This project is about a supplemental skin that respires. It is a garment for the modern human, who wanders during the day in the city, a “microenvironment” around the wearer that interacts with the broader changing environment and helps to maintain the condition of thermal comfort.
The design is inspired both in form and function by scales in nature, because the form of living organisms has been optimised over time and depends on many conflicting parameters. Skin of reptiles has interesting fragmentation that helps movement and depends on curvature. Also scales of pine cones vary in shape and size depending on their position on the body, whilst the main feature is their versatility in terms of humidity and temperature.
The design intends to answer multiple questions. The main design axes are related to curvature, adaptivity and thermal comfort. The size and shape of components that makes up the surface is the first design parameter, affected by the curvature of the body and acts globally like scales. The second design parameter acts locally, so each component has the ability to open and close, influenced by environmental conditions (humidity and temperature). The place of the opening and closing components depends on the sweating body parts and the rhythm that the sweat is producing in each part. In this way we define areas where the garment needs more punching to achieve natural ventilation that leads to cooling and thus to thermal comfort. Three-dimensional illustrations of the garment are represented with closed and opened components, so you can see how it is shifting to different temperatures.
The design methods deploy digital technologies. Algorithms are used to create a dynamic system that adapts to different topologies, geometries and environmental conditions. The garment we represent is an example, and this methodology could be applied in different topologies, shapes and scales.
This garment is to be printed in multi material 3D printer. The entire surface will be composed of flexible material, for example filaflex which is a thermoplastic elastomer based polyurethane filament. This is a 700% flexible, soft material. The same printer, with different material deposition head, will incorporate at the same time smart material in components, giving them the ability to move triggered by the environment temperature. It could be self-transforming carbon fibber programmed to transform autonomously by heat as an activator (Self-Assembly Lab, Autodesk Inc, International Design Center, MIT). As a result components open and close contributing to the cooling of the body.
There are models that simulate a dress, based on the discussed parameters: a model of elastic fabric, where panelisation can be observed, a 3d printed mesh for further experimentation and a model with components of carbon.
This project is about a new kind of garment, a prosthetic skin programmed to respire and improves the relationship between human body and environment. The experimental design procedure of this garment can also be applied in buildings, providing thermal comfort conditions to users, thus the title “re[in]spired architecture”.