Unveiling croatian wetlands’ local plants’ potential* through a collective herbarium.

In the continuity of the programs conducted in the Lonja wetlands for the Croatian architecture Biennale, I led a group of design students through the wetlands area of Lonja in Croatia, together with Vesna Vukovic, a curator and researcher.
The workshop was co-lead by Ivana Fabrio, associate professor at studij dizajna and Nataša Njegovanović, PhD fellow and assistant.

During this two-day workshop, thirteen girls explored the rich local flora of the Lonja wetlands, using the centuries-old protocol of herbarium collection to pick thirteen plants to focus on. They investigated ethnobotanical links that locals have tied with native plants in the past, bringing those connections back to our awareness in the form of a pop-up exhibition at the design school. This short investigation paved the way for different perspectives on the silent beings that we often take for granted, exploring the ways in which people are/have been using plants, potentially opening up a new sense of care or unexpected applications.

*Potential: can be understood as a potential application for our human world (as a material, a colour source, an edible), but can also include the potential for ecosystemic reasons, between the plant and their non-human partners.