Malabar marvels: Asian Paints and XXL Collective’s Apex Ultima Protek packaging is an ode to Kerala culture

JUN 18, 2024 | By Namrata Dewanjee
Apex Ultima Protek festive packaging by Asian Paints and XXL Collective inspired by motifs from the Malabar; Photograph courtesy Asian Paints

The coastal air in Kerala carries the essence of craft. Glance around and artistry can be found around every corner from the tiled sloping gables and the dance forms to the soulful appam and stew. This state on the Western Ghats has a special significance for Asian Paints. As an ode to the rich cultural heritage, the brand launched a limited-edition Apex Ultima Protek festive packaging in March.

Teaming up with St+art India Foundation’s XXL Collective, Asian Paints exhibited a striking installation at Lulu Mall, Kochi from 14th to 28th May to showcase the classical art forms of Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam and Kalaripayattu to scenes from Kerala’s serene backwaters and wildlife. 

Asian Paints and XXL Collective’s artful Apex Ultima Protek festive packaging; Photograph courtesy Asian Paints

Featuring intricate woodwork and gables tracing the vernacular architecture, the slivers in the panels cast a mesmerising shadow play that narrates the story and spirit of the Malabar. In Kerala, Asian Paints has engaged in a melange of local initiatives, honouring the traditions of the state. They partnered with Kerala’s prestigious Nehru Trophy Boat Race and creatively showcased their WoodTech features through large furniture pieces in snake boats, blending traditional craftsmanship with contemporary art.

India’s largest Pookalam was created by the brand on Onam spanning nearly 40,000 sq ft as a floral tribute to the mythical King Mahabali. These initiatives not only unite communities but also reinforce their commitment to preserving traditional customs while pioneering modern approaches. In their years of longstanding collaboration with XXL Collective, Asian Paints transformed 22 MTC buses in Chennai into colourful canvases inspired by the Royale Glitz Tamil Nadu Festive packaging, capturing the traditions and spirit of Tamil Nadu. 

The intricate motifs are inspired by the cultural and natural heritage of Kerala; Photograph courtesy Asian Paints

Their painting on the Kolkata trams during Durga Puja paid homage to the craftsmanship that characterises the Bengali festival and coincided with the tramway’s 150th anniversary. The people, culture and heritage of India have long inspired Asian Paints, ushering them to collaborate with St+art India in an effort to enrich communities with meaningful experiences using art and creativity to foster inclusivity.

Read more: Art that resonates with life, redefining cultural landscapes with Asian Paints and St+art India