Potato Head :Styroshell Amenities

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Conscious waste management has long been a central concern of Potato Head. In our journey to zero-waste, we have implemented a number of initiatives to avoid the use, production and consumption of wasteful materials.

While the Desa has typically managed to elude styrofoam, in opening 168 rooms of the Potato Head Suites and Studios with OMA, we found ourselves with styrofoam packaging for 168 TVs.

As a notoriously difficult material to recycle as well as a lack of infrastructure on the island, we looked outside the box to create solutions for the waste. Working alongside creatives and engineers, we have been able to reimagine styrofoam in ways which allow us to not only manage the Desa’s own styrofoam waste, but also the styrofoam waste gathered by local waste collectors, and the Desa’s staff in their own personal lives. In doing so, we have been able to create a resource for inspiration in recycling.

Transforming styrofoam into a working material in order to create our amenity products involves categorising materials into two groups: raw and supporting.

Our raw materials consist of upcycled styrofoam collected from local waste collectors and Desa’s staff, oyster shells gathered from our restaurants and HDPE plastics derived from bottle caps. These materials are melted down and mixed together into a styroshell dough before being cast into a hard template.

Our supporting materials include acrylic paint, paint thinner, plywood formworks, and stainless steel pumps. They are added to the malleable raw materials and allow for the physical structure and façade of the amenities.

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Over the years, our sustainability research and development team at the Waste Lab have worked alongside creatives to transform styrofoam into a range of materials which can be utilised for a number of products.

Our first attempt of reimagining styrofoam led us to the casting process which produces a decoratively textured styroshell. The amenities derived from the styroshell have become an iconic feature of the rooms at the Suites and Studios.

In later attempts of working with styrofoam, we created a ‘styro-wrap’ which is used with furniture and kitchen utensils in a wrapping process. This wrapping expanded the potential of styrofoam use.

Both aesthetic and functional, the bright pink styroshell facade of our soap dispensers, trays, vases and dust bins have become an inextricable part of the Desa’s identity. In having objects throughout our spaces which are both beautiful and sustainable, we feed the notion that making sustainable choices doesn’t mean compromise or sacrifice. Our mission is to make beautiful products which simply happen to be more sustainable. In doing so, we hope to create ripple effects in the way people think about their impact and consumer choices.

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