Born in Rome in 1991, Italian designer Giulia Pompilj specializes in material explorations that combine biology and craft. Much of her practice focuses on ethnobotanical research and natural dye processes as well as the relationships between inhabitants and their environments.
Pompilj earned her bachelor’s degree in 2020 from Design Academy Eindhoven’s Food-Non-Food department; previously, she studied textile and surface design at Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin and earned a bachelor’s degree in interior and product design from Accademia delle Arti e Nuove Tecnologie in Rome.
“My work focuses on ecosystems, which I approach as complex entities composed of elements that intertwine and live together. The 2022 Design Metabolic Relations program at dieDAS deepened my understanding of ecosystems, emphasizing how these elements are constantly influencing and changing each other, as well as my own role in them.” —Giulia Pompilj, 2022 Fellow
Pompilj’s projects to date have considered the relationship between ecosystems and color; the implications of dye processes in the fashion industry; and potential applications for pineapple fiber; among others. Notably, the WARMI project—a collaboration between Pompilj, gastronomic research center Mater Iniciativa, and twenty women from the Kacllaraccay community in Cusco, Peru—embraced a research methodology that married craft and ethnobotanical frames to preserve traditional dyeing techniques and plant-based knowledge while also economically empowering participants. As a result of the project, this craft-ethnobotanical frame continues to be utilized by Mater Iniciativa today.