Friday Late with MasterCard

The original contemporary late night event

An ever-changing, curated programme of live performances, cutting-edge fashion, film, installations, debates, special guests and DJs, with bars, food, and late-night exhibition openings.

Held on the last Friday in every month (except December) from 18.30 - 22.00.

Friday Late with MasterCard is free and drop in. All events are available on a first come, first served basis.

All visitors to Friday Late should use the main entrance on Cromwell Road. Please note that if the event reaches capacity, we will operate on a one-in-one-out basis. If you are a V&A Member, corporate member or hold a ticket to an exhibition please use the Exhibition Road entrance.


With MasterCard

Synthetic Aesthetics

Friday 25 April, 18.30-22.00

Can we design life itself? The emerging field of synthetic biology crosses the boundary between science and design to manipulate the stuff of life. These new designers use life as a programmable material, creating new organisms with radical applications from materials to machines. Friday Late turns the V&A into a living laboratory, bringing science and design together for one night of events, workshops and installations, each exploring our biological future.

Friday Late: Synthetic Aesthetics


All events are free and places are designated on a first come, first served basis, unless stated otherwise. Filming and photography will be taking place at this event.

*Please check back for the full programme nearer the time.

Book launch of ‘Synthetic Aesthetics’

The evening will feature the book launch of 'Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature' (MIT Press). The book marks an important point in the development of the emerging discipline of synthetic biology, sitting at the intersection between design and science. Presentations by the book’s editors Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Drew Endy will be followed by a panel discussion with other members of the editorial team, Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter and Alistair Elfick.

Live Lab

A functioning synthetic biology lab will be installed in the grand entrance, placing the reality of this experimental field front and centre within this historic building. The lab will be staffed by researchers from the synthetic biology unit at Imperial College London, who will be conducting their work - such as extracting DNA from strawberries - in public, and fielding questions from visitors.

Music of the Spheres

The digital bits encoded in your hard drive are nothing compared to the awesome capacity and resilience of nature for recording information. Artist Charlotte Jarvis explores how DNA can be used to record things apart from genetics - such as music - for centuries to come. With scientist Nick Goldman and composer Mira Calix, Music of the Spheres aims to encode music into the structure of DNA, which will be suspended in soap solution to create immersive installations and surprising performances filled with bubbles. Jarvis, Calix and Goldman will present the project and release some work-in-progress musical bubbles into the garden.

Xylinum Cones

Xylinum Cones presents a production line that uses bacteria to grow geometric objects. The approach is part of a research project aiming for the development of a renewable cellulose composite material with potential for industrial purposes. Driven by the question, what would it mean for our production culture and our daily lives, if we could grow material goods? The two designers divulge the deliberate development of an integral and tangible production process.

Self Made

Artist Christina Agapakis is fascinated by the similarities between cheese and human microbiodiversity. Taking this interest to the extreme, she cultivates various types of cheese, grown from starter cultures from the human body. Swabs from hands, feet, noses and armpits are transformed into unique smelling fresh cheeses. This video tells the story of this peculiar process. 

Programme cover design

Souvenir programme wrap designed by London-based illustrator Edward Carvalho Monaghan.

Food & Drink

Drinks are available in the Grand Entrance throughout the evening, and in the John Madejski Garden (weather permitting). Food and drinks will be served in the Cafe until 21.00.

About Friday Late

Friday Late began in 1999, establishing the much-copied format for London cultural centres' evening events. The programme celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with both leading and emerging artists and designers. By providing a platform through which to test ideas and challenge convention, Friday Late aims to inspire and provoke, whilst encouraging audiences to interact with the Museum’s collections in new ways.


Behind the Scenes at Friday Late 'Sound It Out'

Friday Late ‘Sound It Out’: Boiler Room Reflections

Keep in Touch


Twitter - use #FridayLate to join the conversation

MasterCard is delighted to be partnering with Friday Late at the V&A, where each month we will be hosting the MasterCard Cocktail Bar exclusively for cardholders. There will be discounted drinks and other fantastic offers to redeem on the night when you use your MasterCard. If you haven’t already, you can sign up on and take advantage of all the latest London offers and special events. Come see us in gallery 116 accessed by the staircase beside the main entrance.

The Medal Cabinet Appeal

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Yohji Yamamoto||RF20F

Yohji Yamamoto||RF20F

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