London’s new Befriending Kitchen isn’t your average pop-up eatery. Run by the British Red Cross, this unconventional dining setup was designed for a weekly shared meal for refugees and asylum seekers. Designed by Merrett Houmøller Architects, the new mobile venue offers a set of colorful, expandable food carts and tables.
The entire setup is bookended by a pair of rolling carts, which hold basic tools for preparing, cooking, and cleaning up the meals—including a gas hob, sink, worktop, and storage underneath. The tables and benches can be stored between the two cooking modules when not in use. In full operation, the dining space can accommodate up to 30 people.
The construction and painting was all done with help from volunteers for The Royal Institute of British Architects and the British Red Cross. The kitchen’s vibrant painted patterns were inspired by nautical signal flags and designed with help from members of the RIBA Young People’s Forum.
“As a profession, we architects have a tendency to shy away from questions of social change, instead obsessing over self indulgent form-making,” architect Peter Merrett told Dezeen. “[It] was an opportunity for us to engage with the refugee crisis in a direct and tangible way, and perhaps begin to counteract the atmosphere of fear and suspicion that surrounds immigration and the global refugee crisis.”