Belgrade Design Week
Inspired by the first ever London Creative Forum in 2004, Jovan Jelovac founded the non-profit citizen’s association Belgrade Design Week in 2005, which fast became the key annual meeting point of South East Europe’s creative industries, a year-round one stop solution for the creative community, a top ten creative event in the world, member of BEDA, founding member of the Association of Global Design Week Cities and partner of the EU-wide “Human Cities” project.
As a true rarity in the world of festivals, 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 15 years now, Belgrade Design Week (BDW) 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.