Skip to main content


Marina Belintani

How to transform a problematic plant into new opportunities?

Reynoutria japonica is considered the worst weed in Europe and has caused serious damage to the natural and built environment. This project aims to reduce the negative impact of this species by using design as a tool to turn something negative into something positive. Through an investigative process of its parts and reuse of its disposal, the plant proved to be a precious local source of raw material for a range of industries. By adding value to this abundant source of raw material located in 45 countries, efficient alternative production systems can emerge, reframing attitudes surrounding this species. Through a process of learning and sharing knowledge, the core project strategy is to connect people with a passion for plants and an interest in collaboration and engaging with the local ecosystem. In this way, we can create a community globally connected to knowledge and capable of operating in their cities, thus promoting more resilient and self-sufficient production models.




Degree Details

School of Design


Marina Belintani is a Brazilian/Italian designer working across the discipline of bio-design and materials. Her goal is to collaborate with the development of effective design systems in the field of materials for a range of industries. She believes that investigating what we have in abundance has the potential to contribute to the development of alternative production systems more efficient with the current world.


2018: Orla Kiely Scholarship

2019: Royal Rui Scarf Competition

2020: Mayor’s Entrepreneur (semi final)

Video: story and context

Making process — Each part of the plant was tested separately and all residues reincorporated into a new making process, creating a cyclical production system without waste. Also, only natural ingredients were added to the recipes.

Natural dyeing — Natural fabrics dyed with different parts of the plant (rhizome, stem, leaf and peduncle), mordant-free.

Coating on glass — Bioplastic leftover used as a coating for glass (peduncle, stem and leaf).

Bioplastic — Liquid residues from natural dyeing used for the development of bioplastics (rhizome, stem, leaf and peduncle).

Biomaterials — Biomaterials made from different residues (paper making, fibre extraction and pigment making).

Woven Japanese knotweed fibre — Surface woven with the fibre extracted from the stem at different stages of the fibre extraction process.

Fabric and lace fibre — Non woven fabric made out from the stems of Japanese knotweed.

Pigment — Transformation of liquid residues from natural dyeing into powder for pigment development (rhizome, stem, leaf and peduncle).

Biocomposite — Solid residues from the dyeing process used for the development of biocomposite (leaf, rhizome, stem and flower).

BiodesignBiomaterialCircular DesignCircular EconomyCMFCo-designcolourMakerMaterialResponseSustainabilitytextiles

Orla Kiely


Notweed Paper

20 July 2020
14:30 (GMT + 0)

Textiles: Meet the Maker

Presentation of students' work, followed by a public Q&A
Read More

Previous Student

Next Student

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
Royal College of Art
Registered Office: Royal College of Art,
Kensington Gore, South Kensington,
London SW7 2EU
RCA™ Royal College of Art™ are trademarks
of the Royal College of Art