Visitors walking past the icy pond in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden might notice that the painted turtles and red-eared sliders are not basking on the rocks as they do in summer. Where do they hunker down for winter? Turtles actually hibernate deep in the mud at the very bottom of the pond, insulated by layers of ice, water, and muck. When cold-blooded animals like turtles hibernate it’s called “brumation.” In winter, turtles no longer come to the water’s surface to breathe. Instead, they breathe underwater through specialized skin on their neck, legs, and tail. Baby painted turtles can even freeze solid for a few days and still survive! Though the turtles are hidden out of sight, you may be able to spot the koi even on the coldest days. They spend the winter in a similar, slowed-down state, sheltering in the warmer water under the ice.
I wrote this post a long time ago on my other blog. So long ago that I didn’t have a separate blog for solarpunk. In it I discussed ideas for winter solarpunk but I only really touched on aesthetics. I tried to reply to this earlier but my computer died and restarted and everything got deleted so it might be less words and more this time. All the pictures here are just from my pinterest because i’m lazy.
For fashion, as I mentioned in the other post, I think bright colours and patterns would still be important for lively-ing up the dark cold winters. However there would need to be uses of heavier materials (especially wools) to keep warmer. That and just wearing tonnes of layers until you look like a snowman, always important! Also I hope there’s cloaks just because their cool.
For architecture, I usually tend to imagine along the lines of traditional russian and nordic architecture, because its both cool looking and adapted to the cold and snow. There would have to be a lot of domed or steeply pitched roofs to deal with the weight for one thing. Another possibility is going underground, where there is more natural insulation and heat, or using turf roofs and walls. Heck I like the idea of everyone living in huge underground buildings/structures, and then just having the natural environment (whatever that may be) on top of it. Thats not really much of architecture though I suppose.
Another thing like you mentioned is having an aesthetic based on whats growing around you. And though it might not seem like it, there is huge variety environments where people would need to deal with the cold. From temperate places where you can have beautiful summer paired with brutal winters all the way to the antarctic tundra if people decided to settle there with advanced technology in the future. Depending on where you are it greatly influences the flora and fauna!
And heres just some screen shots of cold parts of the planet from google earth. All of these are like kilometers across its really cool!
The best place to start is always with energy sources for me: wind, hydro, solar in the summer. I could imagine some windmill dwellers, or people near waterwheels, or some coastal cold-water port cities.
I would venture that for few communities that get heavy winters, fur-lined everything could be an option. But high tech artificial fur, perhaps something grown like a fuzzy harmless mould that came in bright colours that was grown in caves, could be an idea. I think lots of big, big coats, face covers, hats/hoods and boots, in bright browns and silvers. Perhaps taking up the idea of animal fur being very dense and starting with black at the roots and sliver/white at the tips for camouflage…? There’d be a lot of black, too I imagine. Over the top of these grand poofy coats and such, lithe but sturdy silver gadgets that move with the body along the joints. Tools like knives in compact but slick designs that cling to holsters magnetically, light weight snowgoggles that perch on your face with a HUD.
That’s just the heavy duty going outside stuff, I think inside it would be wool galore. Long, thick weave fabrics of black and dark colours with vegetable dye threads in decoration along side it. Wide necks/boat necks, cute slippers, shawls and cardigans, people with very long or big hair in plaits or braids, big beards and lots of layers! Pendants, buttons, tassels, tufts… I dare say even cloaks and ponchos.
Perhaps for technology, shawls could be literally wispy clouds of nanotech that maintain a comfortable temperature, you could reach into these loose puffs of almost gas and scoop out a handful of shawl to use as a mini projection or a calculator or some app or another. Jewellery would be brooches largely, which holds all sorts of ideas for on hand super tech. Perhaps something quite mundane, personal and domestic in its use, earrings and clips for hair are all good places to sneak in a bit of tech on hand.
I think adaptive materials would be something to consider, something that would thicken or thin according to the weather, perhaps very tight underclothing suits decorated with big fluffy outer layers.
This immediately brings to mind the works of Erte, which aren’t technically 1900-20sish but fuck it, I mean, look at it. It would be so impractical but definitely something to keep in mind:
Maybe not quite so ostentatious… But wide sleeves, big quilted fabrics, furs and huge bear-like silhouettes… Something like this but a lot more frugal… and cuddly.
Architecture: Now I know very little on this subject so I will say that houses in the uk are damn well insulated and we aren’t even that cold, so great insulation, things like log burners and fireplaces that distribute heat about the houses. Lots of window for brightness, wooden houses perhaps. I am not sure whether I would advocate for big or small houses, big to fit lots of people and having heat circulate easier in big open plan spaces, or small, cosy and effiecient spaces.
Flora: Hm. This is interesting. Everything around me is deciduous and very much adapted to the four season cycle and I think even Sibera in the summer is green. I think lots of berry producing plants, lots of hardy herbs with teeny flowers, lots of plants that don’t give a fuck in the frost and drought. They cling to walls and hide in cracks. Lots of lush ferns perhaps, the beautiful fiddleheads could be used in motifs. I think perhaps lichens and mosses, especially when used as things like carpets and clothing and foods could be an idea, lots of big seeds and nut in the autumn.
Pumpkins! Gourds! Mushrooms and roots and truffles! All very hardy! I would love to see some deep northern forest dwellers who live almost totally veggie in a high-tech world, their diet would be amazing…
And who could forget maple! And lots of sap, that means amber!
I am not familiar with evergreens aside from yews and hollies, I’m afraid. Someone might have to pitch in a few ideas.
Hope that starts off a conversation and helps out!