From trash to art: Lendlease promotes sustainability at malls

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
The exhibition displays art pieces made by retiree and self-taught artist Simon Tan using discarded items (Photo: Lendlease)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - At Parkway Parade, a mall located along Marine Parade in the east, intriguing exhibits are currently on display. The exhibition features replicas of iconic memorabilia from some of the biggest movies in the last few decades, including a meticulous model of the Death Star from the Star Wars franchise and figurines from the Alien movies.
While the models are impressive to behold, what’s even more interesting is that they are all made from discarded items. Using recycled materials such as paper, cardboard boxes, broom heads and other materials, retiree and self-taught artist Simon Tan was able to give the items a new lease of life by turning them into works of art.
You Won’t Believe It’s Trash exhibition - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The You Won’t Believe It’s Trash exhibition is part of Lendlease’s efforts to promote sustainable and zero-waste habits (Photo: Lendlease)
Since late March, these art pieces have been on display at the You Won’t Believe It’s Trash (YWBIT) exhibition organised by Lendlease, as part of the group’s efforts to promote sustainable and zero-waste habits. The exhibition, which is free to the public, is being held on a roving basis at Lendlease’s four malls — PLQ Mall at Paya Lebar Quarter, Jem, Parkway Parade and 313@somerset.
Tan, 68, is a former shipyard mechanic who has been fashioning movie props and models out of recycled materials collected from his housing estate for the past 10 years. “I want to bring people’s attention to the boundless possibilities that we can achieve by reusing everyday rubbish. Even food containers or empty glue bottles have their uses,” he says.
Simon Tan, a retiree and self-taught artist, turns discarded items into works of art (Photo: Lendlease)
Inspired by his passion for movies as well as the environment, Tan first began creating art pieces when he retired to stay home and care for his aged mother. Using scrap paper his sister-in-law brought home from her printing company, he began creating paper artwork in his free time, gradually honing his skills to create larger, more elaborate pieces.
The collaboration with Lendlease marks Tan’s maiden public artwork exhibition in Singapore. Items on display include weapons inspired by Chinese martial art movies, a Storm Trooper helmet and a 1.56m-long battleship. His favourite piece is a 1.2m replica of an Ovomorph, or alien egg, from the movie Alien vs Predator. Made from cardboard and foam, it took over a year to complete.
Visitors looking at Tan’s replica of an Ovomorph, or alien egg, from the movie Alien vs Predator (Photo: LendLease)
Tan says he is happy to be given the opportunity to show his work. “Through my art, I want everyone to know that they should think carefully before throwing things away because by saving things for reuse, they are saving the Earth,” he says.
The YWBIT exhibition also features art doodles by Woo Qiyun, a local environmentalist and self-taught doodler known for her colourful, educational doodles around sustainability topics and the circular economy on her Instagram page, The Weird and Wild (@theweirdandwild).
The exhibition is part of Lendlease’s Mission Zero decarbonisation campaign to achieve net-zero carbon by 2025 and absolute zero by 2040. “These are the most ambitious targets our industry has seen to date, and that means every part of our value chain has a role to play in reaching this goal,” says Joelle Chen, Lendlease’s sustainability director, Singapore.
“Through these visual artworks created by local artists, we hope the exhibition will strike a chord with the public and we urge everyone to be more conscious of our consumption, as well as the waste we generate,” Chen adds.
Items on display include a 1.56m-long battleship (Photo: Lendlease)
The roving exhibition, which started at PLQ Mall, followed by a stint at Jem, is currently stationed at Parkway Parade until May 4. It will subsequently be on display at 313@somerset from May 6 to 18.
The exhibition also has an on-site vending machine for the collection of empty and clean aluminum drink cans, plastic drink bottles and paper for recycling.
As part of its sustainability efforts, Lendlease has also partnered GreenSquare, a local provider of textile recycling services, to encourage tenants at its malls to adopt more sustainable habits in their operations. Since April 1, fabric recycling bins have been placed at the bin centre of each of the malls to allow tenants to recycle unwanted garments, instead of throwing them away.
Check out the latest listings near PLQ Mall, JEM, Parkway Parade, 313@Somerset

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