Belgrade Design Week and USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project presented three winning designs of the “Sitting Green” eco-friendly home seating DESIGN competition announced during Belgrade Design Week 2009

The sudden emerge of design weeks all around the globe is being under review lately. Their importance and reasons for existing, especially in those countries with modest design tradition, seems not to be proven yet to everyone.

In Serbia, Belgrade Design Week has given a strong response to these questions, not only to local businesses and politics, but also to an international audience.

Branko Nikolic
Ethic chair DESIGN Branko Nikolic Antipod 01

Despite the fact that BDW is not financially supported neither by City of Belgrade or any other relevant Serbian Government institution, BDW presented jointly with USAID yet another successful project – tailor made for the benefits of the Serbian creative industries – the exhibition of industrial prototypes of the three winning designs of “Sitting Green” – the first ever ecological chair design competition in Serbia. The nationwide open competition in 2008-09 and the final workshop for designers at the BDW 2009, was organized in cooperation with USAID.

Milos Jovanovic

What made this competition unique and different from other design competitions “on paper” in Serbia and SEE, is that in development of the project the three wining designs have been manufactured as prototypes and prepared for serial production, in collaboration with carefully researched partners from the local furniture industry. To enable this Copernican shift in the Serbian creative industry, Belgrade Design Week, the members of the international jury, the prototyping facilities and talented Serbian designers donated their work and time up to this stage, while USAID financed the material costs.

Jugoslava Kljakic and Nataša Ilincic

This is the first time in Serbia that such a link between the creative and furniture industry has been made, promising to create attractive propositions for the market place in the future and thus bring new jobs to the economy. Finally, the exhibition’s location is covering the last missing base in the chain – the retail sector – in the prestigious NITEA showroom in downtown Belgrade, where the chars will remain on sale. In order to support export plans, the chairs will be included in the new exhibition named “100% SERBIA” curated by BDW’s founder Jovan Jelovac, planned to be sent to the global design weeks circuit from June 2010 on, after the scheduled premiere at BDW 2010.

The eco-friendly home seating design competition “Sitting Green” was implemented by the USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project and Belgrade Design Week (BDW). The competition was initiated in order to better integrate Serbian furniture design, production and sales, which has been identified as a key way to improve the competitiveness of the Serbian furniture industry and promote exports.

The competition ran from January 20th to March 31st 2009, with 139 designs submitted via a web portal established by the Project and BDW. The designs were evaluated online by five international leaders in the field of design: Tony Chambers, Konstantin Grcic , Shin Azumi, Branko Lukic and Brigit Loman.

In May 2009, during Belgrade Design Week, the three winners in the following categories were announced:

– Overall Award for Best Design: Jugoslava Kljakic and Nataša Ilincic, “OD DO” architect studio

– Overall Award for Best Use of Sustainable Materials: Branko Nikolic.

– Student Award for Best Design: Milos Jovanovic

The USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project has worked with the Serbian furniture manufacturer “TMB Diamond” to produce the winning designs. The prototypes and pricing information will be utilized by the USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project to promote the sale and export of these designs to international clients. NITEA, as one of the leading retailers in Serbia, supports local furniture designers by dedicating space in its showroom through the “Serbian Corner”.