Recycled plastic products from designers such as Max Lamb and Studio Toogood are featured in the N*thing is Possible exhibition in Singapore, which showcases hospitality brand Potato Head’s attempts to eliminate its landfill waste.
Co-curated by Potato Head and OMA architecture studio managing partner David Gianotten, the exhibition at Singapore’s National Design Center is dominated by mounds of trash such as bottle caps, oil cans, old hotel sheets and polystyrene boxes.
Above each trash pile are furniture and accessories made from the respective trash.
Products include a colorful recycled plastic chair from the British designer Lambas well as outdoor furniture from the London company Studio Toogood woven from strips of green plastic made from recycled bottle caps.
Other products on display include stools by the Spanish designer Andreu Carulla which are wrapped in material made from polystyrene waste and sawdust, and carpets from various designers made from discarded hotel sheets.
There are also trays, toothbrush holders, tissue boxes and soap dispensers made from a mixture including polystyrene and crushed oyster shells.
Each of the products on display was created for Desa Potato Head, an upscale resort in Bali that started as a beach club and grew into what the brand calls a “creative village” with hotel buildings by Indonesian architect Andra. Morning and a recent addition by OMA.
Potato Head uses waste from its resort to make the products and also sources additional materials from other businesses and organizations across Bali to keep them from ending up in landfill.
The exhibition, which launched during Singapore Design Week and will run until December 25, 2022, is intended to showcase Potato Head’s mission to promote what it calls a “zero waste lifestyle” without compromising the hospitality experience it can offer its guests.
“Just because you’re trying to be sustainable doesn’t mean anyone’s going to buy into it,” Simon Pestridge, director of experience at Potato Head, told Dezeen.
“So we started with this notion of ‘good times’. And what we realized is that good times get better when you do good. So we never want to sacrifice the experience that people can have, we just want to show them that it can be done in a different way.”
In addition to products made from man-made waste, the exhibit features furniture and accessories made from natural materials, all of which feature in hotel rooms at the Desa Potato Head resort in Bali.
Lamb created a range of ceramics using Balinese red clay and volcanic sand while a ring of bamboo chairs, also designed by Lamb, hung from the ceiling of the space.
At the center of the exhibit is a cylindrical structure made of repurposed wooden shutters, which also adorn the facade of the Desa Potato Head Beach Club. Inside, a timeline charts the company’s attempts to reduce the amount of its waste that goes to landfill.
According to Potato Head’s internal audits, it managed to reduce that figure from over 50% to just 5% in four years.
It has achieved this through a number of measures, including working with its suppliers to reduce packaging, banning single-use plastics on its site, and recycling or reusing as much leftover waste as possible.
The exhibit aims to highlight Potato Head’s failures as well as its successes, including when the proportion of its waste going to landfill skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic due to staff shortages and logistical issues.
“We’re really trying to change the hospitality industry and the tourism industry from being a big waste generator,” Pestridge said.
“You just have to be super open and honest and transparent about the things that you have to try to solve. So what we want to do with this exhibition is really show the successes and the failures and the things that we have done well and the things we did wrong.”
The exhibition continues outside, with a series of posters hanging on the walls of the exterior staircase of the National Design Centre.
These, which Potato Head calls its “master plan”, detail the methods and processes the brand has used to reduce the amount of its waste that goes to landfill.
According to Pestridge, the brand wants to work with other hospitality businesses to help them reduce their own waste.
“We think it should be open source,” Pestridge said. “So the master plan is actually how we got here and we want everyone to take that and come and tell us about it. Because we’re so small in the bigger scheme of things, but hopefully we can inspire other companies to go down a similar course.”
Images are courtesy of Potato Head. The video is courtesy of OMA and features a thumbnail image of Studio Periphery.
N*thing is Possible runs from September 16 to December 25, 2022 at the National Design Center in Singapore. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events happening around the world.