Gaja Mežnarić Osole

Gaja Mežnarić Osole (1984) works in the field of design, ecology and participation. After completing her undergraduate studies of visual communication at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, she continued her education in system design at Goldsmiths, University in London. Her master’s thesis focused on a critical reflection on the contemporary roles of designers and design in relation to the current economic, social and environmental situation (The Truth Lies in Dreams of Many: Reflections of a Design Student on Changing Roles and Design Practice). Together with Andrej Koruza, she has been running the Trajna collective since 2017. She creates opportunities to question established strategies for addressing the problem of invasive plants, which builds a space on a flimsy scientific basis for alarmism and ineffective tackling of an environmental phenomenon. After successfully implementing projects in the field of innovative treatment of invasive plants (Prijazni sovražnik/ A Friendly Enemy – Japanese Knotweed in the Paper Laboratory, Knotweed Games), in cooperation with the Municipality of Ljubljana, she contributed to the establishment of the project Applause: From Harmful to Useful Alien Plants With the Active Involvement of the Inhabitants. As part of the project, the Trajna collective dedicated itself to creating a new circular model, a series of paper and wood products from invasive plants, and creative workshops for children. In the collective, she is actively involved in the management of the invasive plant paper brand Notweed Paper and the installation of a new creative laboratory, Krater, in an overgrown construction pit in Ljubljana. Currently, together with designer Rok Oblak, she is working on the first Krater Summer School, which will focus on designing new materials from local plants.