Turning Unwanted Samples into Educational Treasures


As of 2020, the construction sector was responsible for an alarming third of the UK’s total waste output. Driven by our dedication to sustainability and propelled by our B-Corp certification, we are committed to finding inventive solutions to minimize our impact on the construction industry’s waste problem.

This is evident in our values led approach to designing, from the terrazzo fireplace made from recycled materials in Inhabit Queen’s Gardens, to the tabletops made from coffee granules in the Corner at Tate Modern. However, one specific challenge is how to responsibly and meaningfully deal with the surplus samples that regularly make their way into our possession. Previously, we used our London Festival of Architecture (LFA) event ‘Make it, Don’t Waste it’ as a creative solution, however, this only dealt with a small fraction of our excess samples. It became evident that a more comprehensive approach was needed to tackle the larger volume that persisted.

Using surplus samples to create terrazzo coaster at 'Make it, Don't Waste it'

The Sample Project

Enter The Sample Project, an ingenious brainchild of Sophie Halliday, a dedicated Primary teacher from Southeast London.

After noticing all the amazing materials going to waste in her husband’s work, a fellow architect practice, and her awareness of the high costs of ‘loose part’ play packs from schools, she realized one industries problem could be another’s solution. The Sample Project supplies schools, both locally and further afield, with ‘loose part’ play materials. This form of open-ended learning encourages children to utilize everyday objects for self-guided exploration, fostering creativity, curiosity, and crucial critical thinking skills.

Loose play materials being used in education © Sophie Halliday

So far, we have contributed:

15kg Fabric

24kg Wood

206kg Tiles

15kg Concrete

11kg Stone/Marble

12kg Miscellaneous

Creating a grand total of 283kg of repurposed samples.

You can read more about Sophie and The Sample Project here.

Process for donating surplus samples to The Sample Project