Ambassadors of BDW

Quotes of some of the world's superstars who were guests of Belgrade, the Belgraders and Belgrade Design Week

The participant’s list is impressive! Belgrade Design Week is the best professional event I ever participated in. But to me it also has emotional significance. I am in Belgrade again, twenty years later. I was not sure what to expect but I encountered a fantastic atmosphere and amazing people. I have a feeling I have old friends here.


Belgrade Design Week was full of amazing energy, with thousands of people coming from all the neighbouring countries. We engaged in great lectures, shows, parties, and intensive discourse about the renewal and new design enlightenment of Belgrade. It was the catalyst for design, branding, and change in Serbia. Design in Serbia took off and became a public subject.


Belgrade truly touched and moved me. It is difficult to describe feelings that overawe me. Your desire to bring people together, your dedication and commitment to an idea, the need to look the people in the eye, the inner beauty I have encountered here, all is so sincere and real. There are not many such places on the planet. Please, invite me again!


Dear design friends, Belgrade is engraved in my heart in many ways. First of all, the people - so open and interested. Than the wonderful soft organization of the event - one of the very best I ever attended. The super building. The joy to be with my dear fried Ross Lovegrove on stage and to meet Karim Rashid. All this together was unforgettable and please invite me again!


Belgrade Design Week is a unique, inspiring and one-off design event in this significant geopolitical area. It is the only platform that is really working toward a positive change in the sense of perception and understandings of design profession in countries that formed ex Yugoslavia. I was honoured that I was a part of such a beautiful and emotional event.

NIKA ZUPANC, Industrial Designer, Slovenia

This is my third time here and I love Belgrade’s frustration, it’s exciting. The reason for my visit is also great, because this conference brings a lot of good energy.


Belgrade Design Week is really good. We were extremely well looked after, and the conference was dynamic, interesting and different. The food and the parties were also very memorable! Thanks for inviting us, we had an excellent time.


Belgrade Design Week is a masterpiece in the art and science of conference design – and a hell of a good way to spend 3 days in Serbia! Belgrade Design Week is a place where creativity gets the loudest applause in the world!


However unexpected it appears, Belgrade Design Week grows on the ruins of the modern “old world” , the seeds of genetically modified organisms on the promised land of design. I was there – I am still amazed!


It was a true pleasure to participate in Belgrade Design Week. BDW has great speakers and lots of creative energy and I was amazed by the commitment from the organization and their ability to create an international event of such caliber. Even with a small team, BDW sets a standard that other cities in the world can learn from. Actually, many design events would probably feel embarrassed if they visited Belgrade Design Week and compared themselves.

PETER BONNEN, Muuto, Denmark

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.


It changed me, I encountered new ideas that I will live for the rest of my life. The event marked a moment in history when many people in woke up to a bigger and more inclusive world. We were all rewarded for our efforts, style and glamour graced an experience that was food for our souls. I returned to Belgrade many times to feel the pulse of its rugged heart. Cheers.


A design event that is both inspiring, uplifting, interesting, fun and warm, and where you interact with creative skilled people from all over the world, AND also make new contacts as well as new friendships. It is well organized as well as relaxed in an environment where you feel as if you are among friends and family. It’s been a great experience to become a part of the BDW family.


Belgrade Design Week is a one-off – a unique set-up that is free from the corporate atmosphere that so often pervades other such events. The energy, optimism and warmth of Jovan and his team flows through every event – lectures, workshops, meals & drinks alike! I’ve never been good at sitting in a dark lecture hall for more than an hour or so at a time but found myself doing three lectures back to back at Belgrade – such was the quality of speakers. Timetabling was crazy at times but at BDW everybody seems happy to ‘go with the flow’ – and has an even better time for doing so. The City of Belgrade should be very proud of this gem!


B.D.W. is "Being with your whole creative self in WONDERLAND". Getting out of the line (box), navigating into the world of sensation and intellect, showing curiosity and sharing knowledge, living in clear and vague situations, bringing Art & design to talk to each other, loving, touching, eating, growing, expecting the unexpected and yet always being surprised, never accepting what was planned a month earlier. And people, interesting people, creative people, wonderful, open-minded people, beautiful people, people who think DESIGN IS A WAY OF THINKING. All of this is true. I was lucky to be there and loved it.

YAFFA GAON, Intellectual and Expert in Education, Israel

It was great that the speakers and the attendees were actually to share ideas and express their views as opposed to solely exhibition purposed fairs. It was very impressive, how successful and innovative individuals from various disciplines spoke about their worlds and how the audience interactively took part. To have attended and to have experienced this interaction at Belgrade Design Week made me very pleased. I would like to extend my congratulations to the BDW organizers due to this successful event.

SEYHAN OZDEMIR, Autoban, Turkey

Belgrade is a regional centre and BDW is really professional and sympathy all over to me. Major compliments to all, you're doing a great pioneering job. Such a pity that local business and government still don't grasp the real importance and potential of it. If countries like UK, DK, NL support it, this is because it is quality; Serbia should support it because it is important and (more) Serbian companies should participate to reap the benefits in cooperation with Serbian designers. So what is smart in this consequence? Insert the BDW logo with the year 2011.

MIRKO VAN DEN WINKEL, Stylepark, Germany

It was an amazing experience attending the BDW earlier this year. Thank you Jovan and all BDW team for making it not only possible but also memorable.


If you don’t want to get inspiration - don’t come to Belgrade Design Week. If you don’t want to talk about the real essence - don’t come to Belgrade Design Week. If you don’t want to have the best parties - don’t come to Belgrade Design Week.

TOM STRALA, Switzerland

I would like to thank you at BDW and all the others involved for a fantastic experience in the beautiful city of Belgrade! It was truly amazing and extremely inspiring to take part of it and I will keep the memory forever.


Belgrade was an unexpected, inspiring and energizing experience. A very unorthodox & charismatic host, harems of beautiful hostesses, less beautiful speakers with their advantages too (mainly the speaking part) and finally some recognition of my talent as a DJ. Biomega & KiBiSi colonized Belgrade for a brief moment. Actually, for the first time my KiBiSi partners, Lars Larsen, Bjarke Ingels & I were speaking at the same event – a seal of grandeur I gather. Some day I want to be remembered as the Caliph of Belgrade - & the designer bicycle pioneer.


Belgrade Design Week unlike so may other city design events has a wonderfully essential vibe about it. Nothing pretentious in the air but big bags of energy and enthusiasm. It feels like the Serbs haven't already decided what design is and so are open and ready to riff off the ideas that come in to sharp focus over these precious days. The city itself has a gritty charm about it which complements the event perfectly.


It was great for xarchitekten to be invited to BDW as Austrian Architects We were expecting a great time by experiencing all this different thinking’s on design issues. At first there was the road movie from Vienna to Belgrade: 600 Kilometers of flat land, an immense impression of wideness - like riding on a green ocean. Arriving Belgrade we were hosted by the perfect Organization and accompanied by very nice people of BDW. The most valuable element of BDW´s Performing, Discussing, Lecturing in the Theater, Visiting the Clubs and Restaurants of Belgrade has been the linking excellent thinking and facing experts coming from different fields of design as well as different regions of Europe. xarchitekten are convinced about the great role of BDW as an Place for multidisciplinary Evolution, therefore BDW is facing a great future. Hopefully xarchitekten will be connected to BDW again.


A smart thing is Belgrade Design Week, inviting great speakers from the whole world and make them meet, discuss, comment and expose their thought and quotes in a very distressed manner in one of the most wonderful and preserved town in Eastern Europe. Thanks I met nice and passionate people. I loved Belgrade Design Week.

LAURENT FETIS, Graphic designer, France

I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of the Belgrade Design Week. I found the event and the talks very engaging and experimenting. Unfortunately, I only had one day to spend at BDW but next year when I return I will make sure to clear out my schedule for the whole week.


Great impressions from the conference, but also from the city, from the parties, and from the food!


Because sometimes you go to some more established places there is always saturation. Here seems that you manage to see things and you manage to talk to people.


Been a few weeks after the end of the Belgrade Design Week, but in my mind is still alive all the energy collected in the three very intense days in Belgrade. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation to the BDW 2010 but, honestly, I did not expect to live a so unique experience: BDW Conference is an incredible concentration of creativity, freedom, passion and feeling that involves all participants. Amazing the people of the organization guided by the genius and craziness of Jovan!


Yes to fluid and amorphous forms. Yes to intelligent design. Yes to diverse, interconnected elements. And yes to organic beauty.


During Belgrade Design Week 2009, you enabled participants to meet with representatives from different countries, in professional, as well a sin social settings, which provided the opportunity for spontaneous interactions, where everyone was engaged in true cross-cultural dialogues. This allowed participants from different countries to become familiar with attitudes, ideas, and practices on the common topics of design. We had received first hand accounts of current situation in creative fields and intellectual status of Belgrade Design Week, exchanged ideas and knowledge, mixed and mingled among each other. And the unique opportunity was given for all of us to establish professional relationships and develop lifelong friendships. We were eager to discover Belgrade and had a unique chance to enjoy the city! No doubt, it was our first, but not our last visit to Belgrade. All the best to Belgrade Design Week for the future to come! We are looking forward to be a part of your success.

YELENA KHARITONOVA, Dutch Design Week / Caravan Cultura, Holland

Arriving out of the gray, wet and cold Swiss autumn, sunny Belgrade hugged us with warm hospitality and inspiration. BDW is surprisingly a great party, a learning tool, an international transdisciplinary get together AND a deluxe-feeding-machine all at the same time! Besides, this is all done with galactic commitment and very big hearts.


I think that people who are engaged in the design closely collaborate with colleagues from abroad or themselves often staying there. My impression is that such world spirit was on the faces of all these people I met at BDW. It was nice to be a part of that international universe and I hope that it was at least slightly expanded by my micro universe.


My BDW began in Milan, having a crazy meeting with Jovan at the design library in ZONA TORTONA. 09:15 A short espresso with Mauricio Ribotti: "Are you sure you have a meeting with Jovan this time in the morning? It must be a mistake!" 09:40 a man with a small black suitcase enters the café: "Hi CARO!" both man hug. "Oh! Galit, you are also here?" We sit down and immediately start to talk "design”. After 3 espressos I know I have found my partner for the next revolution! Coming to BDW was wonderful, like meeting old friends. BDW is the most passionate conference, full of amazing designpeople that share impossible designdreams. I was honoured to be a part of this group - and would love to see you all again!

GALIT GAON, Creative Director of Design Museum Holon, Israel

Running in the morning through the city (down what the germans call a Fußgängerzone) 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?!


What a fantastic feast this Belgrade Design Week was! Inspiring, exciting and full of intensive dialogue. More than any other conferences BDW was showing, why we are all Designers – because it's about the vibe, the passion, the people and the culture of exchange. Belgrade! We'll come back!


So many thanks to all colleagues, Jovan and the entire Belgrade Design Week. BDW is quite different from other design events. It is more about people than products. BDW is healing for designer souls.


During the 10 year history of Normann Copenhagen, we have learned that passion for design and architecture is strongly connected to people and not places. Coming from a part of the world where DESIGN is almost part of your DNA and every household has a selection of Design Classics, does not guarantee that passion is found. When coming to Belgrade for the BDW 2009 we found a dedication and passion at the highest level. We can only be jealous that such events, created with passion and real interest to push the viewers and visitors to the next level are not more commonly found in Denmark. That again is a tribute to the great efforts found behind BDW and we hope to be part of your events in the years to come.

PETER HUSTED SYLVEST, Normann Copenhagen, Denmark

Unbelievable - the masters of cool have managed to pull yet another magic! To consistently maintain high level of riveting presentations, top-notch speakers, crazy after-parties year after year, is just beyond me - how do they do it? With very little support from official institutions, almost with their bare hands but with unshakable belief in design and positive change, the BDW team has done probably the best show yet - despite all odds. My huge respect and thank you!


Belgrade Design Week is a class of its own. The program, curation and quality of speakers is outstanding, you’re treated like royalty and it feels like being with old friends. Thanks to Jovan and his crew for the invitation.


My two big loves of 2010 was Belgrade Design Week and the TMA – 1 by KiBiSi that I presented there. Both are children of determination, teamwork and eagerness to create a long lasting value. BDW and the TMA-1 are founded on solid content, great vibes and acumen. BDW will stay with me.


The Belgrade Design Week was the best design conference I have ever enjoyed – the specific spirit of the city in a kind of in between status, the rough tension which can still be felt ten years after the bombs, the pride and the looking for new orientation especially in the young generation – all this is giving the BDW a special flair far away from the current events of the global design circus. In addition the enthusiastic organizational team trying hardly but unsuccessfully to keep the program along the schedules, the informal exchange between the international speakers, the loss of any discipline, the parties on the river … what ever and how ever the interrelations between these aspects are working – it makes the BDW an unique, likeable, inspiring and productive event, I will never forget.

BURKHARD REMMERS, Wilkhahn, Germany

I am still puzzled over the question whether there are no rules in Belgrade or nobody obeys rules. Whatever the case, both are perfect for the creation of great ideas and great plans. I met inspiring people. Some of them are genius. The people with whom I want to realize some of the ideas and plans that rooted during the BDW. One day we will say: and it all started in Belgrade.

AERNOUD BOURDREZ, Creative Lawyer, Netherlands

Do not make the same mistake as I did when coming to BDW, by planning things too tight and efficient. But take time to enjoy it to the max. You will not regret it!”


Belgrade Design Week is fantastic! It is a conference with a great international reputation. I have heard so many friends, professionals and peers who said it was one of the best conferences in the world, and something you must do! So, I had no doubts in saying yes when Jovan asked me to do it 6 months ago. Belgrade Design Week is different, it’s a bit crazy, and the special passion and the energy is what makes it really good!


Belgrade Design Week is proud to be able, not only to bring the world's greatest talents and experts to Serbia, but also to show them that Serbia is rich with talents of her own. It was another inspiring and creative day of the festival, which the visitors truly enjoyed - and said that they would come again tomorrow.


When was the last time somebody you didn't know before: welcomed you as family, managed to surprise you more than once, made you discover 10 new places and 100 really cool people within a few days, even made you feel like somebody really important & revealed some secret inspirations you had forgotten about Big up to the alchemists of the Belgrade Design Week! We will remember for life.


I just loved attending the Belgrade Design Festival, everything was just perfect. Not only did I feel spoiled by the organization and captivated by the city, the audience was super receptive and it was a great experience to share the Camper story with such a great atmosphere.


Life is a system of signs and symbols, where nothing is quite as it seems.

A very important activity with a great collection of speakers... but the local design community should start moving and benefit from this amazing input and opportunity created by the BDW. An urgent support from the city and the government is fundamental to the success of design in Serbia. It is up to the community to embrace all this and make something out of it. Belgrade should be celebrating and welcome such initiatives.


June 2nd 1010, I approach Belgrade from the sky, over green fields, rain-clouds, grey cityscape and cold air. My first impression is - ugh! I am greeted by my hostesses and the rest of the crew and immediately flowers start blooming in my mind. Life is everywhere, and after a few days I leave with an energy boost and a great lift in spirits. I am sad to go but I am sure to return. Belgrade is alive!

OLA RUNE – Claesson Koivisto Rune, Sweden

BDW was a wonderfully rewarding experience. I think the mix that made it work so well was a tangible passion for design realized in the most relaxed and friendly atmosphere that I have come across for any event like this – truly inspirational, long may it thrive. As for what is a smart, forging partnerships and working with like minded designers and clients always seems a pretty smart and rewarding way to go about design and I have a very good feeling that BDW will be the catalyst for many such collaborations.

ANDREW STEVENS, Graphic Thought Facility, UK

I discovered the most lively platform in the design world, from products to architecture, from strategies to visual experimentation. Design Week was a rich surprise that is beyond boundaries of disciplines and limitations of media. It was a place to meet old friends again and find new ones for future collaborations and exchange. And it was a great party time! - it´s all inclusive!


It’s a good energy, I think, people really want to contribute and sure it’s nice. Because sometimes you go to some more established places there is always saturation. Here seems that you manage to see things and you manage to talk to people and that’s the right size and scale and it’s much more approachable, it’s very on human level. It’s very good.


Belgrade Design Week is crazy wonderfulinsane. True people with a great heart, real beauty and a sense for rebellion.


Design Week Belgrade? - Rarely have I been received with such warmth, rarely have I had the pleasure to listen to so many fascinating people, and it has been a long time since I have last stayed up into the wee hours of the night in such elegant company.

JÖRG BONER, Switzerland

Brand New World would be the world in which we could experiment with technologies that can save this world. I think that one of the designers task is to experiment with new technologies in order to figure out what they can offer to this world.


BDW is truly a remarkable and unique event on the international design calendar. Very wisely the organizers behind it compliment the small and vivid emerging local design scene with creating one of the most innovative and cutting edge design conferences in the world. Bringing together designers and creators from around the world to create a great celebration of creativity, of ideas and philosophy. The ability to find a core passion between all participants, together with the passion brought by the local crowd and the organizing team, takes every person involved into an emotional and personal journey and this is how design should be explored. Not on unapproachable pedestals or mega commercial events, but in person, with people talking and exploring together.

IDO GARINI, Studio Appetit, NL

BDW is among small number of organizations that try to raise the culture of a society. I thank them for that. Many people don`t realize that by raising the level of culture, you can improve general motivation and improve day-to- day life... This can have an effect on people`s standard of living and you can have a better, more beautiful and more functional society.

MILOS DIMCIC, Programming Architecture , RS/DE

Invitation to participate on the Belgrade Design Week was a pleasant surprise that led to a fantastic experience to be with so many respected and talented people. This event has also a strong emotional significance to me. After my success in Italy, Spain and France, it was a special honour to get the professional recognition in my own country and show as a speaker on BDW. Being part of BDW will give me the motivation to continue to work hard and give you a reason to invite me again to cooperate in the upcoming years. Thank for choosing me and giving me a chance to be part of BDW.


Belgrade Design Week was an amazing, unexpected experience. The energy, vision and speed of Jovan and his team became tangible. May it last forever as "materialized intelligence". Our world innovation SaphirKeramik, designed with new freedom by Konstantin Grcic and Toan Nguyen was happy as myself to be a part of this "Brave New World" 2014!


First of all, we would like to express that we have never experienced such a wonderful hospitality. We believe very much in the importance of such an interesting and interdisciplinary event. It is an incredible joy and of great interest to hear different speakers talk about the essence of their experiences in their fields. Obviously, such an event has a great future because the modern world will not be driven by people who are just focused on their singular discipline.


Design is illogical. Precisely that is its essential quality.


If we tear out one part, if we forget to mention or do not acknowledge one type of region, one type of religion, one type of gender, the whole construction will fall apart.


The audience must believe what they see.


Some of it will make sense to you, some of it won't make sense. Some of it would be truth, mostly it will be lies.

DALJIT SINGH - On his presentation