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Sculpting Life Into Concrete

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How Hilde Assies went from her husband’s assistant to his business partner

Hilde Assies runs BRUUD with her husband, visual artist Ruud Visser. Joining the business shortly after meeting her husband.

Essentially starting in an admin role, nearly 20 years on, Hilde is an integral part of BRUUD and works alongside Ruud as the manager of the company, the great woman behind the great man, if you will.

BRUUD works can be found at various locations in the Netherlands and abroad in leisure parks, zoos, wellness centres and museums. But also, the private sector with specific wishes finds its way to BRUUD for applications for indoors and outdoors.

BRUUD is a company that specialises in the use of concrete in the form of sculptures and finishing applications. This includes rock formations, sculptures, art expressions and wall finishes. From design to implementation.

What inspired you to join BRUUD?

I had to find a way of working with my husband so we both had a place where we could be happy in the long term.

Ruud is a visual artist and graduated from the art academy. When we met, almost 20 years ago, he had his own professional practice as an artist. At that time, he was commissioned for work in art decor.

I quickly joined the company. I started by doing the paperwork and written communication. Sending mail soon resulted in more work. More and more diverse applications and assignments were received. Over the years we have built up a huge network with many specialists. I do not remember us saying “This is not possible”.

Tell us about the materials you use

Ruud was so touched by concrete as a material for practical applications that he specialized at a high level in the use of this material. Concrete can be used for many applications because of its properties as a durable material.

We make objects that will last more than a century. In the company we do not only work with concrete, but also with other materials such as wood, clay, paint and steel.

What’s your role within the business?

Our team consists of all-round employees. Ruud is the artist, art director, inspiration behind the company’s ethos and front man in the workplace. I am the manager. I followed an architectural education. I have worked for contractors and municipalities, among other things. In my career I have grown into a legal assistant.

My work experience from the past comes in handy; I can manage a myriad of aspects created by the complex nature of our business, which includes bringing not only novelty in how we include art into modern living, but a new perspective on recycling redundant materials into beautiful pieces of art that convey feelings and emotions.

How does the business work?

When BRUUD is approached for a project, we first contact the customer and discuss his or her wishes. Based on the first interview and the first information obtained, a first impression is made with a mood board. If this first approach has been agreed upon, the design will be worked out, a process in which the customer is closely involved.

Eventually this results in an animation. These animations give our customers a good impression of what they can expect. When the design is ready, the actual implementation of the project can start. Sometimes an assignment can be made in our studio, other times everything is made on location. The work of BRUUD is a craft, everything is made and shaped by hand.

Who are the people who could benefit?

Anyone who wants to make a difference! A difference in the experience of an indoor or outdoor space for private customers and companies. The addition of applied art and design gives extra status and luxury. Everything is possible and BRUUD sees challenges everywhere, as a critical artist, Ruud always wants to continue to improve and develop himself. He does not stop until he is satisfied.

We work with the best employees in the business. Ruud inspires them and I guide them to get the best out of themselves to make the most awesome products. This is the power that distinguishes BRUUD in this industry.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far?

Making a cenote cave for a wellness centre. It’s a huge cave with a saltwater pool in it, the design is inspired by a Mexican cenote cave.

Where do you turn for inspiration and why?

BRUUD creates status and luxury appearance by adding a high-end finish, usually based on a specific ethos that the client wants to define their interior, outdoor space, gardens or luxurious habitat for leisure.

Often the first inspiration comes from the customer’s wishes. We then return to our base where we draw inspiration from our family, the people around us and the environment in which we find ourselves. We are always looking for purity and beauty.

About Hilde Assies

Hilde lives with her husband Ruud and their four children in the National Park ‘The Brabantse Biesbosch’ and they run BRUUD, from their atelier in the same area.

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