How co-design and digital fabrication improves the lives of disabled kids. Two projects by the participative brand Unico.

When it comes to disability, beauty is a vehicle for social inclusion

What is it?


A brand created by the Milan based Fab Lab OpenDot with the TOG Foundation, a center of excellence for the rehabilitation of children affected by complex neurological diseases.


What does it do?


UNICO designs and manufactures customized products and aids using a co-design method. Its guiding values are utility, specificity, sustainability and beauty.

Why is it in Design Collisions?


UNICO products are co-designed by OpenDot makers and designers with TOG therapists, children with disabilities and their families. Thanks to the collaborative approach the solutions that are developed have rehabilitative efficacy and provide an actual improvement in the quality of life of children with disabilities.

Is it design?


The project is based on the co-design principles, in which everyone’s input is fundamental: the therapists provide technical and scientific contribution on functionality, designers deal with feasibility, engineering and production, patients and their families personalize the objects. Aesthetics are key in this process: an object that corresponds to the patient’s idea of beauty is a vehicle for social inclusion.

see 2 UNICO projects by OpenDot

Everyone’s bike

A sartorial bycicle that was co-designed and digitally fabricated. A custom-made product that can be adjusted and made at an affordable price anywhere.


Lorenzo is 7 years old. He suffers from a complex neurological pathology that makes everyday actions – like riding a bicycle – difficult. Co-design, customization and rapid prototyping have made it possible to produce a three-wheeled bike with reduced cranks, an ergonomic saddle, back support and adjustable handlebar. The model is easily adaptable for anyone thanks to its parametric design: which relates components and parameters, and allows for the modification of all dimensional values following a change in the input data.


A project by OpenDot and TOG Foundation with designers Sara Monacchi, Andrea Pelino, Luca Toscano.


Glifo is a writing support that allows children with complex neurological diseases to perform a functional grip . Lightweight, washable, adjustable and made to measure and at low cost (thanks to 3D printing), it works on the dorsal part of the hand, discouraging the contraction of the limb and making the rehabilitation activity effective at school and at home. It was developed through co-design practise between makers, designers, therapists with kinesiological skills and families of children with disabilities.