D-Air Lab has taken up UNLESS challenge to design an ad-hoc garment for the extreme needs of explorers and scientists, providing a technological equipment that leverages smart dress skills and applies solutions from the worlds of motorcycle racing, skiing, and space exploration.

The Antarctica Suit is designed to become the first “home” for scholars in Antarctica: it is comfortable and functional. For this reason, the suit is composed of two distinct elements with different functions that complement each other: a very thin inner layer, in contact with the body, and an outer cover in contact with the environment. This represents a significant improvement over the current equipment, made of many layers that are not very functional and excessively cumbersome.

The inner layer has been designed according to the functioning of the body itself, which is able to regulate its temperature according to the climatic conditions in which it is located: in the same way the inner layer of the Antarctica Suit, thanks to the different materials of which the yarns that compose it are made, is able to regulate temperature and ventilation/transpiration according to the climatic conditions and needs. The underwear is in fact, composed of a silk yarn that allows it to be comfortable in contact with the skin, from a more rigid yarn that allows ventilation and a silver yarn that allows the creation of conductive traces able to conductive paths that generate heat. Thanks to these conductive silver yarns fully integrated in the fabric of the suit and located along the chest and back, the body temperature of the explorer is continuously monitored: the yarns are in fact powered by a Flexible PCB located in the lumbar area, which is able both to receive data from sensors positioned along the body, and to generate energy to spread the necessary heat.

The external cover is made by a stratification of six different materials, each one with specific properties that allow maximum thermal efficiency. The layers closer to the body retain heat and let the moisture to move outside; while the outer layers keep out the cold and wind. The cover has been designed to minimize the overall dimensions, to allow and facilitate every movement. The inner layer and outer cover are designed to minimize seams and cuts, with the aim of making the garment lightweight, efficient and reliable over time.

In addition, the Antarctica Suit has a flexible display designed to provide the user with essential information such as heart rate, body temperature, hiking time, outside temperature and GPS coordinates. This information is extremely valuable when operating in extreme environments.

The Antarctica Suit is currently presented in the exhibition ‘Antarctic Resolution’ curated by Giulia Foscari / UNLESS and hosted in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini of the Venice Biennale on “How will we live together?”, theme of the Architecture Biennale 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis.