Union N.V. footglove® is a non-sterile, natural rubber latex medical device intended to be worn on a patient’s healthy, injured, or diseased foot as a barrier to prevent transfer of contagious skin conditions, exposure to biological hazards, or as a barrier to moisture. It is normally available non-prescription over-the-counter for use in various clinical and non-clinical settings.

For more than 10 years, Belgian designer and manufacturer Milko Brusselmans has been experimenting with the engineering of folded metal plate furniture and modular storage systems which are today licensed to Union N.V. for their commercialization under the series® label.

Designing is not a matter of searching for the beautiful says Milko Brusselmans, “it is the challenge to create something truly useful, balanced in it’s form and most of all affordable for a broad range of consumers.” As R. Buckminster Fuller once said “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” Finding solutions to remain affordable while delivering quality useful material is Milko Brusselman’s primary motivation in design. “Mass production of something truly useful and of a high quality is a great achievement, but those successful designs also need to remain accessible to the public”, says Brusselmans.

Union N.V. signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Dutch industrial designer Friso Kramer (b. 1922) for the manufacturing and the distribution of the Brinkbank concrete bench and sidetable under the series® label.

The Brinkbank (Brink-bench) was first introduced in 1993 at the Brink, the monumental central square of the city of Deventer in The Netherlands as well as in public spaces around Amsterdam and Schiphol and came in two distinct models. The first type which has a higher backrest is more comfortable and of a larger size. A more compact version has a lower backrest, is less comfortable and conceived for a more dynamic use. It has a distinctive feature which is absent from the larger, more comfortable one. An outer horizontal beam located at the back serves the purpose of offering the passer-by the opportunity to lean in standing position and interact with other individuals sitting or standing on the bench. “People don’t sit on a public bench because it is visually attractive”, says Friso Kramer, “they make use of it because they identify the structure as a stable and durable anchor point in the public space”.

The Brinkbank seems weightless even with it’s heavy concrete structure, says the designer, but it’s monumentality and esthetic success was by no means the starting point. “Both models need to be covered in humans, because humans are the fabric of the Brinkbank. It is thought in relation to people and their whereabouts, their life in the community because it was designed for social interaction. It is responsible design because it’s primary function is serving communities by creating an interactive space.”¹

In today’s post-industrial society tattoos have become a widespread mode of expression, they are a mass phenomena which echo fashion’s consumerist attitudes. But it is as says Maddy d’Oliveira, “an undeniable positive phenomena because it transcends fashion by marking the individual well below the surface because it is permanent. It is therefore a positive move towards modes of expression which seek a deeper meaning”. We asked graphic artist Maddy d’Oliveira to collaborate on the prints for the 2014 series® t-shirt edition which is composed of six works in total. The skinprint edition is limited in numbers and signed by the graphic designer.

¹ Interview with Friso Kramer in Amsterdam on the 30th of June 2014