Stillsuits are one of the most interesting facets of life in the open desert of Arrakis, the planet at the heart of Dune. Artist Mark de Bakker has created a primal vision of what early stillsuits could have been.
Desert dwellers of Arrakis, the Fremen, survive in the harsh environment outside the planet’s few urbanized areas with the help of their stillsuits – full body suits that absorb the body’s moisture such as sweat and urine and filter it into clean, drinkable water.
David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune gave us the iconic black stillsuits created by costume designer Bob Ringwood. They had an organic, H.R. Giger-like feel that undoubtedly glamorized living in the desert, riding giant sandworms, and drinking your own urine for those of us who grew up watching that film.
Artist and conceptual designer Mark de Bakker recently shared his designs for a primitive stillsuit created 10,000 years before Paul Muad’Dib lead the Fremen to take control of Arrakis.
“A design for my dune inspired project, set 10k years before the events of the first book,” Mark wrote on Twitter.
He reveals more details on his website:
After the destruction of the old empire, the Zensunni found Dune. Away from the known worlds, they established their own secluded society on Arrakis. Here their culture adapted to the unrelenting environment.
Underneath their decorated armor the Zensunni would wear an Aljulud Althaanui, which translates to “secondary skin”. This complex body suit was used to survive the harsh climate. Many of its features have been adopted by modern stillsuits.
Garments like these were made of hide and even human skin, as these are the few materials available on Arrakis. The Zensunni found it honorable to be turned into an Aljulud Althaanui, since their remnants would benefit their kin after death.
I love the anatomical look, moisture traveling through an artificial vascular system around the body. These would look amazing on film.
Great work, Mark. I want more!
See more of Mark’s work at markdebakkerdesign.com