THE CHEMISTRY OF BELGRADE DESIGN WEEK

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JOVAN JELOVAC
BdW Founder and Curator 

Founded in 2005 as a true rarity in the world of festivals – as a non-profit NGO -Belgrade design Week is the premier 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 eight years now, Belgrade Design Week has successfully forged intercultural and business connections between the global design scene, the regional creative industries and the city of Belgrade. BDW reinvents the tradition of grand international festivals of culture in Belgrade such as Bitef, Fest, Belef and Bemus, within a new, contemporary design contest.

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 to our own society. 

The list of esteemed participants of Belgrade Design Week in the past eight years, lecturers at our conference, includes more than 200 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, Bjarke Ingels of BIG, Ola Rune of CKR, Jaime Hayon, Marti Guixe, Mario Nanni, David Linderman of Hi-ReS!, Nika Zupanc, Jacob van Rijs of MVRDV, Tony Chambers, Marcus Fairs, Konstantin Grcic, Patrizia Moroso, Shin Azumi, Paola Antonelli, Eugenio Perazza of Magis, Patrizia Moroso, Hella Jongerius, Gaetano Pesce, Ora Ito, Arik Levy, Javier Mariscal, Dieter Meier, Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects

To most of them the participation at Belgrade Design Week was at 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.

The importance of Belgrade Design Week is recognised by many world-leading opinion-makers and media in the fields of design and creative industries, which results in the fact that BDW each year generates international media value of more than 1 million EUR, combining the word “Belgrade” with keywords like “design, progress, innovation, knowledge, freedom, quality…” in global and local reviews.

Belgrade is a city of great festival culture, equally grand festival expectations, nurtured in the golden age of socialism. Based on this rich heritage, we at BDW try to provide the framework only, the inspiration, and let everything flow thereafter as organic, as spontaneous as possible. Perhaps this really marks the key difference between us and other important global festivals.

Namely, after leaving behind all logistical, technical, financial and similar aspects, the whole know-how revolves around the CHEMISTRY of the festival – taking care of the question: “Is everyone getting the proverbial buzz from the excitement at BDW or not?” Like with a good movie: expensive effects, animation or camera trickery stay in the shadow of that special feeling, whether you follow a film BREATHLESS from the beginning to an end, swallowing scene after scene as soon as the lights go off. For this accomplishment, only one thing bears responsibility: the good old story and the master craft of the story’s guide – the director.

That is 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.

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