It was a busy time at Studio DUNN. As one of the multitude of projects we pursue each summer, molding the minds of young designers is among the top! For the 8th year in a row, we were happy to welcome two interns into our small team, providing an opportunity for hands-on learning while eagerly coaxing--ehm, I mean encouraging--them to contribute their bright ideas to the inner workings at DUNN. After roughly 3 months on our team, and not scaring them away, here’s what our interns had to say about their summer experiences:
What did you learn?
Madison (Junior, Rhode Island School of Design, Industrial Design):
I definitely learned what I wanted to! I saw first-hand how Asher wanted us to start designing. He would then explain the process of what happens afterwards, where manufacturers come into play, depending on if parts need to be subbed out. It was interesting to see--I had never done contract work or [made] anything specific for a project…. At the Studio, in-house, people can get things to their standards. It’s a lot easier than when everything is outsourced.
I also learned a big side of the marketing--a ton of stuff I didn't realize was really specific. I grew up in the age of social media…. I just assumed it was a way of pushing things out.
Val (Junior, Rhode Island School of Design, Industrial Design):
I learned more than I thought I was ‘gonna learn. I learned how a small company worked. I wouldn’t have learned [the same thing] in a big company with everything established. Small companies are ambitious, renaissance, multi-tasking, and dynamic.
I knew Asher was a professor at RISD and that I would get a lot of good instruction. Having a close relationship with the owner was beneficial and served as a knowledge bank.
How did this internship prepare you for your future aspirations?
Madison: It was definitely interesting to see the contrast between juggling projects on a week-to-week basis for RISD and juggling projects on a 3-month timeline [at the studio]. I have a good understanding of how this company works. Because it's such a small studio, I really did get to see [other members of the team] and talk to them about...their jobs and responsibilities. No matter what type of company I go into, I have a grasp of how these structures work and people's roles and responsibilities as well as my own.
Val: I feel more ready to act on certain things. I really want to design for the environment, and I felt a responsibility to make the world a better place…because I come from a different country and understand the struggle of different countries. I’m an international citizen.
Name one highlight from the summer.
Madison: Asher brought popsicles. That made my whole week a lot better.
Val: There was a level of professionality I didn’t expect in an internship. There was distribution of tasks and a clear system and order. The internship handbook--I was really impressed by that…. I felt really valued. From that point, I realized I was in a good internship. That’s what kept me working hard even during hard times, especially as this was my first summer in the U.S.
What was your favorite project?
Madison: The Equinox expansion because I got a lot of creative liberties in but still within a set of boundaries defined by the piece [Asher] had already created. The projects before that were very learning-oriented: seeing how specific techniques and processes were done just in terms of woodworking and manufacturing and marketing. But towards that third project there was a great deal of creative liberty I was given in just the design process.
Val: The Second & Samples Sale. Madison and I both put a lot of effort in. I worked with the branding iron, which was pretty cool. We learned about Quality Control, including quality expectations, and stock managing. We also had a lot of contact with Asher and received lots of training.
How would you characterize Studio DUNN?
Val: It is definitely very friendly and communicative. Interning here, I had a very empowering experience. I had a lot of freedom and independence while enjoying everything that was going on at the same time.
Thank you, Madison and Val, for your time with us at Studio DUNN! We wish you the best of luck with your design aspirations and hope you will remember us when you become famous!