About Design District Festival in Zagreb
As a project, the Design District Zagreb 2018 implies the third consecutive year of affirmation of the so-called “Martićeva- zone” as the creative city district, i.e. it is the third edition of the interdisciplinary, multimedia open-air festival dedicated to design, architecture, art and other creative industry-driven branches.
The Festival covers the district of Lower City delimited by Draškovićeva, Šubićeva, Vlaška, Zvonimirova and Martićeva streets, where Martićeva Street plays the central role. Within the district, the organizers of the Festival have recognized an exceptional potential for the development of cultural and tourist products and services in the local context owing to favourable urban infrastructure and the tradition of modern urban culture that has been continuously sustaining itself in its contemporary variant.
The content of the Festival focuses on the production and/or presentation of diversified projects and initiatives in all of the above mentioned disciplines but also in the fields that are constantly present in the cultural “offer” of this district, i.e. literature, music and performance arts, looking into their connections with the contemporary design and other social practices.
About the programme
The programme comprises exhibitions (both interior and exterior, within public and private premises, inside of galleries and abandoned and unused facilities), discussions and lectures (with guest lecturers from Croatia and abroad pertaining to the fields of design, architecture, urbanism and other fields), workshops (focusing on various fields of interest in design and creativity, both for children and adults), spatial interventions and installations (taking place in parks, on the streets and unused shops and shop windows in collaboration with partners and sponsors of the festival as well as municipal institutions), various events (promotions, panel discussions, screenings, public readings, etc.), open doors days (when visitors have the opportunity to visit and get a direct insight in design and architect studios within the district) alongside with the rich music and gastronomic programme.
The programme of Design District Zagreb 2018 is a combination of very specific understandings of what design might be and the way it can progressively impact complex and multi-layered social relations within a selected and representative urban community.
Not only attracting many visitors and producing a number of interesting and valuable projects, the DDF experience from previous years also teaches us a well-structured methodological lesson in terms of more inclusive, participatory and democratic understating of culture.
Cultural production is understood as the motivating force for a comprehensive analysis of the immediate living environment, which, at the same time, attracts visitors interested in experiencing permanent liveliness of a particular urban complex. Cultural production provides individual approach both to citizens and guests, staying away from mass cultural offering and without underestimating the capability of recipients for creative and critical thinking.
Creative spirit inspired by the project aims at gradual, rational yet certain changes that might transform Zagreb into the frontrunner of a sustainable approach to culture and improvement of quality in parallel with growing number of contents and, consequently, visitors.
The contents of the project are set out in the framework of what is necessary, beautiful and useful instead of what is luxurious with the aim to streamline progressive relations between inhabitants of the district and visitors as equal participants in the process of creating and developing public space. Owing to the fundamental inclusivity of the project, they all feel involved in the local community as creators and not only consumers and their experience revolves around taking part in various programmes instead of merely consuming them uniformly.
Long-term objective of the Design District Zagreb project is to develop into a broad, inclusive and participatory platform for gathering and creating networks of cultural professionals active in the district, people living there and those visiting it so to achieve a more simplified and creative communication with the overall urban community as well and national and foreign one, and to propose and organise projects of strategic interest for the district and the City of Zagreb— starting from the Festival and beyond.
One of the objectives is also to affirm the understanding of design as a methodological and reflexive field providing tools for analytical research and creative planning applicable to different spheres of living. Urban development with all its specificities is certainly one of those tools. This way of understanding design brings us closer to the definition of “social design”, i.e. design that makes a composing element of thinking and organising interpersonal relationships within a particular social community.
Long-term objectives of the project imply continuity in content production as well as the continuation of development and growth of already established collaborations, programmes and communication channels, together with further strengthening of partnership relations with municipal institutions, sponsors and participants of the Festival. Also, the Festival strives to permanently maintain some of the contents developed in the district during the Festival and make them an additional value in the public space of the City of Zagreb.