Homeless people are making furniture that will be shown off at the V&A

Deptford charity The 999 Club is working with the museum to upcycle old exhibition packing crates with the end goal of creating furniture to kit out their new homes

Vulnerably housed people are building unique furniture for their new homes with upcycled materials, thanks to a collaboration between the V&A and Deptford charity The 999 Club.

The project pairs eight people – who are either staying at the charity’s night shelter or have previously been homeless – with professional designers to create pieces of furniture entirely made from donated materials.

The finished pieces will be exhibited at London Design Festival on September 22, at the V&A’s event Exhibition Road Day of Design.

The pieces of furniture are intended to be functional and attractive, for use in the temporary accommodation people stay in when they’ve moved on from The 999 Club shelter.

Among the upcycled materials used will be packing crates from V&A exhibitions as well as other reclaimed items. They’ll be used to construct chairs, benches, shelving, beds and desks.

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All eight of the 999 Club participants are currently working away in a Lewisham College workshop for the six-week project.

One of the crafters is Dean, who is working with mentor Ellen Svenningsen on a high-backed chair that will double as storage.

The 999 Club V&A
The-999-Club-V&A-Dean's-chair
Dean is working on a high-backed chair with storage to use in his new home

He said: “The type of properties we are being sent to view are small. I wanted something that would be a bit of a statement piece, but not take up too much space, and I want to use it for different functions.”

The Exhibition Road Day of Design focuses on design solutions to climate change with free drop-in installations on show as well as workshops and a food-waste feast provided by People’s Kitchen that will be served on upcycled tables made through the 999 Club team-up.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together expert furniture designer-makers with people who have experienced homelessness to co-create and make personal pieces of furniture which are multi-purpose and sustainable,” said Tim Fallon, CEO of the 999 Club.

Images: The 999 Club