Simon Keane-Cowell

Author

Simon Keane-Cowell
Zürich   Switzerland

Only Connect: Belgrade Design Week 2013


In eight short years, Belgrade Design Week has put the Serbian capital on the creative map, playing annual host to an unmissable pow-wow of the finest creative minds around.
 

Only Connect: Belgrade Design Week 2013
Belgrade is set to become the site of the first Zaha Hadid project in the region, the 94,000-square-metre 'Beko Masterplan'

If you were to create a global map showing the key cities through which game-changing creative ideas flow and where new thinking about products and processes are generated, one of its nodes would undoubtedly be Belgrade.

In less than a decade, Belgrade Design Week – founded and curated by the irrepressible Jovan Jelovac – has become an international creative hub for not only the exchange of knowledge about inspiring world-class products and processes from a range of disciplines, among them architecture, product design, advertising and graphics, but also for the fostering on-site of new, value-bringing thinking. The secret: Jelovac and his team’s incredible ability to attract some of the best names from the creative world to the Serbian capital, each an innovator in their own field.

Only Connect: Belgrade Design Week 2013
Star speaker: FIAT chief designer Virgilio Fernandez, who worked on the new-old design icon, the Centro Stile FIAT 500L

Centred on the packed, three-day ‘Innovation2’ conference, BDW 2013 sees the likes of cutting-edge technological innovator Daan Roosegaarde, award-winning advertising agency TWBA’s art director Paul Belford, and Virgilio Fernandez, chief designer at FIAT and one of the talents behind the new-old iconic car design that is the Centro Stile Fiat 500L, take to the stage to reveal to an international audience of professionals, journalists and students not just what they’ve done, but how they’ve done it and why. It’s like exploratory brain surgery, but without the mess.

Only Connect: Belgrade Design Week 2013
Acclaimed French designer Christophe Pillet will be taking to the stage at this year's Belgrade Design Week

Things are certainly happening in Belgrade. The city is to become the first in the region to have a building designed by renowned office Zaha Hadid Architects. The ‘Beko Masterplan’ involves 94,000 square metres of urban regeneration on the site of an old textile factory, creating a number of new buildings and public spaces that are embedded in the surrounding landscape of Belgrade’s cultural axis. The first day of the conference – Thursday 6 June – will see this and other Belgrade landmark projects discussed as part of the BDW conference’s ‘Architecture & Belgrade Innovation’ strand, which will feature, among others, Studio Roosegaarde, leading Austrian architecture practice Marte.Marte, and feted Swedish architect and furniture designer Johannes Norlander.

On Saturday 8 June, meanwhile, BDW hosts the lecture strand ‘Object Design and European Design Innovation’, which will see a host of stellar names – among them Clemens Weisshaar, Anderssen & Voll, Oskar Zieta, Christophe Pillet, Adrian Rovero and Virgilio Fernandez – discuss their work for such brands as Moroso, MUUTO, lapalma, Arflex, Asplund, Cappellini, Classicon, Dornbracht, Droog Design, Emeco, Fontana Arte, Foscarini, Moroso and MUUTO.

And all of this against the backdrop of second-to-none Serbian hospitality. If you’ve not been to Belgrade before, it’s big on making sure you enjoy yourself. Top-drawer creative idea sharing isn’t at odds with having a good time in the BDW book.

Only Connect: Belgrade Design Week 2013
Full throttle: Technological innovator Daan Roosegaarde will be discussing the future of transportation

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Here are BDW founder Jovan Jelovac and his team’s particular recommendations from the conference’s inspiring line-up:

AKQA / DUAN EVANS, UK
Friday 7 June
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“BDW presents the digital tsars, creators of famous interactive FIAT, Nike and Xbox campaigns, for the first time in Serbia! Learn more about defining crystal-clear digital marketing strategies using multi-channel marketing from online to offline at BDW’s conference. AKQA's mantra, ‘It’s good to be first. It’s better to be good. It’s best to be both’, proved to be a winning formula for this digital agency. Duan Evans is a leading industry creative talent with over fifteen years experience. He has been with AKQA since 2000, working across a hugely diverse range of AKQA clients, creating world renowned work, winning a multitude of international awards, and helping build a creative team that is second-to-none. The agency continues to fly the flag for digital agencies, with innovative and creative work that traditional creative agencies can only dream of.”

TBWA LONDON / PAUL BELFORD, UK
Friday 7 June
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“How to create the best advertising campaign? At the BDW 2013 conference, we'll have the unique opportunity to learn from a top-10 worldwide ad agency! Legendary ad man and TBWA\London's art director Paul Belford is going to present details from his campaigns for The Economist, Adidas, McDonald’s, Pepsi and many more award-winning members of our own popular culture! Find out why the Fast Company magazine placed TBWA 24th on its list of ‘The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies’ and regards them as ‘Innovation All-Star’.”

Only Connect: Belgrade Design Week 2013
Mad man: Award-winning advertising agency TBWA's art director Paul Belford will be talking the Belgrade audience through some of the most memorable and effective campaigns ever

CENTRO STILE FIAT / VIRGILIO FERNANDEZ, ITALY
Saturday 8 June
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“Virgilio Fernandez, one of FIAT CENTRO STILE’s chief designers will speak at the BDW conference! The brand new FIAT 500L is rendering Serbia as its production country known around the world, with keywords such as innovation, design and high-production standards coming from Kragujevac, pushing the whole national economy forward. Everybody speaks about the FIAT 500L, but nobody has presented the people behind its design. Find out how the CENTRO STILE in Torino created FIAT’s arguably most progressive and fashionable car in history, but certainly the Serbian most important industrial product of the 21st century.”

DAAN ROOSEGAARDE, NETHERLANDS
Thursday 6 June
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“Did you know that roads can think along with drivers and cars? Holland is already building new roads which are more sustainable, safe and intuitive! Daan Roosegaarde’s ‘Smart Highways’ are a new interactive concept using interactive lights, smart energy and road signs that adapt to specific traffic situations. Daan Roosegaarde will guide us to the future of transportation, in an important moment for Serbia, finally catching up with plans to build key European highways through our country, but also showcase all other aspects of his award winning innovative body of work.’

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Belgrade Design Week 2013
'Innovation2' conference
6 to 8 June 2013

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Limited number of early-bird tickets!
Book before 19 May for a major discount: €149 instead of the usual price of €299
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