About Makan Matters 



Food is a topic near and dear to many Singaporeans, but, how many of us have thought critically about how we consume food and the future of our local cuisine? Held at Artistry Cafe, Makan Matters by Chemistry aims to give us some food for thought about serious issues like food wastage through their tongue in cheek designs about food culture in Singapore.

Ponder on alternatives to Da Baoing while sipping on Artistry’s Gibraltar coffee and nibbling on cakes – admission is free!


Makan Matters Exhibition Highlights



Makan Matters will feature seven main projects, each worked on by different members of the Chemistry Team.  

  2. Tehspresso 
  3. Forking Spoon 
  4. NUDGE…Towards Food Wastage Awareness 
  5. Lai, Order! 
  6. The End of Da Bao 
  7. “Have You Eaten” tableware


I particularly enjoyed the Have You Eaten Tableware project, where a colloquial phrase is painted on the iconic white and blue china plate many Singaporeans own at home. This project and a few others will be put up for sale so do head down to Artistry to see what unique pieces you can pick up. I also really liked the printed t-shirt that read “I think, therefore, Ayam“, the best!

We sat down with the Chemistry team for a quick interview to find out more about the event.


Interview With Karin Aue, Senior Designer at Chemistry



Q: In a nutshell, what is Chemistry?

Chemistry is a locally based locally owned design consultancy that has been around for 12 years and our team has grown to about 11 people. We are a very multi-disciplinarian and international team. The work we do ranges from product design, space design, communication, branding and experience design.

Q: What has been your favourite Chemistry project to work on so far?

My favourite project has also been our biggest project which we have been working on for the past year and a half for the Singapore Visitor Centre. We did the whole redesign of the space, communication, branding and user flow and it will be opening in 2 months at Orchard near the corner of Emerald Hill. We’re really excited about the opening for that.

Q: What was the motivation behind setting up Makan Matters?

There are mainly two motivations for Makan Matters. First, as a creative studio, we always try to keep our ideas fresh and our creative spirit fresh outside of client work , that is why we have been setting up exhibitions that allow the team to express themselves freely without being bothered by client demands.

The second motivation is that the topic of makan and food culture is huge in Singapore so it was quite a natural choice to work on that.

Q: Out of all the food-related issues raised at Makan Matters, is there one in particular you think all Singaporeans should know about?

I think there are two that are very close to my heart. One of them is the idea of da pao. What would happen if we would ban styrofoam boxes the same way Singapore has banned eating on the MRT and chewing gum? Would this solve the issue about waste from take out food? So one of us came up with a fictional police division that bans da Pao.

The second issue is the whole idea of wood wastage which is a big issue in Singapore where each of us wastes up to 130kg of food every year. So what we want to do is create more awareness among people and help them waste less by finding ways around to take food home and order less.

Q: How do you think we can encourage Singaporeans to be more aware about the food issues surrounding them?

What we wanted to do as designers is not offer fixed solutions but start a discussion. With the 2 projects that we mentioned, we actually offered two different pathways and I think it would be interesting to see how the public reacts to them.

One is the possibility of just banning it, the other project comes up with new designs for tableware that shows, for example, how much money you would waste if you left your food uneaten. We also dsigned a plate that marks out how much food you need if you plan on just spending the afternoon at your desk in front of the computer.

We’re hoping to give them information about the situation and hopefully inspire them to change their behaviour.

Q: Just to end things off, why don’t you let our readers know what they can expect when they visit Makan Matters here at Artistry?

I think they can expect an interesting set of ideas taking serious issues with a light hearted twist. We’re not just looking at food wastage but also the heritage of food so we’re not just looking forward but also looking back.

We also have a very nice set up at Artistry which is not only a gallery but also a cafe. Artistry is a nice mix of the future of Singapore’s coffee shops, it has very good coffee and cakes and in this setting you can start to think about the future of Singaporean food.


Makan Matters by Chemistry


Overall, my experience at Makan Matters was an eye opening one. Would I start carrying tingkats instead of opting to da pao? Probably not, but Chemistry’s approach to matters about Singaporean makan was refreshing, engaging and certainly presented in a way I have never seen before.

If you’re looking for something different to do the exhibition will be going on till the 25th of May and admission is free and all are welcome.

Where: Artistry, 17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149 
When: 13 to 25 May 2014