BELGRADE DESIGN WEEK PRESENTS THE NEW PROJECT : “GRAND CREATIVE PARK OF THE CITY OF KRAGUJEVAC”
The “GRAND CREATIVE PARK OF THE CITY OF KRAGUJEVAC” project is an initiative of the First Lady of Serbia Dragica Nikolić, president of the board of directors of the“Dragica Nikolic” Foundation, the City of Kragujevac and Belgrade Design Week, as part of the “100 Creative Playgrounds for the Children of Serbia” project.
The Grand Park is traditionally a favorite promenade for all generations in the city of Kragujevac, where the dense canopy of century-old trees, walkways and benches represent the right place for relaxation. Unfortunately, in recent decades, the park has shared the inevitable fate of the deterioration of the city. With the proposed new concept and its realization, the Great park will be returned to the people of Kragujevac, who will be able to enjoy this beautiful urban oasis, enriched with primarily innovative content and adapted for various target groups.
The aim of the Foundation, through participation in the “GRAND CREATIVE PARK OF THE CITY OF KRAGUJEVAC” project and cooperation with Serbian and world’s best practices in the field of innovation and design, is to further develop its beloved park starting with playgrounds that will last and provide the children with an inspiring and safe environment through an innovative, modern, creative, active and versatile space for play, education, culture and recreation.
The first phase of the project will be realized through the construction of playgrounds for children, youth and seniors, based on the new concept of the “Grand Creative Park of the city of Kragujevac”, which is being implemented thanks to the donation of the “Dragica Nikolić” Foundation to the city of Kragujevac.
A further objective of the project is to open up a dialogue with the public and inspire them to view urban, green and historical parts of Kragujevac, stretching from the Grand Park to Šumarice, in a wider context, and for the first time to integrate them into one uninterrupted whole designed for relaxation and contemplation for the benefit of all citizens, while at the same time creating a new, unique cultural and historical destination for quality tourism in the heart of Serbia. This new complex would link the latest achievements of domestic and international creativity with rich monumental heritage sites of the city of Kragujevac, which already include the best works of international giants of creative thinking, such as Vojin Bakić and Ivan Antić.
The project is implemented with the help of top domestic minds, under the creative guidance of architect/professor Aleksandru Vuja and his studio DVA, in cooperation with a team of experts from Belgrade Design Week and the agency Brand New World from Zurich, Switzerland, with the support of the partnering HUMAN CITIES / project, co-funded by the European Union “Creative Europe” programme, which besides the Belgrade Design Week also includes the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Cite du design St. Etienne, France, Aalto University / School of Design, Art and Architecture, Finland, FH Iohanneum Graz / University of Applied Sciences, Austria, Project Castle Cieszyn, Poland, the Estonian Association of Designers, Estonia, Institute for Urban Planning of the Republic of Slovenia, Slovenia, Project Clear Village London, United Kingdom, Bilbao-Bizkaia Design & Creativity Council, Spain and Pro Materia Brussels, Belgium.
During the period 2015 – 2016, BDW, together with the “Dragica Nikolić” Foundation and the City of Kragujevac, has carried out an entire series of research, location and user needs analysis of the Great Park, as well as new the potentials and visions of Kragujevac, under the STATE OF ART and EXPERIMENTATION phase of the HUMAN CITIES / project. Based on the initiative by Mayor Radomir Nikolic, the City of Kragujevac has formed a special team for the project, which includes all key city institutions necessary for successful planning and implementation of the project – from the Urban Development Institute to the public utilities companies.
Before proceeding to the implementation of the new concept of the park, Belgrade Design Week will organize a two-day workshop on locations in and around the Grand Park in May 2016, as the final stage of research and survey of target groups. The aim of the workshop is to reach the verification of ideas regarding the future appearance of the Grand Park, its function, purpose and usage, through the presentation of the concept of park and playgrounds, and through interviews with residents of Kragujevac, experts and local partners.
After organizing the workshop, analyzing and summarizing the views and expressed impressions with key decision makers, the implementation of the first phase of the project will begin: the development of creative, innovative, designed playground, donated by the “Dragica Nikolić” Foundation.
The City of Kragujevac, “Dragica Nikolic” Foundation and Belgrade Design Week are inviting all interested citizens, companies, institutions and professionals of good will, from Serbia and abroad, to join this non-profit initiative and help the development of a new, green, creative and cultural city of Kragujevac.
About Belgrade Design Week:
Belgrade Design Week was founded in 2005 as a non-profit organization with the vision to improve the quality of life in Serbia using design as a tool; to help the development of the economy and universities by conquering new professional knowledge; to improve the built environment and facilitate citizen’s participation in dialogue with the public sector. So far it has organized 9 notable international festivals in Belgrade with conferences, workshops, exhibitions and accompanying programs, educating and connecting generations of creative people from Serbia, the region and the world.
Apart from the results of the festival, in pursuit of implementation of learned postulates of “design thinking” in Serbia, in 2013 BDW started a non-profit campaign of the largest volume so far, which aims to involve citizens, responsible and active cities and municipalities in Serbia, as well as leading foreign and domestic companies, institutions and embassies, which would, in the capacity of initiators, sponsors and partners join their donations in the implementation of the “100 Creative Playgrounds for the Children of Serbia” programme, throughout the country. We have decided that the weakest and most vulnerable citizens of Serbia, our children, should be the first to experience the rise in the quality of life through design.
So far, using the principle of private – public partnership in Serbia, the first two creative playgrounds at Kalemegdan in Belgrade have already been realized – in 2014 with the support of Lamda Development, and in 2015 with the support of NIS ad – in both cases in collaboration with the City of Belgrade, the Embassy of Finland and the Lappset company.
For BDW, 2016 is the year of Kragujevac, as part of the “100 Creative Playgrounds for the Children of Serbia” and HUMAN CITIES/ projects.