María-Elena Pombo

Alumni - Parsons New School

María-Elena Pombo is the founder of Fragmentario, an experimental studio founded in Brooklyn in 2016.

Fragmentario’s research-centered practice draws from many disciplines, from food-studies, history, science, and linguistics, and seeks to provoke conversations around colonization, geopolitics, migration, anthropocentrism, and globalization.

Fragmentario recontextualizes and transforms ubiquitous materials by using vernacular and experimental processes. She is best known for her work using avocado seeds gathered by local restaurant workers. A framework to create a participatory practice centered on structures of cooperation. She transforms and recontextualizes these seeds as a material to dye fabric, make bricks, plastics, leathers, glass, electricity, and fuel for cars. With these material explorations, she has created an inter-disciplinary body of work centered around speculative design propositions spanning fashion, environments, experiences, systems, and more.

Her work has been exhibited at Somerset House (London, England), Mana Contemporary (Jersey City, USA), SXSW (Austin, USA), A/D/O (Brooklyn, USA), Yamamoto-Seika (Osaka, Japan), GBG Arts (Caracas, Venezuela), and more across the USA, Japan, Europe, and Latin-America.

Pombo won the 2021 London Design Biennale’s Theme Medal and has received grants from New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Restoration Project, and more. She is currently long listed for the 2022 Dezeen Awards in the Emerging Design Studio category. She is a NEW INC’S Year 9 member in the Creative Science track.

Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue Latinoamérica, Forbes, The Financial Times, The Slow Down, i-D Italia, Metal Magazine, Dezeen, and the book ‘True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes.’

With Fragmentario, Pombo has worked as a consultant for Inditex, HBO, Buffy, Melissa Shoes, Coach, Calvin Klein, and more.

Pombo has worked as faculty at Parsons School of Design, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and other traditional and unorthodox spaces internationally.

Pombo is a graduate from Parsons School of Design (NY, USA), where she studied Fashion Design, and Universidad Simón Bolívar (Caracas, Venezuela), where she studied Industrial Engineering.