Belgrade Design Week Festivals
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. 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.
“I have had a certain vision of Serbia my entire life” – to paraphrase General De Gaulle’s famous first sentence, in his “Mémoires de Guerre”, if not too inappropriate a comparison for the profane topic of design. This is the vision of a “society of knowledge”, which firstly requires a culture of knowledge – in my case with the help of my own profession – design. With this idea in mind, ten years ago I started Belgrade Design Week, which today became, arguably and funnily enough, one of the world’s most intriguing and, perhaps even, most respected events of its kind.
We are often asked what it is like to produce BDW in Serbia. I presume some of our esteemed colleagues around the world may offer assistance with an answer: the owners of the Miss World license in Afghanistan and perhaps the Ferrari dealer in Ethiopia. Eventually we might get advice from the kind patisseur who makes baklavas in Salzburg, or his even more enthusiastic peer who makes Mozart-Kugel’s in Debar. Which is a great cue to bring us to BDW’s keywords today: enthusiasm, knowledge, intelligence, beauty, quality, taste and scent…and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade.
In a country without any significant “design industry” to speak of, we have 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 etc. We accomplish 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, organised at National Library of Serbia in Belgrade.
For the first time within the BELGRADE DESIGN WEEK, within topic FUTURE SQUARED, our traditional late night program of passionate BDW DIZAJNIGHTS was organized as a full blooded urban music festival, with the appearance of world-known superstars four days in a row. Additionally, our well-established BDW DIZAJNLABS workshops and master classes, complemented the city-wide satellite daily program of film projections, exhibitions, cocktail receptions and promotions, known under the name of BDW DIZAJNPREMIERES.
In the same way that the working class was dominant in the early decades of the 20th century, and the service class in its second half, will the CREATIVE CLASS dominate the economic and cultural life in the 21st century? Although not as numerous, it currently represents the driver of development and the source of change for the entire economy, and in the same time embodies the spirit of the times we live in – SPEED SQUARED!
The globally sensational creative industry conference was held again in Belgrade from May 8 to 10, 2008. Crème de la crème in world of branding, advertising, design, architecture, publishing, new media and business showcased their vision of MODERN LIVING. The conference programme, divided into three thematic parts (Modern Classics, Modern Luxury and Blade Runners) under the general theme of “modern living” featured different aspects of branding process, the phenomenon of high-end design and modern architecture, the role of design in creating mass media and the media influence in creating the culture of design in a society, challenges and latest trends in the ever more competitive MODERN SQUARED global market…
Why is BDW in Belgrade again and why is the conference exactly named change²?
There are two reasons: 1) above all, due to the outstanding success of the last year’s festival and the conference BRAND SQUARED, organized at the Sava Centre, and 2) because it is extremely important that, in the region with 50 million people, from Milan to Istanbul, and in its central point, Belgrade, design and creativity account for the change of the world: new communications, the new democracy, new thoughts – as well as the new life and new possibilities, especially for “small nations” and “new states”. If the world wishes South Eastern Europe to be successful – it must come to Belgrade to show us what is good and attainable in the near future. If we want to join the world – we must visit the CHANGE SQUARED, to learn, write down, dream … and make use of these experiences.
The First Belgrade Design Week festival set out with a two-day conference MARKET SQUARED, a first ever “speed-dating”-project of the most important creatives in the Serbian advertising scene, all gathered at one place and in one day. On the first day, the most significant local advertising, branding and design agencies as well as independent experts, showcased their most successful projects in fast-moving, stimulating 20-minute individual presentations. Agency owners, creative directors, independent art directors and designers offered an opportunity to point out and illustrate the differences in the methodology of their creative processes to the BDW audience- regional decision makers, media and administration.