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Belgrade Design Week

Founded in 2005, as a true rarity in the world of festivals – as a non-profit NGO, Belgrade Design Week is the first festival of creative industries and modern business in Serbia and the South East European region, covering an area home to more than 100 million people from Milan to Istanbul.

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For 8 years now, Belgrade Design Week has successfully forged intercultural and business connections between the global design scene, the regional creative industries and the city of Belgrade. With its concept BDW renews, within a contemporary context, the tradition of grand international festivals of culture such as Bitef, Fest and Bemus, recognizing the complete lack of the creative industries’ presentation, and adding for the first time Belgrade and Serbia to the global design map.

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We firmly believe that design today is much more than just a tool for the achievement of profits and economic success. We see it as a carefully crafted methodology for the introduction and realization of new ideas in the society. It is in pursuit of this goal that Belgrade Design Week, despite the situation in which in Serbia and the region there is practically no “design industry” that would justify organizing a fair, accomplishes its mission by gathering global leaders in the fields of architecture, design, branding, advertising, culture, publishing, media and communications once a year in Belgrade at its famous international conference, followed by satellite programs such as creative workshops, master-classes, exhibitions and promotions.

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Apart from the massive pro-European audience of the highest quality, composed of opinion makers and creative leaders of the whole region, what makes Belgrade Design Week and our creative conference so special and different is most of all the impressive participants list, which constantly grows and each year involves more and more global leaders in the creative industries. In the past five years the list of esteemed participants of Belgrade Design Week, lecturers at our conference, includes more than 150 leading creatives, artists, architects, designers, branding and advertising experts, curators, publishers, entrepreneurs, critics, in one word – the greatest creative minds of the 21st century!

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Some of the world’s superstars who were guests of Belgrade, the Belgraders and Belgrade Design Week are Ross Lovegrove, Daniel Libeskind, Karim Rashid, Peter Saville, Luigi Collani, Patrizia Urquiola, Droog Design, Askan Mergenthaler of Herzog&Meuron, Juergen H. Mayer, Tony Chambers, Marcus Fairs, Konstantin Grcic, Patrizia Moroso, Shin Azumi, Paola Antonelli… To most of them the participation at Belgrade Design Week was in the same time their very first visit to Belgrade, Serbia and the whole region, but also a unique chance for the local and regional creatives and professionals to get introduced with their work and ideas live from the first row.

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The year 2011 marked the debut of BDW’s new project, 100% FUTURE SERBIA, which presented almost 150 Serbian designers in 115 shop windows, as unique design exhibition the people of Belgrade have never experienced this way before. With special launch support from SUPERKVART, BDW organizes a city premiere, a true street block-party in partnership with BELEF, on Sunday June 3rd, under patronage of the Serbian Ministry of Culture. Visitors and passers-by alike, will again be able in 2012, from 03 – 17 June, to enjoy the exhibited designs while walking from Kalemegdan to Slavija in over 100 shop windows and discover interesting places with gems of new Serbian design, by following a map distributed all over the city. With the project 100% FUTURE SERBIA ON/AT BELEF we support the young and upcoming national design scene, and by posting the exhibitions in Belgrade shop windows, it supports the city’s trade and hospitality industry in the times of crisis, directing the attention of the media, the institutions and the public to all the forms of creative industries for two whole weeks.

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Belgrade is a city of great festival culture, but also of equally grand festival expectations, nurtured in the golden age of socialism. We at BDW try to provide the framework, the inspiration only, and let everything flow from thereon as organic, as spontaneous as possible. Namely, after leaving behind all logistical, technical, financial and similar aspects, the whole know-how revolves around the CHEMISTRY of the festival – is everyone getting the proverbial buzz from the excitement at BDW or not… Like with a good movie: expensive effects, animation or camera stay in the shadow of the that special feeling weather you follow a film BREATHLESS from beginning to end, swallowing scene after scene as soon as the lights go off. For this feat only the STORY bares responsibility; the good old story and the mastercraft of the story’s guide – the director. That’s more or less the situation with BDW: something inexplicable happens each year, and then the whole world talks again with excitement about Belgrade and the festivities of Belgrade Design Week.

I stopped working for others because then I have the responsibility and I feel like an advertising agency. When I work for Yello, I can make a fool out of myself. Whatever I do I go through the process of becoming a child, an idiot, totally unimportant. When I have the responsibility to start with it is disturbing." "I think every human is a God. All our life is about becoming like a child, trying to find out who is really hidden inside yourself, who you really are, who is the divine being inside. Great alpinist climb mountains not to become world famous, but to learn something about themselves, to come closer to that inner-child. If you are exposing yourself to the process of climbing the mountain, it is very important you are prepared to make a fool of yourself, to let yourself fall into the emptiness of vague idea, and to have the courage to be a total idiot. Only then you have a chance to die with the smile on your face.

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