BDW 2013 Raises Innovation to the Second Power by Designboom, IT

By Cathryn Garcia Menocal, 26.06.2013.

In a region distinguished by an extraordinary capacity for resilience, Belgrade Design Week consistently provokes conference goers to grow more, be more and do more. The week obliterates the very concept of boredom and terrifies mediocrity with a list of speakers both from Serbia and around the world that address the overlap of design, business, technology, humanity, cities and the like in myriad ways. Belgrade Design Week founder Jovan Jelovac and his wife Vesna (themselves veritable forces of nature) know how to ask difficult and incisive questions that prove there is still a wealth of worlds to move in this complex, ever-changing industry called design.

Clemens Weisshaar occupies Trafalgar square with calligraphic robots in 'Outrace'. 

Associate director of Zaha Hadid architects, Christos Passas, elaborated on the place-making capacity of the Beko masterplan.

Chistos Passas explained the aim of Zaha Hadid's Beko masterplan from the perspective of a Belgradian: the largest idea is to be contemporary.

- In my presentation I talked about the idea of making space. Space making is not just shaping a space, but creating a relationships within the space that maintain it, over a long period of time. And a as human species on the planet today, it is very important for us to learn to integrate nature - or at least remember how to work with nature in the artificial landscapes, and with that, create those synergies between commercial, political, or perhaps architectural, aesthetic sensibilities that allow for a kind of new intelligent city to be created.

Adrien Rovero elaborated on an ever-growing project of abstracted animals comprised of leather scraps by reclaiming the leftover leather pieces from handbag production, Rovero creates whole zoos of folded, button-bound animals.

Designboom has been inextricably linked to Belgrade Design Week since 2008, when founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Birgit Lohmann spoke about entrepreneurship, creative industries and communication. Five years later, the speakers and venue did not disappoint. Housed in the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, itself closed for seven years after numerous construction interruptions and devastating water damage, the conference enlivened the ravaged space with inflated metal furniture by Oskar Zieta, responsive chairs by Kram/Weisshaar and a mix of designers, journalists and civilians. Just as the architectural symbol of a non-functioning state was once again a nexus of creativity and reclaimed Belgrade as the most hopeful frontier in design, Belgrade Design Week seemed decidedly about coaxing an unseen response from objects, cities and people using design as tool. 

Speaker Laura Lee elaborates on how reversing the workflow of civic design and development can change cities, an idea she developed as a 'Thinker in residence' in Adelaide, Australia

Speaker Laura Lee's diagram illustrated the layers and intermixed dialogue of design, planning and development - and the power of reversing the current relationship of the three ideas. 

Architect Johannes Norlander expanded on projects that seek to take ownership of tradition and strengths of Swedish modernism.

Subtlety and form remain the chief concerns of Johannes Norlander's practice.

Oskar Zieta explains volumetric expansion with a live demonstration of flat metal sheaths rendered structural with inflated air.

Zieta’s inflatable metal furniture on display during Belgrade Design Week 

Belgrade Design Week 2013 Innovation squared  

Daan Roosegaard  confronts static notions of the highway 

Sebastien Noel of Troika explains the Londonbased studio approach to design as a constant investigation. 

Sebastien Noel of Troika nabs the Belgrade Design Week Grand Prix.

 The European Design Awards ceremony was also part of the conference week programming, enthusiastically supported by Jovan Jelovac. 

(top): Designboom editor Cat Garcia-Menocal is given a lift by Belgrade Design Week founder Jovan Jelovac
(bottom): the informal programming of the conference took place on the floating nightclubs that occupy the banks of the Danube 

The vestiges of battered buildings are reclaimed with vivid light

The exposed beams of the ravaged museum were used to display panels about Kram/Weisshaar’s AUDI R18 Ultrachair 

 The Museum of Modern Art Belgrade had been closed for seven years before Design Week reclaimed it as a creative hub

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