Six international workshops for design professionals moderated by global masters from the fields of design, architecture, branding and advertising took place last month for the annual Belgrade Design Week (BDW). BDW was the first festival for modern businesses and the creative industries in the region, covering an area home to more than 100 million people from Milan to Istanbul.
For the first time, the event was sponsored by product and materials library Architectonic. "Belgrade Design Week is not for control freaks. Try to attend with an agenda in terms of what you want to see, to hear, to experience, and you'll leave frustrated. But go with the Belgradian flow, accept the rhythm and pace of this truly unique event, and you'll leave more creatively enriched and inspired than you could ever have imagined," said an Architectonic editor.
"There's a rawness, an immediacy in Belgrade that's long disappeared from other European cultures. It plays out in outstanding hospitality, in a passion for conversation and the exchange of ideas. Belgrade wants to know you and wants you to know it. And all of this against a physical and psychological backdrop where the recent past still informs the present. Belgrade is like a tonic. We recommend you take it once yearly – at least."
In answer to the question 'What is the FUTURE for you?' the Architectonic editor responded, "Having an idea that's bold and captures – or is ahead of – the zeitgeist, and realising this idea step by step, with intelligence and passion, all the time being prepared for something unexpected to emerge from it all – this is one way of envisaging the future."
The Croatian artist Goran Lelas showcased in his masterclass the craft of creating dolls and toys that secured him a permanent exhibition space in New York's MOMA, while Božana Komljenović taught gathered architects how to apply lessons from the work practise of Zaha Hadid Architects, where she is one of the associates.
The members of the Swedish creative group SNASK inspired future branding strategists with their powerful attitude to create corporate love-stories, the Austrian branding guru Manfred Stoeckl showed to marketing professionals how to defend domestic FMCG brands against foreign competition, the international design-star Dejana Kabiljo taught future designers how to become famous in Milan, while the Portuguese company Parque EXPO showcased to the gathered architects and urban planners how to unlock incredible potential out of post-industrial zones in Belgrade, with urban regeneration projects for which they are world famous for.
Dieter Meier. Fotografija: Vladimir Miladinović Piki
The workshop program was rounded up with an excellent masterclass by the leading Swedish professor and publicist Emma Stenstrom from the Konstfak University in Stockholm, about the development of cities and societies with development of cultural projects, that was dedicated to the experts gathered around the important Belgrade 2020 project.
Another novelty from this year's BDW program was presented with three panels dedicated to key public topics important for the creative future of Serbia and the entire region
The topics included: "FUTURE EUROPE", in which successful EU design stars of Serbian and regional origin from BDW's famous transverse "from Istanbul to Vienna" held lectures. Dejana Kabiljo from Vienna, Marko Luković from Beograd, Lidija Pritržnik from the Gorenje Design Studio/Ljubljana and the new design director of the MAK in Vienna, Thomas Geisler, showed that Europe knows no boundaries when creativity is in question.
"FUTURE CITY" was opened with the presentation by the Belgrade's City Architect Mr. Dejan Vasović about Belgrade's latest succesful international competition, the "Beton Hala" project. With the topic "Models for Belgrade", this panel showcased outstanding professionals who changed the faces of important European cities, such as Mario Sua Kay from Portugal with his crown project, the Red Star Belgrade stadium, the vast showcases of Parque Expo from Lisbon, and the expanding Ofis Architects from Slovenija, winning major competitions as far as in Paris and Belarus.
The final panel "FUTURE SOCIETY" with the topic "Models for Serbia" added to the general focus of finding roadmaps for the future, by showcasing projects such as the architectural and branding competition for the Center for the Promotion of Science in Serbia, to serve as possible inspiration for a future national development strategy. The speakers included Milica Vuković the BEDA Ambassador from London, the avantgarde Viennese architect Wolfgang Tschappeller, the Director of the Center for the Promotion of Science in Serbia Aleksandra Drecun, and Ema Stenstrom, the famous professor and publicist from Stockholm.
The project "100% Future Serbia powered by Gorenje," presenting fresh talents in Serbia, organized in such an original way for the first time, created a storm of interest by the media, especially by foreign correspondents who visited BDW for the first time, eager to find out more about the domestic creative scene. 159 Serbian designers were presented with the opportunity to show their best work in 115 centrally located shop windows, kindly donated by the owners, for the first time ever in Belgrade. The project was opened in the "Gorenje Studio New Belgrade" on May 25th, with a huge party for all participants sponsored by the host.