Balkan Design Network is an innovative platform established by Mikser Organization from Belgrade, Croatian Designers Association from Zagreb and Public Room from Skopje, with the aim of articulating and providing strategic support for the development and promotion of the Balkan design, raising awareness of the importance of design in the processes of social and economic development and promoting design values in region, as well an on international level.

BDN was created as a reaction to unfavorable climate for the development of creative sector in the Balkans, caused by a range of factors – from early aborted process of modernization, through unstable political situation and chaotic economic transition, to absence of stimulating local business policy. The Network calls for experts, designers, design collectives, formal and informal educational institutions, companies and developing agencies, to unite their experiences gained from similar historical, economic and social circumstances, and direct them towards proactive reverse of reality in the Balkans under the umbrella of newly established platform. 

The mission of the Balkan Design Network is to empower social roles of design as a catalyst of humane, intelligent and sustainable environment that will contribute to the improvement of common human prosperity. All three organizations that are initiating BDN platform proved their capability and integrity during many years of work in promoting design as a method and way of thinking which enables constructive innovation and economic and social progress. Balkan designers who gained notable public presence through these activities and an opportunity to implement their ideas in numerous regional and international projects, showed remarkable resistance and flexibility to limited resources that promises great results in the future, especially in the context of a changing society. It is precisely that kind of capability to cope with unfavorable circumstances of local and global economies, and to develop modern, sustainable practices under these conditions that makes designers from countries in transition, especially from the Balkans, potential European creativity leaders in a permanent crises that our politicians continuously predict.

Therefore, one of the key motives for launching the network is the urgency for the strategic and long-term action of regional design organizations and institutions on linking the sectors of design and business. Equally important is to establish more efficient cooperation with state institutions in order to understand better systematic investment in the creative potential of the Balkans and its particular implementation by the business sector.

Future steps in developing the network as a sustainable, robust and firmly built up organization are aimed at developing crucial strategic and operative activities that support the growth of the design sector, like R&D projects that are related to design innovations, but also to economic aspects of design, exhibitions and promotional activities, exchanges with educational institutions, cooperation with manufacturers, as well as membership expansion by including many more participators from all countries in the region.

Special attention is placed on creating a common designers and production resources database among member organizations in the region, implementation of unifying “zero study”, a thorough research on design sector and articulation of regional design strategy which would empower the designers’ community status on national levels, renew the multicultural cooperation in the Balkan and affirm Balkan design as a cultural phenomenon with its recognizable identity on the global scene.

The key role in the development of the Balkan Design Network will also be given to the impact of international partner institutions present in the Balkan countries for their experiences and exchange of their best practices of applying design and creative disciplines in the promotion and development of their countries and regions, such as Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, Australia etc. Their representatives are welcome to offer strategic support to our initiative, in the belief that design, as an elemental and inseparable part of society and everyday life, can contribute to the improvement of human prosperity and better efficiency in the public sector.

Partner organisations:

Mikser is a multidisciplinary and multicultural platform that aims to affirm the cultural industry of the Balkan region. Mikser gathers creative professionals from entire region and facilitates a dialogue between contemporary global trends and regional practice. Mikser nurtures young talents from various creative disciplines through its own, unique platform for interaction between designers, architects, artists, companies, independent organizations, public institutions, local community and media. http://house.mikser.rs/

Public Room, Skopje
The non profit civil society organisation Public ROOM is active in the whole region and beyond. Activities and program of Public Room empower the non-profit sector from the region, influence the national cultural policies and intensify the cooperation in the field of culture, arts, design and architecture. In cooperation with well established cultural, business and educational partners, Public Room organises and offers short term training courses, stimulates creation of stage for public debate, idea development and realisation and as well as we stimulate the cultural exchange. www.publicroom.org

Croatian Designers' Association (CDA)
NGO that gathers design practitioners and theorists. Its main goals are to advocate and promote professional and social interests of designers and to raise public awareness on the importance of design for social and economic development. CDA was involved in establishing the School of Design in Zagreb,“Exhibitions of Croatian Design”, D-Day and other respectful design events and actions. Its activity radically increased since 2009 when the association was finally able to organize regular exhibition program, lectures and public discussions in its own space. F http://stari.dizajn.hr/

Balkan Design Network project is partially supported by the Creative Europe program of the European Union, and represents the interest of design sectors from all Southeastern European countries: Austria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey.