Belgrade Design Week 2012

In a country without any significant “design industry” to speak of, we had chosen to produce a “creative festival” with the international conference FREEDOM SQUARED as main program segment. This was important in order to open, for the first time in Serbia and South East Europe, the discussion of shaping our future with the impetus of creative industries - those people behind architecture, branding, urban planning, design, fashion, film, publishing, media, advertising... We accomplished this by bringing key representatives of the creative community – the core audience of BDW - in direct dialogue with key representatives of business and government, as well as with global creative stakeholders. 

BDW's established DIZAJNLABS workshops and master classes complement the daily city-wide satellite program of film projections, exhibitions, cocktail receptions and promotions, known under the name of BDW DIZAJNPREMIERES. 

For the first time since its establishment, the core BDW events took place at the National Library of Serbia, participating in the celebration of the 180-year anniversary of arguably the most important cultural institution in Serbia, and in the same time celebrating the redesign of the interior by the young Serbian architect Zorana Radojičić, demonstrating the impact of creative industries in the Serbian society today. Inspired by the amazing space, BDW turned the National Library of Serbia into a true design temple named BDW DIZAJNPARK 2012, for the first time in its history, with ten co- produced premium international exhibitions, carefully placed throughout the space of this redesigned gem of Serbian culture. 

Italian-British industrial designer Martino Gamper, British design studio Troika, new Austrian and French design superstars Thomas Feichtner and Mathieu Lehanneur, Dutch agency 180 AMSTERDAM and UK agency FALLON, outstanding German advertisers Jung Von Matt and the famous creative publisher Robert Klanten of Die Gestalten fame, progressive Norwegian designers Non Format and Heydays, the amazing Jörg Boner and Punkt from Switzerland, Matti Klenell from Sweden and Ole Jensen from Denmark, Jenni Carbins presenting Matilda from Australia, followed by Brazilian and British star-architects Isay Veinfeld and Patrik Schumacher, arguably the freshest Spanish design star Hector Serrano and the already iconic magazine Apartamento, the Aalto University from Finland, the NYC photographer Dušan Reljin of VOGUE fame, were some of the names among 30 creative leaders from over twenty countries around the world that presented their work during the three days of the "FREEDOM SQUARED" conference, with help of the more regional representatives such as the Austrian architects Querkraft, the Slovenian studio Enota, Croatian atelier 3LHD, Lasvit from the Czech Republic, Kitchen Budapest from Hungary and Beetroot from Greece, and finally, in a sort of host role, NLS’s interior designer Zoran Radojčić from Serbia.

The highly coveted Belgrade Design Grand Prix, provided by vote of the conference delegates, was awarded to the French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, known for his original products created through research of the human body, biological structures, mathematical forms and the complexity of organic systems. The French innovator, famous both as architect and as designer, collaborated with the world’s leading companies and won many design awards, such as the Grand Prix awarded by the City of Paris, the best invention award in the USA for the air cleaning system with the use of plants, as well as the Prix Liliane Bettencourt pour l’Intelligence de la Main, from the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation, for a collection of ceramic bowls called ‘L’âge du monde’ („The Age of the World“). His products are part of permanent exhibitions in the museums like the MoMA in New York, MoMA SF, Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), Centre Pompidou (Paris), FRAC-Le Plateau (Pariz), Design Museum (Gent), Museum of Decorative Arts (Berlin).

The seventh Belgrade Design Week had a pre- premiere, free access, block party at Superkvart, which marked the beginning of the 100% FUTURE SERBIA project. This unique exhibition of more than 100 most promising young Serbian designers opened simultaneously in over 100 shop windows in the very city center, from the ancient fortress of Kalemegdan to the Slavija square, clearly marked with the BDW logo. This year it was organized as part of Belgrade's popular summer festival of culture - BELEF - from 03 to 17 June 2012. With DJ music in the background, visitors had the opportunity to enjoy cocktails from mobile bars, benches and flower arrangements were placed in front of the stores, and the entire neighborhood smelled after scented candles. The partners of the 100% FUTURE SERBIA project were BELEF and the Ministry of Culture, Media and Information Society of Serbia, while special support was provided by Aqua Viva.

The year 2011 marked the debut of the new BDW project, 100% FUTURE SERBIA, which presented almost 150 Serbian designers in 115 shop windows in the city center, as an urban design-exhibition experiment the people of Belgrade have never witnessed before. Interested passers-by were able to see the exhibited designs in while walking down the streets of Knez Mihailova, Kralja Petra, Uzun Mirkova, Zmaja od Noćaja, Makedonska, Kralja Milana, Kralja Aleksandra Boulevard... and discover interesting new locations presenting these gems of new Serbian design, by following a map distributed throughout the city. With its project 100% FUTURE SERBIA – BDW at BELEF, Belgrade Design Week supports the national design scene, and by posting the exhibitions in Belgrade's shop and HoReCa windows, it supports the city’s retail and hospitality industry in times of crisis, directing the attention of media, institutions and the public to all forms of creative industries'output for two whole weeks.

BelgradeDesignWeek 2012