Hidden Belgrade (67): Swimming palaces of Belgrade

Maybe it is the shimmer of the water, maybe it is the people around them, or perhaps it is chlorine or sunstroke, but swimming pools, and especially public pools, have a magical, surreal touch to them. It is no wonder they inspired a lot of great art from Hockney’s Bigger splash, to Cheever’s excellent (yet dark) tale of a man who decided to swim his … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (67): Swimming palaces of Belgrade

Build Better: How a Belgrade Firm Built the World

Energoprojekt, the most famous firm based in Belgrade, is celebrating 70 years this year, and thanks to the great people of BINA (Belgrade International Architecture Week) I got acquainted a bit further with both its amazing HQ in New Belgrade as well as its accomplishments around the world. The frim, founded in 1951, initially focused on major energy projects in Yugoslavia, building its coal and … Continue reading Build Better: How a Belgrade Firm Built the World

Yugohotel: Omorika, Tara

Built in 1978. based on the design of Miroslav Krstonošić, a Ljubljana-educated architect from Novi Sad, Omorika is named after an autochthonous spruce which grows on the slopes of Tara. Its tent-shaped design was awarded Borba prize for architecture, and its interior still looks very much in vein of other Yugohotels. Thanks to the fact that it still owned by the Serbian Military (although accessible … Continue reading Yugohotel: Omorika, Tara

Celebrating Workers in Belgrade’s Public Art

As Serbia and Yugoslavia moved towards a more industrial economy in 1930s and 40s the industrial workers, who had a rough time during the capitalist monarchy in Yugoslavia, started being celebrated in its arts. Although celebration of the life workers was most famously depicted by artists with socialist sensibilities such as Đorđe Andrejević Kun, whose album of prints Bloody Gold, depicted rapacious capitalism, idealised workers … Continue reading Celebrating Workers in Belgrade’s Public Art

Hidden Belgrade (43): Last days of Yugoslav socialist consumerism

While many emphasise worker-ownership or its non-aligned anti-imperialist foreign policy as distinctive features of Yugoslav socialism, for me one of the most striking ways it differed from the countries behind the “Iron Curtain” is its deep openness to Western consumerist culture. Indeed, if you ask average former Yugoslavs what the main difference was between them and their supposed ideological comrades in the Warsaw pact, they … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (43): Last days of Yugoslav socialist consumerism

The Many Charms of Yugohotels

Hotels and resorts of Socialist Yugoslavia got a lot of press in the past few years (two examples here), especially as every summer more and more foreign tourists are heading to its coasts and cities over the summer. This recent fascination with ‘Yugohotels’ is more than just due to the trendiness of the Eastern Adriatic coast in the past few years, or the hipsterish love … Continue reading The Many Charms of Yugohotels

Belgrade’s Socialist-era Interiors

With a MoMA exhibition of Yugoslav-era brutalist architecture coming up in the summer, countless photos of Spomenici (aka WWII monuments) making weird architecture listicles and the never-ending appeal of mid-century architecture, it seems like a high time for Serbia to start preserving its Socialist-era architectural heritage, including its peculiar interiors. Although there have been some notable public efforts recently, like reconstruction of Belgrade’s Museum of … Continue reading Belgrade’s Socialist-era Interiors