100 CREATIVE PLAYGROUNDS FOR THE CHILDREN OF SERBIA PROJECT

BELGRADE IS TODAY A VIBRANT CITY WITH A LOT OF CREATIVE PEOPLE. TO ANYONE INTERESTED OF SERBIA’S POTENTIAL ON DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE, PARTICIPATION IN THE DESIGN WEEK IS A MUST. BELGRADE DESIGN WEEK IS AN IMPORTANT TOOL TO HARNESS CREATIVITY, TO FOSTER WELLBEING IN SERBIA AND TO BUILD CONNECTIONS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. ’
Pekka Orpana, Finnish ambassador in Serbia
PROJECT BACKGROUND:
Belgrade Design Week is arguably the most important creative festival in South East Europe, covering an area of almost 100 million people between Vienna and Istanbul, and in past few years developing a year-round program for Belgrade, Serbia. Since its foundation in 2006, BDW pays special attention to the education of creative professionals, as well as the creative development of children, which has been confirmed with a series of workshops, exhibitions and lectures of leading international and domestic creative minds. In 2013 we started a completely new, non-profit project, of the largest scale so far, which aims to gather the most responsible and socially aware municipalities, local and global corporations, institutions, diplomatic and trade representations, which would team together as partners in the production of 100 CREATIVE BDW PLAYGROUNDS FOR CHILDREN throughout Serbia. Our wish is that within two years we jointly donate to Serbia 100, not only new, but more importantly, innovatively designed playgrounds, which can nowadays be seen everywhere throughout developed societies. The difference that BDW’s reputation represents compared to similar projects, or even humanitarian actions in general, is precisely the difference which marks BDW’s USP: a unique methodology that guarantees a carefully curated and managed inclusion of outstanding members of the creative community and their outputs, as well as some of the greatest achievements in global creative industries, into the project, that has by now become BDW’s trademark.
CONCEPT:
With this entirely new approach to the realisation of children’s playgrounds in Serbia, we want to bring life to a concept that will last, be in accordance with the highest global environmental and sustainability standards, that will keep up with the times in which we live, and provide safe, comfortable and even a somewhat creative, active and versatile space for play. In the same time, through collaboration with the some of the best creatives in the field of innovation and design, the
playgrounds are meant to communicate a certain “worldly” feeling of design to the most vulnerable and the least protected Serbian population today – our children – as an important inspiration for their development through playing. All playgrounds will be built exclusively in public areas selected in collaboration with local administrations, to provide a democratic and open access to all children of Serbia. All participants in the project can contribute solely on a strict
non-profit basis, communicating a strong message about the importance of advanced creative development of children in our society. As esteemed partners, we invite all interested local administrations to offer locations and provide works and permits; designers, architects and equipment manufacturers to offer their valued services; commercial businesses and institutions to donate funding for the final implementation of the project and, finally, the media to provide the widest possible support through a generous dissemination of the project’s idea. BDW performs the management and communication of the whole project under equally non-profit conditions, in particular the fund raising part, in terms of animating and inspiring potential partners to participate in the project, while controlling the realisation until the turnkey solution at the very end, as creative curators with strict design and quality control of all playgrounds.
FIRST PRODUCED PLAYGROUND:
We are announcing with great pride that after more than six months of hard work, we are approaching the completion of the first test-playground at the arguably most important location for our little ones in Belgrade, in the main park of the historical Kalemegdan fortress. In place of the old central playground at Kalemegdan, near the venerable Luna Park and the entrance to the Belgrade Zoo, which since a while wasn’t fulfilling even basic safety standards, BDW will with great pleasure open the first “designed” playground in Serbia in August 2013. The production was made possible in cooperation with the City of Belgrade and the “PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT” corporation as main donors, the Embassy of Finland in Serbia and Finland’s “LAPPSET” equipment manufacturers as patrons, designed by Belgrade’s young and upcoming architectural studio “MADA”, built by Belgrade’s communal corporation “City Greenery”. This first playground of the “100 BDW CREATIVE PLAYGROUNDS FOR CHILDREN IN SERBIA” should provide not only a great joy to children of the Old Town municipality and the Kalemegdan neighborhood, but, above all, serve as case study of a successful realisation of this unique private / public partnership under strict nonprofit principles for all participants. It will hopefully inspire a large number of local governments and donors from all walks of business, society and institutions in Serbia and abroad, to join as soon as possible this unique action, much needed for Belgrade, Serbia and the entire region today.
DETAILS ABOUT THE KALEMEGDAN PLAYGROUND:
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT Ltd, the Serbian representative of the Greek company LAMDA Development, who bring us the reconstruction of the old BEKO factory premises adjoining the Kalemegdan fortress, including a carefully planned regeneration of the whole area of Dorćol between the fortress and the Danube, initiated a campaign called “Friends of Kalemegdan,” inviting stakeholders to apply at a competition for ideas that would be of concrete, practical relevance to improved everyday quality of life for the inhabitants of the Old City municipality, focusing especially on the immediate surroundings of Kalemegdan. BDW reacted immediately with our non-profit humanitarian concept of “100 CREATIVE BDW PLAYGROUNDS FOR CHILDREN IN SERBIA”, suggesting as focus the neglected largest playground in Kalemegdan park near BEKO. We got green light from LAMDA, and immediately presented the project to the logical main partner – the City of Belgrade – represented by the City Architect Mr. Dejan Vasović. After a general positive critique, BDW went to Helsinki, Finland, to invite LAPPSET, one of the most creative and awarded companies as designers and manufacturers of playgrounds in the world, to offer a special nonprofit proposition for Belgrade, in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland in Serbia, as part of the planned joint presentation of Finnish design at BDW. After taking care of all potential donator’s goodwill, our next step was including key local creatives to design the project along with BDW. We commissioned a young architectural studio from Belgrade named MADA, who got the public attention as part of the team that represented Serbia at the Venice Biennale 2012, where with its innovative designed table impressed the visitors with both their concept of space, as well as with their fantastically precise materialisation and realisation of the object. Exactly such creativity and spirit, as well as the seriousness of the realisation, was what we needed for our first fruition! As final step, the project is currently under the direction of the City Architect’s office, coordinating a building team effort by the skilled professionals from the City Greenery and the municipal Office for Utilities and Housing Services, responsible for an in-time opening mid-August 2013.
CONCLUSION: A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL PARTNERS!
With this collaboration effort, one of the most prominent classic playgrounds in Belgrade, which started to represent a health and safety risk to our children, will soon be reborn as an innovative place with a unique design, quality and appeal, a playground that wouldn’t look out of place in any of the leading world capitals. We hope that this example of an unique public / private partnership in Serbia and the region, will inspire other companies and institutions throughout the nation to become a part of our project with their own proposals, funding and initiatives, and that soon 100 CREATIVE BDW PLAYGROUNDS FOR CHILDREN will be built in many other places throughout Serbia. See you in Kalemegdan at the opening in mid-August!

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It was great for xarchitekten to be invited to BDW as Austrian Architects We were expecting a great time by experiencing all this different thinking’s on design issues. At first there was the road movie from Vienna to Belgrade: 600 Kilometers of flat land, an immense impression of wideness - like riding on a green ocean. Arriving Belgrade we were hosted by the perfect Organization and accompanied by very nice people of BDW. The most valuable element of BDW´s Performing, Discussing, Lecturing in the Theater, Visiting the Clubs and Restaurants of Belgrade has been the linking excellent thinking and facing experts coming from different fields of design as well as different regions of Europe. xarchitekten are convinced about the great role of BDW as an Place for multidisciplinary Evolution, therefore BDW is facing a great future. Hopefully xarchitekten will be connected to BDW again.

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