7 June 2016, Zagreb – From June 16 to 19, in the zone whose center is Martićeva Street, the first edition of Design District Zagreb, a new and different design festival that promotes the urban development of the neighbourhood affirming it as a tourist destination will be held for the first time.
Ira Payer, creative director of the Festival, says that the programme is made for the participation of the widest circle of citizens, and that they will be able to enjoy selected exhibitions, art and design installations, green oases, workshops, lectures, musical events and performances, all located in unusual locations in public space. In this way, numerous shop windows, abandoned yards, parks, galleries, streets and even certain rooftops, will revive as part of the urban stage of Design District Zagreb. There, the residents of the neighbourhood, designers, artists, architects, musicians and other creative people will together give an impulse for a new wave of development. The current value and creative potential of this neighbourhood will be presented in the Guidebook of Design District Zagreb, which the visitors will be able to witness on their own by becoming familiar with local values and protagonists of the creative quarter’s scene.
Design District Zagreb was conceived as a year-round project with long-term activities that affirm the zone bounded by Šubićeva, Zvonimirova, Draškovićeva and Vlaška streets, with Martićeva as the central axis, as a creative quarter. This primarily occurs through the networking of the stakeholders of the existing creative scene through raising the visibility of their activities through the online platform, printed publication, and joint communication on social networks of the project, but also through the occasional revival of unused space and encouraging the creation of new content.
The year-round activities have their own peak in the form of the Festival that will be held for the first time this year from June 16th to 19th, which represents a temporary, highly concentrated version of the content that takes place throughout the zone during the year, with, of course, many additional contents designed specifically as part of the Festival’s programme, consisting of around 100 different projects.
At the very beginning of the press conference which was attended by Milan Bandić, mayor of Zagreb, Martina Bienenfeld, director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, and architects Bojan Baletić, professor at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb and Krešimir Rogina, a partner of the architectural studio Penezić & Rogina, as well as some of the participants of the Festival’s programme – Ira Payer presented the festival’s concept emphasizing its key difference from existing events regarding design in Zagreb: “Design District Zagreb’s programme is aimed towards the urban transformation of Zagreb’s neighbourhood whose artery is Martićeva street. The nature of this transformation is not meant as a temporary decoration of public space, but an incentive for citizens to research, reflect and detect a new and sustainable socio-economic model of regeneration.
The program is not designed in a way that there is one central venue or exhibition, but rather of events that are placed in many different and smaller locations. For example, the exhibition program will be spread throughout ten separate places in the District, and to find all the exhibitions, but also other contents – visitors will use the map of Design District Zagreb. We want people to wander off through Design District Zagreb with a map in hands and familiarize themselves with the charm of its public space – from the street, forgotten courtyards, parks, rooftops, abandoned storefronts and bars, now transformed into the Festival’s programme.
The entire programme would not be possible to realise without the existing creative scene around Martićeva Stree: designers, architects, artists, restaurateurs, NGO activists, booksellers, antiquarians… The entire programme is based on the idea that in it, residents of the neighbourhood and all other visitors participate – who perhaps know very little about design, even nothing. Thus, the educational part of the Festival’s programme, in addition to a few lectures that will be held, offer the possibility of visitors to create usable objects with their own hands through some of the workshops – like the one where they will learn how to make pots for their private balconies, which they will be able to take home afterwards. For that spirit of creativity and enthusiasm to be felt, I believe that it will be enough to simply take a walk through the streets of Zagreb’s Design District.
“Zagreb, as the capital and metropolis, serves as a kind of leader of trends in Croatia, and I am happy that it is now richer for this unique festival of design that promotes the urban development in the area around Martićeva Street. I believe that Design District will become the ideal platform to further create visibility and awareness of the importance of creative initiatives in the economy and society in general, and that this positive epicenter of the Martićeva Street zone will expand throughout the city. “- stated Martina Bienenfeld, director of the Tourist Board of Zagreb.
With his presence at the presentation of the programme of Design District Zagreb, the mayor, Milan Bandić clearly confirmed its importance for the City of Zagreb. For this occasion he said: “I welcome this project which aims to create and assemble good projects and initiatives, which correspond to the direct wishes and needs of our citizens, encouraging them to new thoughts, creating new habits and creating individual and socially beneficial activities and lifestyles. In this way, we are undoubtedly contributing to the better positioning of the City of Zagreb on the national and international cultural scene, and encouraging excellence in the work of all those who invest in the development of our culture as authentic and distinctive products.”
Within the production of the festival, a bilingual publication, the Design District Zagreb Guidebook, represents the protagonists of the creative community of the neighbourhood, as well as its architectural heritage, revealing the authentic lifestyle of the Martićeva zone.
The organisers of Design District Zagreb are the Croatian Design Superstore, Design Center Zagreb and Svibanjprojekt in active cooperation with the Zagreb Tourist Board and the City of Zagreb, and the City Office for Strategic Planning and Development of the City as well as the City Department of culture, education and sports.
The realisation of Design District Zagreb was largely recognised by domestic and foreign brands: Franck, HEP, Croatia Osiguranje, Iskon & bonbon and Strongbow as the main partners of the Festival and numerous other sponsors. As one of the programme partners, the Festival has partnered with IKEA Croatia, with whose help it will realise the project of a garden on the roof of the famous Wooden Skyscraper and hold a design competition in “hacking” the company’s products.