A core statement of N*thing is Possible co-curated by hospitality brand Potato Head and OMA is: zero waste and the experience of comfort and enjoyment are not mutually exclusive, and creative efforts across disciplines can transform matters at the ‘end’ of their lifecycles into a reservoir of resources. There is not a single global standard for sustainability.
Sustainability is an ongoing exploration of new ways of creating and living based on available local resources and knowledge sharing. Taking over the 1,000m2 exhibition space in Singapore’s National Design Centre, N*thing is Possible offers snapshots of the processes of Potato Head and its long-term collaborators in practicing zero waste. The exhibition begins with confrontation with the magnitude of the waste problem.
The overwhelming volume of refuse generated through our daily habits – captured by the photographs and videos on display – creates an immersive environment that directs the spectators to see beyond the surface of waste and to sense the aesthetic within. At the main atrium, natural materials and waste – bamboo, timber, plastic, textile, glass, Styrofoam, cooking oil, oyster shells – form a landscape.
Above, objects made with the landscape materials – designed by Potato Head’s collaborators – are on display. This Waste Landscape illuminates how refuse can be transformed into valuable and beautiful items, and how knowledge sharing can uncover new possibilities. A central piece of the exhibition is a circular installation made with discarded shutters.
A timeline showcases Potato Head’s journey since 2010 in creating an environmentally conscious hospitality business, highlighting its zero waste initiatives in Bali from 2017. The exhibition continues with the Blueprint, where the ongoing waste management program at Desa Potato Head – a resort in Bali – is presented as open-source information.
In 2017, Potato Head, in collaboration with Bali-based environmental engineering consultancy Eco Mantra, initiated a series of government-independent efforts to achieve zero-waste at the Desa. Since then, Eco Mantra has measured the volume of refuse going to landfill, revealing that it is approaching zero.
Documentation of Potato Head’s zero-waste initiatives in Bali is showcased alongside macro-scale studies on Bali and Singapore’s nation-wide waste issues as conducted by Eco Mantra, National University of Singapore, and OMA. The topics examined include top-down, government driven zero-waste incentives, public responses and awareness, and landfill capacity.
A key observation is: fundamental changes in the general public’s waste management practices hinge not only on government-level directions; private sectors are able to initiate small-scale, yet progressive measures with potential long-term effects. The exhibition exit is a circular-shaped gift shop. Products that encourage a zero-waste lifestyle are displayed on installations built using woven panels made of recycled plastic waste.
The exit becomes part of the exhibition, prompting critical responses to the questions: is recycling the best solution to the waste problem? How can we reduce waste in the first place? Outside, a courtyard for informal gatherings showcases art installations by street artist Futura. The materials presented in the main exhibition space – an open source for architecture, design, hospitality, and beyond – are reflected upon here. Dialogues on the topics of zero waste and sustainability continue.
Potato Head’s long-term collaborators featured in the exhibition include Indonesian architect Andra Matin, Catalan industrial designer Andreu Carulla, Jakarta design studio BYO Living, Bali-based environmental engineers Eco Mantra, American artist Futura, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, British furniture designer Max Lamb, French director and photographer Thibaut Grevet, London-based design studio Toogood and the National University of Singapore. Source by OMA.
Photo © Studio PeripheryLocation: National Design Centre, SingaporeCurators: David Gianotten, Shinji Takagi, Potato HeadTeam: Marina Bonet, Helena Gomes, Raffaele Guercia, Tijmen Klone, Alisa Kutsenko, Arthur Wong, Suet Ying YuenCollaborators: Andreu Carulla, Atelier Hoko, BYO Living, DesignSingapore Council, Eco Mantra, National University of Singapore, Kingsmen, Kengo Kuma & Associates, Kharma StudioClient: Potato HeadProgram: Exhibition, ResearchSite: 1.000 m2Year: 2022Photographs: Studio Periphery, Potato Head, Courtesy of OMAPhoto © Studio PeripheryPhoto © Studio PeripheryPhoto © Studio PeripheryPhoto © Studio Periphery