Designers infuse songket, batik into sports equipment, giving them a uniquely Malaysian twist

Nurazrina Mohamed Azni and David Surendren are determined to change how Malaysians and the world look at sports equipment.

Their works of art are masterpieces that balance functionality with eye-catching beauty.

The duo studied graphic design at Management and Science University in Shah Alam, before joining Kuckreja & Co, where they design Malaysian-themed rugby balls and hockey sticks.

David has been with the company since 2015, while Nurazrina has been with Kuckreja & Co since 2017.

“It was the boss (Rajpal Kuckreja) who came up with the concept of showcasing Malaysian themes on a rugby ball,” said Nurazrina.

“He came up with the concept as he wanted our products to stand out and promote Malaysia.

“Initially, we considered a ‘Harimau Malaya’ theme, but that was too common. We looked at other possibilities, and batik and songket were the best options.

“We started the ball rolling with a batik design for rugby balls. That lasted two years.”

Nurazrina said the batik concept was a megahit.

“As a knock-on effect, we brainstormed on how to take it up a notch and keep the Malaysia theme going. That was when we decided on songket.”

The duo credit Rajpal for giving them a free hand in their designs.

David said they are also exploring other Malaysian elements, especially from East Malaysia, which boasts a rich and powerful cultural identity.

“We are looking at Iban, Kadazan and other tribes. There is plenty of underrated art over there. We are still learning about them,” said David.

“In time, we hope to incorporate their designs into our products.”

The duo said it takes three to four months from conceptualising a design, to the finished product, but the reaction from consumers was worth it.

Some bought the rugby balls – which come in various sizes – as souvenirs for foreign guests. Others buy them for themselves, or as festive gifts for rugby, and even non-sports fans.

The songket and batik designs on a hockey stick and rugby ball. Images: Kuckreja & Co.

Besides rugby balls and hockey sticks, Nurazrina and David hope to get their designs on cricket bats.

“We were supposed to do that this year, but it did not happen.

“Hopefully, we can work on it soon, as I am sure Malaysian-themed cricket bats would be a big hit,” said David.

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