|Title||MAROU CHOCOLATE FOR NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE|
|Brand||MAROU FAISEURS DE CHOCOLAT & NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE|
|Product / Service||MAROU CHOCOLATE FOR NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE|
|Entrant||RICE CREATIVE, VIETNAM|
|Idea Creation||RICE CREATIVE, VIETNAM|
|PR||RICE CREATIVE, VIETNAM|
|Production||RICE CREATIVE, VIETNAM|
|GregoryJewett||Rice Creative||Creative Director|
|Joshua Breidenbach||Rice Creative||Creative Director|
|Chi-An De Leo||Rice Creative||Creative Director|
|William Sorqvist||Rice Creative||Design Intern|
|Anna Tran||Rice Creative||Design Intern|
|Anna Dinh||Rice Creative||Producer|
|Nguyen Dang Tam||Rice Creative||Printer|
National Gallery Singapore is comprised of three distinct spaces: Historic, Modern and Transcendent. We created a set of icons based on these themes. With the spaces identified, Marou were able to conceive 3 flavours that matched them in spirit: Signature, Chilli and Sea Salt. Standard chocolate was used as a ‘control’ in the Signature bar, referencing the iconic floor tiles. Chilli-infused chocolate represented the Modern tree structures, which connect the two buildings. Finally, Sea Salt chocolate was chosen to represent the light-dappled Atrium. Design of product was in that way connected to experience of space, and the packaging solution would be the cultural connector of all.
Our first challenge was to properly represent Vietnam. In keeping with the hand-made nature of Marou chocolate, we wrapped the bars in an authentic and traditional Vietnamese art form called Dong Ho. We gave our three wrapper designs to the artist, who then created the artisanal printing woodblocks to apply on natural “mulberry bark” paper. Everything in the process is hand made. We worked with a family, who have been practicing this art form for 500 years (21 generations). Our second challenge was to create a container, which would be desirable to cultural goods collectors. We took inspiration in modern iconography and elaborated on the modernist geometry of National Gallery Singapore’s visual identity to create the box set container. The full process involved the intensive product development too, as the chocolate bars were exclusive, and made into a custom-mould never seen in the range.
The outcome is a unique approach of packaging made to be pieces of art. Through this co-branded project, Marou was an artisanal brand that brought Vietnamese culture to National Gallery Singapore, and in return took an artistic approach to elevate its historical value. For the consumer, this product was an opportunity to conjugate what in French is called “art-de-vivre”, and actual art. The project has shed light on the diversity and depth of Southeast Asian culture and design practices. As an artistic creation, the cultural impact has yet to be observed through the years, as global attention for culture will shift its weight towards the growing population of Southeast Asia.
The project was hinging on cultural expression of diverse origins. On one hand, Marou is a single-origin chocolate brand rooted in Vietnamese soil, aiming for excellence of product. On the other hand, National Gallery is a shelter for Southeast Asian designs, already curating various movements and identities. We brought the two together in a concept that would merge tradition and modernity. In order to materialise the concept, we also created an Exhibition-cum-Workshop that brought the Dong Ho artist from Vietnam to location at National Gallery Singapore for a demonstration of craft. In doing so, we aligned with the role of a museum: curating and pass on elements of cultural heritage. Documentation was also embedded in the concept, as we created a video detailing the project, in order to preserve trace of the artistic process.