Thursday, May 04, 2006

Belgrade Design Week

Note to myself: I really have to learn to post these things on time. I drafted this weeks ago…

For a week in late April I’ve been buzzing around events related to the newly created Belgrade Design Week, a showcase for Serbian design, and an overview of global trends in design and branding and how they affect us locally.
The whole thing was well organized and fun and brought together international design stars and local unknowns, huge multinational agencies and aspiring artists and introduced Belgrade to new spaces like the recently opened Superspace gallery in the refurbished 1930s industrial warehouses on the Sava waterfront, where every night the people mingled, champagne in hand, looking across the super-sized river to the lush trees in New Belgrade and the shining Usce tower. It was a new and unusual view, not the Belgrade I’m used to - what I imagine of Brasilia - a modern city in a rainforest.
The low point, although morbidly fascinating, would have to be the opening panel when six biggest international advertising agencies in Serbia presented themselves and their work. The overwhelming intolerance, malice and envy suffocated any notion of a neutral ground where professionals could meet and exchange ideas. These guys obviously have nothing to learn from each other.
Was it possible that those people really believed what they were saying? I guess if you repeat something enough, you might actually start to believe it. One by one, the obnoxious six kept saying their presentation would be completely different and continuing to say how their agency is the best, biggest, most creative, and extra-superfantastic. Naturally they were all exactly the same.
Fortunately, the event kept getting better, with interesting presentations, constructive dialogue and some truly inspiring moments.
The segment about Belgrade really got me thinking, and if I can get organized, hopefully I will be able to post some of my ideas and projects in the near future.
The closing - design superstars day was great, Karim Rashid’s presentation drew a huge crowd… This deserves a detailed review (as soon as I get my notes organized).


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