It’s been a long year for everyone, but it’s been even longer for Potato Head who were poised to open Desa Potato Head in 2020, a multidisciplinary sustainable kingdom and audiophile indulgence by the beach that had been in the works for years. 10 years, in fact. COVID hit while the team were literally in the boardroom (a vinyl-only listening bar and library) drawing up plans for their grand opening extravaganza. Its 168 rooms, subterranean nightclub, rooftop recording studio, Balearic-inspired amphitheatre, art house, deep listening bar and training ground for emerging artists never saw the light of day.
We wish we had better news from Indonesia but as the world starts to emerge from its bedroom bomb shelter and return to some semblance of normalcy, Indonesia (and many parts of Asia) are a few steps behind. While Desa Potato Head might not see the brouhaha it had planned for its long-awaited opening (and still), it will begin to open one small, sustainable step at a time — beginning on July 15.
Designed together with David Gianotten at OMA, the Dutch practice founded by Rem Koolhaas, Desa Potato Head will finally open to the public and the new Potato Head Studios will look to re-shape how people experience hospitality. Rather than positioning itself as a hotel, the newest addition and crown jewel of the Desa — which means village in Indonesian — will be thought of more as a Creative Center with studios that will be available to rent for short and long term stays. The emphasis will be on artists who are looking for a place to create, regenerate and re-balance, and will be offered long-stay packages as part of an artist-in-residency style programme.
“The idea behind the residencies is to immerse people in a new world — giving them long-term, all-inclusive access to beach-side energy, co-working spaces, cultural connections, inspiring people, and space to unwind, work and understand Bali (and perhaps themselves) in a whole new way," says Potato Head about the initiative.
Current regulations in Indonesia mean the beach club (we miss you!) is currently closed (officially until July 20, unofficially who knows) but there will be plenty of other experiences that have been carefully crafted by the community, for the community. Among them are sustainability workshops for adults and children at Sustainism Lab, Potato Head’s own streaming station, Headstream, which is set to broadcast talks and music programs from local artists and rising stars 12 hours a day, and Studio Eksotika — a curated library, listening lounge and co-working centre on the mezzanine floor.
Guests will also be able to participate in anything from Balinese prayers, morning yoga and in-room IV treatments, and will also be given access to the gym, workshops at Sustainism Lab and a new regenerative farming workshop called Sweet Potato Project, a pandemic-born passion project created by the staff. Of course, artists will be encouraged to use the facilities to reflect, research, experiment and produce work in an environment created and inspired by Mama Bali.
“Whether you opt to stay for a long time or a short time, escapism is guaranteed.”
For much of the last year and a bit, Indonesia has been generous in awarding six-month business and social visas to international travellers looking to come to Indonesia. This initially created an opportunity for the ultimate work from paradise situation that Potato Head originally planned to offer. But with a recent uptick in cases, nationwide regulations will see movements around Indonesia restricted until July 20. Quarantine has also been increased to 8 days, but provided you can prove that you are vaccinated, the offer is still there. What happens after remains to be seen.
The situation on the ground is always changing and we encourage you to follow along but for now, know that the doors are finally opening and a jamu on ice will be waiting for you after you pass through them, whenever that may be.
[Photos via All Is Amazing & Kevin Mak]