Since we're all winding down from New York Design Week 2007, BusinessWeek has chosen an opportune time to discuss the "design fair" on an international scale. As the notion of design digs its nails deeper into every aspect of consumerism and living, trade shows, design fairs, and clusters of independent exhibits appear to prolifically pop up in cities, large and small, all around the world. While cities like London and New York continue to experience a healthy, steady cycle of networking, new business relationships, socializing, and media buzz, it's the developing design cities that will use the "fair" as a means to gain recognition and stability.
By starting (and self-funding) a design fair, these designers hope to motivate manufacturers, expose young designers to design greats, promote design to policy wonks as an economic driver to develop consumers, elevate designers' incomes, and establish Serbia as a regional hub for graphic arts. It's exhilarating to think a design fair could push forward such an agenda.
Last year's event starred Karim Rashid, Peter Saville, Gaetano Pesce, Ross Lovegrove, Luigi Colani, and fellow Serb Konstantin Grcic. "The funny thing about Serbian media is that you can yell about some Serbian designer for a hundred years--and nothing," laughs Vidakovic. "But tell them about a foreign guy who's really famous, they give you all the coverage." That coverage proved eye-opening for local government, manufacturers, and consumers-- and yielded badly needed international contacts for local designers.
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