Belgrade Design Week 2013

BDW 2013 powered by Samsung, was held from June 2 – 9 in Belgrade, Serbia, with a total of over 12.000 visitors to the main festival venue, and exhibitions all over the city. We managed to organise important business and educational festival, the eight one in row without hiatus, with Belgrade Design Week’s now famous international conference as main segment. The theme of the conference was “Innovation squared“. Visitors had the opportunity to be informed about the latest global trends in the entire scope of the creative industries, to learn how to adapt to fast changes in the world economy through presentations of leading global companies, brands and creatives.

Belgrade Design Week's own exclusive 2013 design exhibitions – traditional BDW DizajnPark – were opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, with Dragana Ognjenović's fashion show. Presenting exhibitions from Greece, Germany, USA, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland as well as the work of Serbian designers, the visitors had a rare opportunity to experience a nearly forgotten space of an important Belgrade cultural institution of national importance, which has been closed down for reconstruction for the past seven years. It temporarily opened its doors only for the BDW days. Belgrade Design Week is the first major event organised at the museum since the reconstruction begun. A huge audience turnout and affectionate reactions of the public to this temporary opening of the museum showed us that there is great interest in the renovation of this building, sparking a debate about the fate of cultural institutions in Serbia.

The famous exhibition "The Greek Monsters", created based on original illustrations by the Greek studio Beetroot for the book "The Misunderstood Monsters of Greek Mythology" was very well received, and appealed especially to the youngest visitors. Our exhibitors from Greece gave away helium balloons showing their exhibited designs. Dusan Reljin, the acclaimed Serbian photographer residing in New York who photographs the world’s biggest stars, displayed his latest work titled 10/10, and the Austrian designer Thomas Feichtner allowed the Serbian public a rare and precious behind-the-scenes glimpse into his design process. The new Swiss star Adrien Rovero presented the installation of "custom made" stools in the national colours of Serbia, and one of the world's most influential modern illustrators, the Ukrainian - Danish artist Sergei Sviatchenko presented his own modern vision of life, using over ten meters high collages created especially for the central hall of the museum. The German avant-garde high-tech design studio KramWeisshaar showed the audience a digital installation inspired by their spectacular future technology research. The Czech studio Okolo created a magical room in the museum, a poetic experiment presenting the history of modern mirrors, and the best Serbian designers also had the opportunity to show their creativity, participating in the award winning exhibition presented in Milan in 2013, Creative Space Serbia, produced by SIEPA. Finally, the Swiss – Polish innovator in the field of materials, Oskar Zieta, brought his FIDA steel pumping technology to MOCA, which he uses to produce chairs, bridges, even wind rotors, and one of Serbia’s most prominent fashion designers, Dragana Ognjenovic, presented her collection inspired by the minimalistic space of the museum.


The most important segment of the festival, the BDW conference brought together over thirty global stars from all areas of creative industries, who were selected as the most innovative in the course of last year. How do we create new values for a society of the future through innovative solutions? These and other questions were answered by Clemens Weisshaar, Johannes Norlander, Oskar Zieta, Daan Roosegaarde, Dante Goods and Bads, Gigodesign, TBWA \ London, AKQA, Troika studio, Wolf Olins, Nordeus, Laura Lee, Sabine Lenk/Munich Creative Business Week, Demetrios Fakinos/European Design Awards, Vladimir Macura, Okolo team, Virgilio Fernandez/ Fiat Centro Stile, Christophe Pillet, Torbjorn Anderssen/Anderssen&Voll, Adrien Rovero, Dekleva Gregoric and European Design Leaders.

Especially attracting attention was the panel on the future development of Belgrade, entitled "Belgrade Innovation Session". During the long anticipated session with over 100 local and regional journalists present including almost all local TV stations, produced in collaboration with the Belgrade Land Development Public Agency, cutting edge projects for 2012 and 2013 were presented: the BEKO complex near Kalemegdan by Greek company Lamda Development, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the new Ada bridge and the awarded "Cloud" design by architect Sou Fujimoto, as well as the reconstruction project for Belgrade's landmark Continental Hotel. The Head of Belgrade's Land Development Public Agency Jelena Stojkov, and Belgrade's City Architect Dejan Vasovic, both gave inspirational insight into the past, present and most notably, future, that awaits the Serbian capital's built environment.

The very first Creative Forum Serbia took place on 05 June 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, powered by Samsung, as part of the eighth Belgrade Design Week. This event gathered roughly 2000 members of the Serbian creative community, in order to create a brand new platform for people to network, meet, exchange ideas and discuss new business endeavors. The idea is to organise this new event platform several times a year at exclusive city locations for a premiere audience selected among the best and most innovative businessmen, advertisers, architects, designers, photographers, fashion experts, filmmakers, IT experts, government and cultural workers. The entry was free of charge, with each visitor receiving a personal invitation from BDW and SAMSUNG, which was granted after a detailed process of identification, selection and personal calls made to almost 5000 distinguished members of the Serbian creative and business community and leading professional associations in the field of business, architecture, design, advertising, film, fashion, etc. 

BDW’s 100% FUTURE SERBIA segment is devoted to the promotion of young and talented designers, whose works are presented in shop windows all over the city center. The main idea is to transfer classical museum exhibitions to the streets of the city and to present them to a wider general audience, not only to those who regularly visit galleries and exhibitions. Roughly hundred and fifty designers were fortunate enough to be part of the final exhibition of the „BDW 100% Future Serbia“ project. Young and up-and-coming Serbian designers presented their work in a unified 1m2 space in over one hundred shop windows from Slavija to Kalemegdan, as well as in hubs such as the Kare studio, Choomich and the Usce Shopping Center, during the first week of June. The exhibited works were greatly appreciated by the public and caused great interest of national and international media, as well as ongoing interest of businesses to start collaborating with the designers.

Today it is not hard to be informed about new trends, but it is challenging to keep up with the world when, in reality, there is no actual design industry infrastructure. With that in mind, it seems that the Serbian design scene is very vital and that the young designers find inspiration in a variety of sources, and this innate resourcefulness enables them to always discover and present the best ideas. That’s why it was of great importance to reward the best participant of the “100% Future Serbia” competition. The first prize was a scholarship at the Domus Academy in Milan in collaboration with the Nemestic Studio, while ten top entries got free entry to BDW's conference, and over 50 of the participants were awarded free participations in the coveted BDW DizajnLabs - workshops and masterclasses held again this year prior to the conference by global creative leaders, such as Sergei Svyatchenko, Laura Lee, Misha World, Clemens Weisshaar, Gianluigi Ricuperati, Blood Mountain… The BDW DizajnLabs are carefully produced in order to enable additional professional education for the creative community, by learning in intimate and intensive master-class or workshop sessions from the world’s greatest creative minds, whom our delegates could never meet in their normal daily working- or university-realities. 

Sebastien Noel presented the interdisciplinary and artistic works of a Britain’s amazing Troika studio. As Noel’s speech was voted the best at the BDW 2013 conference by the audience, he was presented with the coveted "Belgrade Design Grand Prix" - powered by Banca Intesa award, taking over from last year's fellow Frenchman winner Matthieu Lehanneur.