Inside Desa Potato Head, a creative village designed by Rem Koolhaas-founded architecture studio OMA, everything—from the room amenities and zero waste kit of its resort to the newly opened digital streaming studio Headstream at Desa—links back to its pledge towards zero waste and radical yet accountable sustainability in 2016. Done in such a way that doesn’t emit a preachy or in-your-face experience, the famed brand is known for its creative injections of sustainability—an initiative that has lowered its landfill waste from 50 per cent down to five. And they plan to go even further.
This is the fuel behind Potato Head’s research and guides them to collaborate with artists and designers who share the same mission and creative drive. The most recent is multi-disciplinary New York City artist Futura, who collaborated with the creative village to develop his instantly recognisable figure, Pointman, into two sculptures using repurposed plastic waste collected across the Bali coast.
For the pioneering graffiti artist, river and ocean pollution has long been part of his practice. For one, his view of the Statue of Liberty from his studio on the Hudson River in New York is obstructed by none other than vessels transporting trash and free-floating river garbage. Yet this marked the first time the artist materialised Pointman—which has shape-shifted from paintings, sculptures and recently NFT—using plastic waste as a form of commentary on the pollution crisis both in New York and Southeast Asia.
“Pointman has seen many changes over a considerable timeline, but this piece is very special to me. It is the first opportunity to expand my creative thought, in terms of materials being used and aligning myself with what sustainability looks like. Having seen the process with my own eyes, from the recovery efforts and the washing and cleaning of the materials to the compression of those materials to workable solutions, it is amazing,” said Futura.
Standing tall in Potato Head Studio’s courtyard—which welcomes a mix of hotel guests and the general public—the ‘Pointman – River Warrior’ was conceived out of 888 kg of plastic waste. Motor oil bottles and discarded gallon lids were transformed into the six-metre blue-speckled figure, whose elongated head and conical body appear to guard the resort’s open plaza entrance.
Two weeks prior to the grand unveiling at Potato Head Studios on 9 December, a smaller black-and-white Pointman sculpted out of 14,300 plastic bags, made its debut as part of the three-month-long exhibition, ‘N*thing is Possible’ by Potato Head and long-time collaborator OMA as part of Singapore Design Week. Other high-profile collaborators showcased at the exhibition include works by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, London-based furniture designer Max Lamb and Indonesian architect Andra Matin.
Simon Pestridge, CXO of Potato Head shared how “Pointman – River Warrior finding its home at the Desa is the culmination of our ethos that sustainability can be beautiful. We were inspired by the future of waste reimagination while learning of the importance of collaboration and community in building a sustainable future.”
It’s within collaborations such as these that Potato Head continues to echo its “Good Times, Do Good” mantra and widen its creative ecosystem, where confronting waste pollution is relevant and achievable through enjoyable means.