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Textiles (MA)

Yuxin Luo

Yuxin Luo is a textile designer focusing on bionic design and sustainable materials. With great interest in exploring different media and materials, Yuxin is trying to express her feelings and thoughts through multidisciplinary and multimedia design.

During her study at Royal College of Art, Yuxin was strongly inspired and motivated by the conflict and blend of nature and human-made objects in city life. She believes that trying to understand nature’s messages can be a starting point or turning point for thinking more about sharing with nature.

Degree Details

School of DesignTextiles (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Kensington, Darwin Building, Seventh floor

Personal photo

The Invisible Symbiosis: Yellow in Grey


‘Symbiosis’ was originally derived from the mutualistic relationship between fungi and bacteria within lichens.

‘Yellow’ represents Xanthoria parietina, the main character in this project.

‘Grey’ represents cities, the ones who provide X. parietina with an opportunity to express more while growing.

The title' The Invisible Symbiosis: Yellow in Grey' refers not only to my first impressions of X. parietina growing on urban objects, but also represents the message that X. parietina convey through their unique colour in the city and the invisible relationship among X. parietina , human and the city.


In cities, vehicles are the main cause of nitrogen pollution.When nitrogen pollution increases, unlike other lichens, Xanthoria parietina, as a nitrogen-loving species, will continue to grow and breed. Because of this property, it begins to act as a natural monitor of nitrogen pollution.

But, do we really understand its language?

While translating X. parietina’s properties under nitrogen pollution through textiles’ language, Yuxin hopes people could understand more about X. parietina's unique language, and this project also aims to lead people to think more about their living environment and relationship with nature under climate issues.


‘And if "we" are to survive the Anthropocene-this indeterminate epoch of ours in which the world beyond the human is being increasingly made over by the all-too-human- we will have to actively cultivate these ways of thinking with and like forests.’

——Eduardo Kohn

How Forests Think : Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human

A trailer of the whole project.

For better viewing experience, please select 4K mode or go directly to the YouTube page.





Research on Xanthoria parietina.

It shows different colours from grey, green, yellow to orange in different environments due to its photo-sensitivity. Also, its lobes, thalli and apothecia will change shapes in different stages and states of growth.

Great thanks to the lichen collection at the Natural History Museum and research help from Dr. Gothamie Weerakoon.


To depict the aging process more clearly, I've set up on some ideal conditions:

  • Under rising nitrogen pollution levels
  • Period : From late winter/early spring to late summer

Each pattern will capture one moment of Xanthoria parietina's growth and state under nitrogen pollution.

laser cutting for pattern

Pattern exploration

Pattern exploration with laser cutting and flocking

color test

Colour and material tests

Colour: Jesmonite pigment, wood ash and natural dye bath

Material: Jesmonite AC730

biobrick sample
biobricks and moulding

Colour: natural pigments, wood ash and edible food colouring.

Materials : eggshells, calcium carbonate powder for feeding.

final pieces
final 1

This project will be ongoing, as will the research on Xanthoria parietina.

There is a long way to go, some mistakes or incorrect details may still exist in the project and will be corrected in Yuxin's future study.

Welcome to any advice and corrections :)


Jesmonite, Wood ash, natural pigment
lichen dye


biomaterials(bioplastic), tree barks, plywood, lichen dye, temperature-sensitive powders