A peek into a private dinner event held at SPRMRKT for 27 guests earlier this month.
A private catering event where we brought the entire team out and into quite a different space. Here’s a peek into what we were doing and the food!
Preparation is often an overlooked but a significant part of the process to every meal.
And with every event, we’d like to think that we finished it on a happy and sweet note. Thank you to everyone at SPRMRKT. You worked it, lived it and made it a day to remember!
PERSISTENCE / DELIBERATION
Reprints can be purchased in the following formats:
- A3 canvas print. Stretched canvas approx. 460mm x 300mm – S$300 per print
- A3 photo print. Smooth matte paper mounted on 3mm Dilite (an aluminium composite) mount – S$200 per print
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your orders or enquiries and remember to quote the print title number that you’re interested in. Other prints from Akai’s online portfolio are available upon request.
Reprints will take about 3 to 5 working days and can be collected at SPRMRKT, 2McCallum Street, Singapore 069043
All images & text are provided and copyrighted by Akai Chew Hung Kai.
Graduating with a Diploma in Architecture, Akai Chew currently works at The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (“URA”). Pursuing both what he accomplished at school and his passion for photography, SPRMRKT is proud to present his first ever solo show in this series of photographs that captures his eye for detail towards the built environment and in fashion.
Your first solo show! How and when did you discover your love for photography?
My dad had an old compact film camera and I loved the press of a button and hear the film whirl. Cityscape photography wise it started my aunt’s house actually. She stayed in this old shophouse which was covered in colourful ornamentation. She had a motor showroom and workshop downstairs and lived upstairs. The whole place was full of character. Soon I began to notice that there were actually many houses like hers. That was how I started noticing architecture.
I picked up a book on design in secondary school which showed a really colourful house with lots of walls and greenery. It got me in love with architecture and photography. It amazed me by how something so simple can looks so breathtaking. Later I learnt that it was by the architect Luis Barragan and it was shot by Rene Burri.
You have a diverse body of work from landscape art to fashion. Which artists or photographers have inspired you the most?
I am inspired more by architecture, which to me is like a three dimendionsal photograph. I like to observe how light enters a building and reacts in a spatial environment. I love the works of Luis Barragan, Tadao Ando and lately, Peter Zumthor and Stephen Holl and their theories of phenomenology.
In fashion photography, I am inspired by Nick Knight, Solve Sundsbo and local photographers Chuando & Frey.
Name us one of your personal favourite photos or series and tell us why.
That would be my Bane of Urbanism series. It was one of my more well received earlier works. For through it, I had gotten a few online messages and through those I had met many like-minded people who became my closest friends.
I had went into the Pearlbank Apartment block by open invitation of architect Ed Poole who works from one of the penthouses. During that time it was pending en-bloc sale. I was struck by the monumentality of the whole place and how dense it actually is. Despite that, it was really comfortable to be inside, and rather well designed.
There seems to be a correlation in what you do at URA and your eye for detail for the built environment, as seen in your images in Pyramidus and Persistence / Deliberation. Has your discipline nurtured or inspired your art as a photographer in any way?
Definitely. It had taught me to see beyond the cosmetic look of the building and consider factors like why was it designed this way, what was the driving idea behind the design, and how this certain design actually influences people in more ways than they expect. It also drives me to question the function of architecture and the built environment in society, how it affects our perceptions and our lives.
Any thoughts on taking photography up full time?
Perhaps one day in the future!
Boundaries you wish to push with your art?
I am currently conceptualising more of using elements interacting with architecture photography, or a blend of architecture and painting?
One of your fashion shots appeared in Harper’s Bazaar in 2012. What other publications would you dream about seeing your images in?
Artistic magazines like i-D and Dazed & Confused.
Any plans for after this show?
Sell some prints and take it from there!
A series of landscape art photography taken by Akai, inspired by SPRMRKT.
For a complete view of Akai’s work, please visit his online portfolio here or visit us at 2 McCallum Street from 6th April 2013.
1. Being an entrepreneur has been at the tip of the nation’s tongue in the past couple of years. What made you decide to come out on your own in 2010 and what’s the one experience you would like to share with others who are striving to do the same?
Well, back in the end of 2009, I was in-between projects in Southern Star, I felt the need to shake up my life a little. I felt I was getting a little too lazy and complacent. Don’t get me wrong, Southern Star is a great company to work in and I had a great time there. I guess I reached a point in life whereby I needed something to call my own, I needed a new challenge, something that could hold my short attention span. So one thing led to another and MLC was started. I guess the one thing which I learnt from running this business is (that) money isn’t everything: when you start a business, your product is everything. So focus all your attention on your product and money/clients would come by as a result.
2. You’re constantly working with new and various teams of people put together either by you or your clients. Afiq Omar worked with you as the assigned photographer for The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi’s Event. How important is it to form the right team before starting a project? What happens if the best person or people you have in mind for the job can’t take on the project?
It is essential to work with the right people. Different photographers and camera operators have different strengths, as a production company it is important for us to know what each individual crew’s strengths are and designate the right jobs to the right people. Well, if the person is not available, then we would have to call on our second choice.
3. There’s less wonder when a videographer picks up and starts shooting with a 35mm camera but conveying different images and mood by that same person switching between mediums, that’s art. How do you know when to use what? Have there been times when you wished you had captured a video on photo instead?
Both mediums have their strengths, a well taken photo can just be as effective as any video, they are both different mediums but yet employ very similar skill sets to capture the right moments. When I’m not working I don’t necessarily choose whether to shoot photos or videos, I just go with the moment. This choice is a lot easier now over the last 2 years with DSLRs from all the big brands that have great video shooting capabilities. and in 2013 onwards we will start seeing video cameras that can shoot videos with 4k – 6k resolution. So essentially we can make screen grabs from those video footage and use them for print.
4. Through this latest showcase of street photographs and portraits, you and Afiq have captured an essence of another culture that some are only fleetingly familiar with. What would define a street photograph or portrait of Singapore for you?
Singapore’s really diverse, I guess a good Singapore portrait would show that diversity but in a contrasting manner. For example, contrast between old and new, rich and poor, the difference races that live here. As for a good street Singapore photograph, anything goes I guess, you just have to be at the right moment at the right time.
5. I don’t think “street videography” could work as well as an artistic genre and concept but someone could prove me wrong. Any thoughts or feelings about working with this idea?
I don’t think there is a genre called street videography. but people have been doing similar things since video started in the form of indie documentaries, mood travel videos, street time lapses etc. you can find a whole lot of them on vimeo.
6. A good portion of your work are in music and fashion, frequently associated with club culture, and not easily recognisable in these photographs. What inspires you?
Everything inspires me, I feel a lot of people spend their lives waiting for inspiration to land on their lap, but that doesn’t happen all the time. Inspiration is found, not given and its everywhere!
7. We’re launching the third edition of our daily menu along with your showcase. Is there any dish you hope will stay on the menu? With whom do you find yourself enjoying a meal or who would you want to have a meal with?
I haven’t had a chance to taste the (whole) menu yet! But I must say so far your soups are just fantastic, every time I step into the store, I’ll make sure I order some soup cos it warms my heart and belly. I would bring my parents there next time *hah*
A video specially commissioned by Martin and in collaboration with the launch of our new daily menu this January 2013. Enjoy!