Designing food as a driver for innovation with Design for Europe Summit

    Design for Europe is a three-year programme to support design-driven innovation across Europe co-funded by the European Union as part of the EU’s Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation.


    Running from 2014 to December 2016, Design for Europe, a consortium of 14 organizations, held nearly 100 events across Europe reaching more than 5,000 business leaders, policymakers, public servants, designers and academics in over 50 European cities. By building a network of design ambassadors and experts from across Europe, Design for Europe has catalyzed design-driven innovation resulting in significant regional and national impact. The final event, Design for Europe Summit brought together at Kultuurikatel in Tallinn an audience of 300 people amongst partners and professionals of design-led organizations from all over Europe and neighboring countries.


    Main stage at Design for Europe 2016


    The Challenge

    The purpose of the ‘Powering Innovation’ Summit was to offer an interactive opportunity to connect design leaders, share results on design-driven innovation projects in the partnering countries, assess the skills needed in our workforce, learn how design can address significant societal challenges, and explore how innovation can be implemented and scaled more efficiently. Design Council, the consortium leader for Design for Europe, asked WE Factory to design and execute the food experience. The conference has successfully contributed to Design Council being seen as a leading partner within the project, and design as a catalyst force for innovation within Europe.


    “We were determined to provide an event experience that was different from your typical corporate conference. Instead, we decided to highly design it – and here WE Factory really helped us. WE Factory’ knowledge of food and understanding of client’s needs was marvelous. They brought an extraordinary network of food & drink suppliers, outside the box thinking and in appreciation of our budget capabilities. Knowing our audience, they’ve designed a nutritious and healthy food experience, which kept all the design professional excited and nourished all day long. They were a pleasure to work with, and we couldn’t have been more satisfied.”

    – Tracy Breeze, Design Council


    The Making of Design for Europe Summit

    WE Factory created the Design For Europe Summit food experience with key design principles in mind including:

    -Embracing innovation and fluidity all around

    -We commit collectively to championing design

    -I’m here, show me that you care about me as a person and as a co-creator of the experience


    Holistic Conference Design

    Space had to serve multiple purposes: to network and host group sessions and to display food stations and offer enough space for eating and chatting during the coffee breaks and the meals.

    We decided to use metallic grid cubes of different sizes to form mobile, flexible, and modulable food stations. We could move them aside quickly and recompose them in different shapes the other activities. Some cubes remained permanent and displayed filtered single-origin coffee, caffeine-free tea, water, and fresh fruits available all day long.


    Design for Europe cubes

    Design for Europe Summit, the space



    An 8-hr conference can be exhausting for the mind. And often the average catering provides sugar-filled buffets with low nutrients. We designed a nutritional, colorful, and seasonal menu. It was pleasurable for all senses. And at the same time, it ensured best performance and participation.

    We tailored the experience around healthy, high-quality, sustainable (as much as possible) products catered by a curated network of the best food & drink suppliers in Tallinn.

    A-la-carte specialty coffee, fresh fruit, water and caffeine free tea were available all day long. We also surprised the guests with a plant-based muffin and cake buffet half-way through the afternoon. For the final toast, we served homemade veggie chips and a vacuum cocktail bar with Summit signature alcohol and alcohol-free drinks.


    Organic lunch buffet at Design for Europe Summit

    A plate with Vegetarian food


    Design for Europe cocktails


    Read more about our vision for sustainable events here.

    If you need any help with transforming your conference into a memorable experience or would like to know more about in-house experience design training options please take a look at Conference or contact us at

    • Client Design for Europe
    • Date June 10, 2017
    • Tags Conference, Food Experience Design