The Brendon takeover is almost over, but before we Switch to another member of the team, we corner Bre by the water-cooler and menace him with questions and shiny things until he talks about his favourite project at Switch. Having been here for nine years, Bre’s seen a lot of what Switch can do. However, the ICOM EMEA 2018 project was his favourite. Here’s why, and a little bit of background behind his creative madness.
So you moved here from Australia when you were pretty young. Anything about Malta that struck you in particular?
I moved to Malta when I was about 12 years old, and I remember my first thought was ‘it’s all just rock’ – everything’s beige, everything’s rough, no lawns, no greenery. I remember tearing up my converse on the rocks within my first week here, just riding around on my bike and getting used to the island.
Like, I went from having 7 acres of greenery in my backyard to just—-rock.
One thing Malta did give me, though, was freedom. Going to festas when I was little, that was — in Malta, my parents would just be like ‘go outside’, and I’d take my bike and ride around, and explore, and I never got to do that in Australia. So for me, that’s what Malta gave me — once I got over the ‘no lawns’ issue. Freedom. A lot, and a lot, of freedom.
What says Malta to you?
Summer evenings. Maltese summer evenings, they’re just — there’s so much light. You get off of work, and you go back home, and there’s more family time, more time to do my hobbies, more time to myself; more time just to enjoy. In winter, it gets dark around 5PM, so you leave work and it’s already too dark to do anything – but in summer, it starts getting dark around 7PM, 8PM. That’s time for me to do the stuff I like, to work with my hands.
Love a good beach day, too. Something different. I live in a ‘green’ area in Malta, so getting to go to the beach and goof around by the water, that’s—really nice.
What hobbies do you have? I don’t think we’ve ever actually sat down and talked about it.
Yeah, nah, I don’t think we have. Uh, hobbies, hobbies… I like building stuff. Making stuff with my hands, you know? I’m building a forge, I love making knives – I’ve done everything from jewellery making to lace making, to woodworking. Anything I can do with my hands, it’s already a new hobby for me. I don’t get the chance to do much of it at work, you know; I work mostly on computers, but whenever I get a chance to, I’m making something.
So the ICOM EMEA 2018 project had a lot of hand-built elements. Was that intentional, or—?
Uh — I don’t know if it was intentional, like I said, I just like — building stuff. And it was something completely different, you know? There’s never been an ICOM identity like this one before, not as — tactile, not as colourful. Everyone in the Switch team just pooled their ideas, and came together to make up something that we could stamp our personalities on.
Sorry! Just realised we haven’t actually talked about why ICOM EMEA 2018 was your favourite. Do you mind talking me through it?
ICOM EMEA 2018 was the project that really — to me, it was just Switch. Everything, from the pencils to the offices — everything was hand-picked, hand-made. It gave me a chance to get away from my desk – gave everyone a chance to get away from their desk, actually work together, actually get to do something with our hands.
I think at Switch it can be easy to get just bogged down with our computers, so having, like — a reason to get up, get moving, go downstairs to help with the offices, or go into the boardroom to paint pencils, it was good. It was nice. Really spoke to me, to what I liked – that’s why ICOM EMEA’s my favourite, I think. It was just — a team effort, all the way. It felt harmonious, even with the time-constraints – we couldn’t really make any mistakes, you know, because we were working with a time-limit, but like — everything went great, everything was good.
Getting to plan an event where people could experience Malta locally — I’ve planned international events which showcased Malta abroad, but planning something that let people experience Malta while being in Malta, it’s a whole different level. We got them to understand Maltese culture through like — we booked a Maltese bus, we got a luzzu that never actually materialised (because of the weather), we got to play with bright, Mediterranean colours.
To me, ICOM EMEA was just showcasing Malta, showcasing Switch as a Maltese company, showcasing the company culture as influenced by Malta — and getting to see that on the faces of the people visiting was just — awe-inspiring. It was team-building, team effort, and physical: people were moving, interacting, bouncing off each other. It was fan-_____-tastic, on a completely different level.
Wow! Thank you so much for talking to me. I’ll let you go now.
And with that, our Bre takeover is completely over! Next week, another Switcher is going to be front and centre on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, so buckle down and get excited!