Founder’s Letter

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 licence 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 a wrong place. More about which later.

I think that the real secret of BDW, as perhaps with all truly great personal experiences in the world, is that it enlarges us! You go in to watch, listen, learn and enjoy, which of course you do, but you come out with a whole new set of parameters with which you measure life. It really is that good!!! It may well be that there are bits of BDW that you think may be improved, or bits that you don’t like, but for my money, and I have visited an awful lot of conferences and design weeks, BDW encapsulates THE performance of a conference, THE idea of a conference, better than any other… if you can transform a conference experience into high art, then it becomes something completely life enhancing.

As an example, Belgrade Design Week 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. In a country where creative industries aren’t recognised even as mere statistics, and even less so any regulated support- or financing mechanism is offered, we still managed to organise another 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“. BDW is namely trying to find a common denominator of global and local, economic and cultural developments, and to integrate them into one key theme for the whole festival through which we chose lecturers and exhibitors. 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.

Because of exactly the aforementioned reasons. Because KNOWLEDGE is the key tool for survival of our beloved country, and the whole region. And even if our own city of Belgrade, who’s name we carry proudly and lovingly, does not support BDW, there are always some nice people who care to provide some funding and save the whole deal last minute, such as the kind Ministry of Finances of Serbia, as well as over one hundred esteemed partners this year, to whom all we wish to extend a huge THANK YOU.

Innovation on our part included the new location of the festival – the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade. Visitors had the unique opportunity to peek into the space of Belgrade’s almost forgotten cultural icon of global importance, which has been closed for the last seven years. Honoured by opening its doors for the five days of exhibitions and the three days conference, BDW produced twelve important international exhibitions in form of site specific design installations, and the same amount of workshops. Inspired by the iconic halls and staircases, BDW invented a new form of networking for the creative community with business, media and politics in Serbia at the Museum: the first ever Creative Forum Serbia powered by Samsung. And finally, to crown the whole festival and our hard work throughout the year, we were able in collaboration with the Tourist Organization of Serbia, to bring to our country one of the most prestigious global events, the famous European Design Award, whose award presentation ceremony in front of 500 delegates from all over the world in the venerable Yugoslav Drama Theatre, was the closing act of BDW.

BDW is the only multidisciplinary educational festival of this magnitude in Serbia and the region, besides being non-profit, amidst a plenitude of entertainment content, at which representatives of the creative industry who generate real changes in the global economy today, explain how a competitive, modern economy is being developed.

And not just any experts, but “The greatest creative minds of the 21st century” who eagerly await Belgrade’s famed audience and those unique BDW vibrations, so very well known all around the world!


Bags of energy, overwhelming hospitality, an inspiring mix of people, a refreshing lack of pretence – and of course lots of meat. Belgrade feels like a city where anything can happen, and Jovan and the BDW team have put it right on the creative map.