Exhibition Road Day of Design 2019

Exhibition Road Day of Design 2019 was held on Sunday 22 September. The event was established as a collaboration between multiple partners along Exhibition Road, to celebrate the final day of London Design Festival. Exhibition Road was partially closed to traffic for a day of activity focusing on design solutions to climate change. The day coincided with Car Free Day across London.

The event was led by the V&A in partnership with the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial College, Brompton Design District, the Royal College of Art, the Design Museum and RBKC together with a range of local organisations including People’s Kitchen, 999 Club and Extinction Rebellion. The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 generously provided grant to support this event.

The programme explored the role of design in fostering new ideas and changing attitudes towards food consumption, energy use and waste management. The day featured free, drop-in installations, talks and workshops as well as a food-waste feast staged on upcycled furniture created from the V&A's exhibition packing crates. Climate change experts hosted these tables, giving visitors the chance to discuss important issues around the future of our planet, whilst sharing a meal created from ‘food waste’. Installations included the Plastic Pavilion made from 1600 plastic bottles and Nest on Museum Lane, a structure that people could climb into made from sustainable American Red Oak.

The enduring message of 2019 was the global climate crisis, and this was reflected in the programming of the day. Together with the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial College, Brompton Design District and the Royal College of Art, the V&A explored the role of design in fostering new ideas and changing attitudes to the way we consume food, use energy and deal with waste. Programming activity included exhibition waste upcycling, food waste feast, talks, workshopsand activities and installations.


Exhibition Waste Upcycling at the V&A, invited participants to design and make 4 tables, benches and chairs from the V&A’s exhibition waste. In using exhibition packing crates, the upcycling project demonstrated how to give waste materials a meaningful life beyond their limited purpose. The finished furniture created around 20m of dining space for the Food Waste Feast, which was originally planned to take place on Exhibition Road but was moved into the South Kensington tube tunnel due to wet weather. The furniture was then donated to community beneficiaries, including the People’s Kitchen’s new premises at the Royal Docks and the Henry Dickens’ Art Therapy spaces in Notting Hill.

Food Waste Feast - together with People’s Kitchen and Community Harvest as catering partners, the V&A hosted a large-scale Food Waste Feast that catered to both the local community and the wider London Design Festival audience.Visitors enjoyed food made from ingredients that would typically have gone straight to landfill, showing how our attitudes towards surplus food and food waste need to change for a more sustainable future. All surplus food from the event went directly to Refugee Community Outreach.The Feast was served on the furniture from the Upcycling projectand visitors were encouragedto participate in Discursive Dining, centred around Planet 2.0. The tables were hosted by expert discussing issues related to climate change and the role that design can play in the environmental sustainability agenda. 

Talks, workshops and activities focused on design solutions to the climate crisis. The programme was developed in close collaboration with the V&A’s Exhibition Road partners, and showcased innovation in design and technology as well as discussions on mind-set and behavioural change. Due to the wet weather, the talks series, workshops and activities also took place in the tube tunnel.

(Image credits: Mishko Papic)

Exhibition waste upcycling
Workshops focusing on design solutions for the climate crisis

Food waste feast
People's Kitchen
Plastic Pavilion made from 1,600 recycled plastic bottles filled with coloured water