Painting the Unpaintable City

Asia Pacific Breweries

Transforming Street Art into Performance Art

Desperados beer has a long history of encouraging the creative freedom of street artists. But what if the provocative brand launched in Singapore — with an event that would empower and encourage artists to express themselves in a place that prohibits such art? The event came together in the first art hack of its kind.

Our Approach

In Singapore, street art is treated as vandalism — and offenders are routinely punished through community service or corporal punishment. Given the seriousness of the offense, and the progressive nature of its brand, Desperados contracted SapientRazorfish to design a fresh approach, informed by radical customer-centricity, that would challenge the city’s longstanding political culture with an event that would evoke provocative conversation.

The Challenge

The team searched for a way to challenge the city’s opposition to street art — through an art hack that would encourage the creative expression of street artists — to break normal, without breaking the law.  

Can we paint the unpaintable city?

The Solution

An art hack was conceived and developed through an unprecedented collaboration between local street artists and technologists. An innovative solution empowered artists to spread light, versus paint, across iconic buildings. Using an LED-fitted can, artists sprayed light by applying pressure to the nozzle. A set of Wii remotes let artists manipulate art objects via gestures and pointing — encouraging them to turn any surface into an artistic wonderland. Custom-built software helped artists select colors and brushes through an integrated interface. A bespoke workflow was designed to help artists build animations and paint particles into each brushstroke. In the end, street art became performance art.  

Painting The Unpaintable City


A social video provoked a passionate debate around conformity and art in Singapore — exactly the kind of conversation Desperados wanted to encourage in this new market.

Singapore’s best street artists, together with the city-state’s most iconic buildings, reached over 22 percent of all Singapore residents via social media while lifting brand awareness in the target audience by a hefty 25 percent.

But this is just the beginning. In the name of creative freedom, the art hack software is available at no cost, enabling anyone in the community to express their creativity.   

More Work


49 Cities.
5 Continents.
1 Vision.