Walk into any curio shop in Kerala and you will surely find a Kathakali mask, snakeboat, and an elephant carved in wood. However, Collins Samuel, an industrial designer, wanted to introduce a unique and fresh design concept. Along with his friends and acquaintances, all of them professional product designers and graphic designers, he trys to give the rich cultural collection of Kerala a new, contemporary look.
“Kerala as we know is very rich in its tradition and culture and therefore we had no doubts regarding what to select. The folk arts, traditional attires, mural paintings, Malayalam cinema references and many other topics that the present generation can relate to, without distorting tradition in any way,” says Shruti Samuel, a member of the design team.
The team after selecting a subject conducts thorough research on it so that each and every nuance of that particular festival or art form is incorporated into the accessory they make. For instance, working on Thrissur Pooram or Kathakali, according to Shruthy, was a complex and time consuming task.
The latest addition to their catalogue is playing cards in Kathakali theme. “It took more than a year’s effort to launch them. We had to study everything about Kathakali, meet various artistes and get each and every detail so that the net product does not look amateurish. It was not that we just designed the cover for the cards; we have designed each and every character of the cards, i.e King, Queen and even joker from various Kathakali characters,” adds Shruti.
The designer collective is on a mission to provide a visual treat to Malayalis by giving the tradition and culture a modern twist.
The accessories, apparels, home décor items etc were initially sold at places like Pepper House, Kerala Folklore Museum. However, last August the designer collective started an online store called curiocity....