Researcher / Designer

Sam Bennett is a human-centered researcher and designer with expertise in mixed-method qualitative research in the fields of space, materials, and artifacts. Incredibly curious and filled with questions, Sam enjoys collaborating on projects focused on human well-being and environmental health. You can find her:

researching people’s relationships to objects in the domestic space.

making with mycelium and discarded materials, and repairing meaningful artifacts.

facilitating workshops focused on improving education, office space, and home life.

running Clever/Slice, a creative feedback collective.

designing interiors and objects.

pursuing special projects that are joyful.

Sam also teaches at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
For collaboration or CV, reach out to

Capstone Research + Writing

Color + Material
Defining Place
Ethnographic + Market Research
Interior Design Studio

Making Meaningful Things
Materials + Performance

Materiality + Assembly
Textiles Lab

Healthy Materials Lab
Brooklyn Public Library

Aardvark Interiors
Colony Co-op
Masterson NYC
Ghislaine Viñas
Martha Stewart Living

ethnographic and material investigations

The Things We Keep
An ethnographic study of material possessions in East Harlem.

A home could be likened to a glimpse into our heads. The plaster and lath are the skin and bones, our skull of sorts, a container of all things, sitting, waiting to be observed. The things we keep silently, but visually tell a story of us. Is this why we keep them? So as not to erase our identity? This study sets out to understand consumer culture through people’s most special things in their domestic spaces. With an ethnographic approach, influenced by The Meaning of Things, I conducted in-person interviews, surveys, and workshops with residents discussing their most special things. From these findings, I created Home Moves prompts to re-engage with our things, and a speculative Living Room Lobby to transform personal collections outside of the domestic space.

You can read more in Interiors, Vol. 10 and listen to residents’ stories at

Home Moves
A set of 50 prompts used to explore your things and their
meanings within your own home.

Home Moves is an opportunity for touching objects, examining one’s space, and reconsidering the things one owns. Each prompt emphasizes a new way of seeing and organizing a collection of things. It is meant to open up new possibilities to ways of living that push past convention. It gives agency to the person, their space, and their things, and can literally shift perspectives.  Prompts such as:

Home Move #4: Leave your home. Record everything in your bedroom. Go back home. Find what you didn’t list.

Home Move #16: Remove all until only your identity remains.

You can explore more at

biofabricated and discarded materials and repair

Growth and Decay
What if our objects lasted only as long as we do?  With this question in mind, I grow objects with mycelium and waste materials from agriculture and the textile industry.  I also experiment with biodegradable molds and releasing agents.

Discard / Derive
I set out to make things, out of old things. It seemed simple enough. To study something deeply and see what can happen. To make something new from the discarded.  Can I take the discards of human consumption and transform it into usable material, without using anything but that material?  You can learn more about my explorations at The Dilemma of a Designer.

Darning + Kintsugi
As a new year’s resolution I set out to examine what I have and understand how it’s made. If I’m overcome with wanting something, instead make it, repair it, rent it, and reinvent it with my own hands.  This year ended up being a year of repair.

crafting participatory experiences through creative facilitation

Re-Imagining the Critique
A series dedicated to creating alternative forms of feedback to empower the most vulnerable students.

What is the goal of the critique?  How can the critique uplift and empower all voices, including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and immigrants?  These questions frame a generative workshop series created and led along side Ari Elefterin.  This workshop series examines and deconstructs the current higher education critique practices with an intent to rebuild an inclusive and equitable feedback space to serve a diverse academic community.

This compassionate and futurist exploration aids in the creation of alternative feedback concepts and needs, with students and faculty sharing and gathering mutually beneficial insights of the critique experience. Joining remotely, we used a shared Miro board and Zoom to discuss our feelings and ideas.

The Stuff That Defines Us
A 3-Day workshop dedicated to office culture and the objects within them.

Hired as a consultant for Perkins+Will, I worked with Monica Kumar, Mariana Giraldo, and Enlai Hooi to create a 3-Day workshop with Perkins+Will employees focused on the objects they used for their jobs and the meanings and uses behind them in order to inform the future office configuration shift to “hot” desks. Using open discussion, worksheets, rapid prototyping, and real time observations, the workshop generated a new product line for their offices.  You can read more about the workshop here.

Loose Parts x Home Moves
A 1-Day workshop of adhoc experimentation to empower people to adapt 

Loose Parts and Home Moves came together to bring a greater awareness to the interior and our relationship to things. The inspiration is a Home Moves prompt and the mediums are Loose Parts components and found materials. Set in a Chinatown Soup, we invited participants to build something new and specific to them. They tested, played, and made.

a global space to share in-progress creative work.

Clever/Slice meets monthly following a simple framework called the Critical Response Process that encourages productive, compassionate feedback in order to push the work forward.

Clever/Slice is open to all forms of media and scales. In the past, work has ranged from paintings, product prototypes, animations, plays, installation proposals, workshops, food culture, and music. Before the pandemic, we met in our homes and ate pizza. Now we meet on Zoom, opening this space up to creatives around the world.

We are looking for presenters for our 2023 slices. Stay tuned!

Want to join a future slice?  Sign up for the mailing list.

We make two basic assumptions: that the work presented here is meaningful, and that the artist wants to continue working on it.

If you are looking for approval or rejection, for someone to tell you whether or not what you are doing is worthwhile, you will not find that here.

Our goal is to help you determine where the work needs to go next and how to get there. 

To all of us reacting to the work of others: enjoy this respite from competition and comparison. 

We are here to uncover meaning.

You can read more about Clever/Slice and our view on the critique presented at the 35th National Conference On The Beginning Design Student in the paper “Taking Back The Crit: Contextualizing Through Feedback.”

Follow us on Instagram for all the happenings.

Past presenters include:

Natasha Balwit
Tania Bohórquez
Adam Driggers
Ari Elefterin
Christine Facella
Alex Goldberg
Jennifer June
Jasper Lin
Victoria Manganiello
Madeleine Parsons
Emily Pellerin
Sarah Templin
Kevin Truong

©2022 Sam Bennett