Belgrade Design Week 2011

The 6th Belgrade Design Week was held between the 23rd and 28th May 2011. As part of the Design Week from the 26th to the 28th of May, our famous three-day educational conference at Yugoslav Drama Theatre, this year under the name FUTURE², once again presented the leading global creative thinkers of the 21st century. The conference was focused on scenarios for the future: finding solutions, ideas, models, tendencies for future needs based on European values and standards, with the goal to define, understand and establish frameworks for the future society. Delegates had the opportunity to inform themselves about latest global developments from the creative industries, to learn from the leading international companies, brands and individuals on how to adapt to changes in the future economy. For the first time within the Belgrade Design Week, we organized late night program of passionate "BDW Dizajnights" as a full blooded urban music festival, with the appearance of world-known superstars five days in a row. Additionally, well-established "BDW Dizajnlabs" workshops and masterclasses, complemented as each year the city -wide satellite daily program of film projections, exhibitions, cocktail receptions and promotions, known under the name of "BDW Dizajnpremieres".

The sixth traditional Belgrade Design Week was ceremonially opened on May 23rd in the Grand Hal of SKC. The festival was opened by the Swiss Ambassador in Serbia H.E. Mr. Erwin Helmut Hofer, followed by the President of the Organizational Committee of the Belgrade 2020 project Mr. Aleksandar Pekovic, and the BDW founder and curator Jovan Jelovac. The exited visitors enjoyed two sensory experiences and three exhibitions during the opening event: the latest multimedia fashion performance by Serbia's most renown designer Dragana Ognjenovic under the name "cut, balkan, piece, cake", and the movie premiere of “SMART SQUARED” by Miodrag Ilic, featuring the review of the previous BDW festival in 2010.

The globally acclaimed designer Dejana Kabiljo invited the audience to surrender to her innovative and totally fresh take on furniture design with her exhibition of "LetThemSitCake!", while the Croatian designer and artist Goran Lelas enlightened our youngest visitors with an amazing toys collection from the “Somewhere City” series, as well as with dolls handcrafted in Belgrade for the remake of the cult Serbian kids TV series "Na slovo na slovo". Finally, with the help of large black and white portraits shown by our exclusive conference photographer Vladimir Miladinovic Piki, the public was reminded about some of the greatest superstar-lecturers of BDW during the past six years.

We reserved two days for six international workshops for professionals, moderated by global masters from the fields of design, architecture, branding and advertising. The Ceremony Sal of the Municipality of Vracar was far too small to accept all interested domestic and foreign students and young professionals, eager to experience the shared knowledge. The Croatian artist Goran Lelas showcased in his masterclass the craft of creating dolls and toys that secure you a permanent exhibition space in New York's MOMA, while Bozana Komljenovic taught gathered architects how to apply lessons from the work practice of one of the world's most successful architectural offices - 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. 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 Belgrade 2020 project.

Another novelty from BDW program was presented with three panels at the official conference venue - Yugoslav Drama Theatre - with free entry for the public each day before the official conference program. All three panels were 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 Lukovic from Belgrade, Lidija Pritrznik from the Gorenje Design Studio/Ljubljana and the new design director of the MAK in Vienna, Thomas Geisler, showed us 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 Vasovic about Belgrade's latest 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 Lisabon, and the expanding Ofis Architects from Slovenia 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 Vukovic - the BEDA Ambassador from London, the avant-garde Viennese architect Wolfgang Tschappeller, the Director of the Center for the Promotion of Science in Serbia - Aleksandra Drecun, and Emma 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. Hundred and fifty nine Serbian designers had been 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. 

The basic idea was to move design exhibitions from scarcely visited galleries to streets and boulevards of the city, where a wide public could access them in a much more leisurely way, followed by rich press coverage and 20 000 printed maps, to discover hidden design gems around the city, and also help the retail industry in crisis. Additionally, a central hub for the “100% Future Serbia" project, combined with cutting-edge design exhibitions by SIEPA, Roche, Wilkhahn, Biomega and the Center for the Promotion of Science in Serbia was positioned in the conference premises of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre.

The Grand Prix was awarded to Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid's partner, at that moment probably most successful architectural office in the world. The coveted conference delegate's award was won by his presentation of Parametricisim, as the only sustainable development option for cities of the future. The award ceremony was held at the residence of the UK ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Michael Davenport.

With a sensational concert starting exactly at midnight, for the first time ever in South East Europe, Matthew Dear and his five strong band, the hottest new American stars of "design" music, presented themselves to BDW's elevated audience in a packed SKC auditorium on Wednesday, May 25th. As part of the new "DIZAJNIGHTS" festival segment, the biggest excitement for Belgrade's audience proved to be the premier performance of the legendary Swiss electro-pioneers YELLO in Serbia, who thrilled their fans with their virtual concert as part of the TOUCH YELLO! tour. Combining their own live appearance and concert by their singer Heidi Happy, Dieter Meier and Boris Blank left a strong impression at the sold out Dom omladine concert hall, being held for autogram signage and conversation with fans for over one hour after the gig.

The already famously wild BDW closing party, featuring a stunning performance by the Norwegian electro pop superstar LINDSTROM at the glass-clad 25th floor of the USCE tower, was supported with a spectacular lightshow by the BDW crew, that lit the whole town below from this magnificent belvedere, with a 360 degree view onto Belgrade. Lasting until the sunrise, this amazing evening (and morning:) was voted as the definitely best party ever in the short but intensive six-year history of Belgrade Design Week, creating the perfect backdrop for a memorable AU-REVOIR with all lecturers, exhibitors and visitors - until next year.