (USA) as well as the American Society of Metals and the Association of Electro Surface Finishing. Moreover, Flexport has distinguished itself internationally by having been selected for participation in the 1988 Frankfurt International Spring Fair, the largest consumer goods fair in the world.
Mr. Nandadasa excels and delights in not only creating new designs for clients but in inventing new technologies for executing those designs as well as his own -technologies not to be replicated here in Sri Lanka or even elsewhere in the world. What sets apart Mr. Nandadasa, and consequently Flexport, is the combination of refined artistry and modern technology which is applied to his work. He revels in new challenges -constantly striving towards new horizons in his field -which is summed up by his statement that “What is my best work is tomorrow’s work.”
Mr Nandadasa discusses with Dr Arthur C Clarke his design concept for the satellite communication trophy which won international recognition.