Related Projects: Belgrade Design Week Festival 2011

Goran Lelas was a Croatian designer and illustrator expressing creativity in many different ways. He began his long career as a “professional child” the moment he was born, and like any other highly- experienced child, he showed various interests and possessed numerous skills and magical powers.

Graduating in illustration from the University of Design Zagreb in his native Croatia, Lelas first exhibited in Milan in 1985, showing a series of costume designs inspired by the colourful, graphic furniture of Alessandro Mendini and the Memphis design movement. Sculptures for the iconic shoe design house Sergio Rossi and book collaborations with product manufacturer Alberto Alessi in Milan followed. Lelas then came to New York in 2000, to work on costume designs for a Chinese version of the opera Aida. He transformed his toy-designs into a puppet TV show “Na slovo, na slovo”, originally produced in 1963,¬†in Serbia. He is the only designer from the SEE region whose works are permanently exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York – MOMA.¬†Despite those talents, Goran had a great sense of humor and liked to travel the world incognito, letting people believe he was just an amazing multidisciplinary Croatian artist, fashion & theatre designer, illustrator, writer and art director for the Italian Vogue.

Running in the morning through the city (down what the germans call a fussgangerzone) and being amazed by all the grand empty old buildings that reminded me of my Berlin beginnings. Grafitti on buildings. Lovely broken walls with acne'd facades from decades of reverse engineering. Discovering that all the ships on the river were party boats and open till the morning. Sweating so much in one of the clubs, my phone got messed up. Losing phone in said club. Visiting belgrade police station to report a then stolen phone to a twenty-something cop with a doctor's lab coat, listening to Rammstein (loudly) while hacking out my report on a pre-electric typewriter that looked (and sounded) as if it was from some era before typewriters were invented.   Thinking of Naked Lunch. Thinking of Die-Hard. Listening to architects talk about porous facades. Thinking of old smart bombs. Imagining the flash and crunch of several floors of reinforced concrete collapsing in on themselves. Wondering why I'm the only interactive guy here. Why are there so many beautiful women in Belgrade? Why are there so many beautiful women in Belgrade?!