10 Jun 2015.

A letter from Ohio

Joe Fegleman about his internship


We have written about Joe Fegelman before. He is a fifth-year industrial design student at the University of Cincinnati. Last month, he finished a three month internship in Brigada. Here’s what he wrote to us after he came back to Ohio:

Most people’s reaction upon meeting a guy from Ohio was something along the lines of, “what exactly are you doing all the way over here in Croatia?” I was wondering the same thing my first few days, but it was quickly apparent that I had undertaken something that would be very valuable to me.

I first stumbled upon Brigada’s website over a year ago while Googling for “spatial design.” After completing a few internships working exclusively with industrial designers, I was keen to try working with people from other backgrounds. I also found myself less interested in the technicality of product design, and more interested in the design of a sum of parts, especially regarding interior retail design. Brigada beckoned as a perfect opportunity to try this, and thanks to their openness in working with an intern from abroad, the following February I was in Zagreb.

After my first day, it became clear that I would need to adjust my working style to match the faster pace of Brigada. Working with a lot of projects and short timelines created an intensity that completely changed my approach to design. It taught me to dilute things to their essentials and make better decisions faster.

As a student, this is so valuable because it is rare to experience real constraints and expectations. In most cases, companies use interns for broad idea generation. While this is good to practice ideation, sketching, and everything else that happens early in the design process, it does not teach how to execute an idea in reality. But on several projects at Brigada, I was able to follow a project completely from conception to execution and see the final result.  Before my time there, I was fixated in the nebulous space of idea generation without any practical application. There was a different half to the design process that I had not practiced, and Brigada helped me become much more proficient in it.

Overall, my time at Brigada and in Croatia was great. I managed to do some traveling, and was able to explore Slavonia and Dalmatia before leaving.

Brigada also took two more interns from my university for the summer. It’s great to have established a connection between two places that previously had nothing in common. I think there are few places in the United States that work exactly like Brigada does, and it was completely invaluable to experience that.

Best of luck to Brigada and the rest of Bruketa&Žinić OM.

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