zagreb city

Historic and flamboyant, the city of Zagreb has been growing its artistic reputation through numerous art and design exhibitions, including (Zagreb) Design Week, as well as innovative product design brands and stylish interior design.

In addition to those recognized European design destinations such as Amsterdam, Milan, Stockholm, and Helsinki, to name but a few, this European capital is expanding its offer year after year. Starting with an exhibition in 2021 of the local furniture design brand of Prostoria, which stunned audiences and buyers with its amazing setting, to the graphic design retrospective of Milan Vulpe’s works titled “Decoding” in the Museum of Applied Arts (Muzej za umjetnost i obrt).

The exhibition ‘’Decoding’’ encompasses more than 800 works by the Croatian designer Milan Vulpe. Vulpe’s works marked the everyday lives of those who lived in SFR Yugoslavia leading up to the 1990s. Vulpe’s design corpus dealt with graphic solutions for public factories, institutions such as tourism boards, publishers, hotels, and pharmaceutical companies at the time. His super creative, eye-catching logotypes and colorful designs were produced in an analogous manner. From today’s perspective, Vulpe’s works have retained their aesthetic and interesting storyline and are not simply museum pieces.

Milton Glaser’s exhibition. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

We should also mention Milton Glaser’s exhibition, which was held in the same venue. Glaser designed some of New York City’s most prominent restaurants, such as Trattoria dell ’Arte and Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center. He is also known for producing all the promotional materials for the internationally-renowned Windows on the World restaurant, a complex of venues on the top floors of the North Tower of the original World Trade Center complex, destroyed in 2001. Glaser played a prominent role in shaping the New York music industry in the 1960s – from the graphic design for cult radio station WOR -FM 98.7 to record companies Poppy Records, Tomato Records, and Bearsville. He worked for Francis Ford Coppola, the Marshall McLuhan Foundation, and on Superman (redesigning the DC Comics’s logo).

Zagreb Design Week took place from 21 to 26 September in the Technical Museum of Nikola Tesla, Zagreb. The theme of this year’s event was ‘’resilience’’.  This topic reflects the specific circumstances that have marked our lives over the previous two years. Pandemics, isolation, earthquakes, fear, and insecurity prompted the designers taking part to address its effects.

Zagreb Design Week, 2021 final. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

The Design Week exhibitions encompassed various design fields such as product design, social innovation, graphics, and textiles, as well as interior and digital communication and interaction design. We could single out products from the fields of social innovation and furniture design, where designers used various durable materials such as concrete, steel, or wood; some of them emphasizing redesign and recycling, usage of natural materials, and utility.

Dutch Design & The Future of Living. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

One of the main partners of Zagreb Design Week was the Netherlands. Guests were able to attend a panel on Dutch Design Week and watch the documentary “Its Dutch Design” by Elbe Stevens, a film exploring the global phenomenon of the style that emerged in the 1990s, as a reaction to the then-prevailing traditional approach to design.

Day & Night program. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

Founders of popular local brands, plus Italian designers were among the speakers at the event. Guests were able to enjoy sets by local DJs, a drag queen show in the evening, play ping pong, grab a drink, and tuck into delicious burgers.

Canopy by Hilton Hotels Zagreb. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

During our stay in Zagreb, we visited Canopy by Hilton Hotel Zagreb. This luxurious boutique hotel is in the heart of the city and is inspired by the city’s industrial past. The spacious rooms are carefully decorated, with an emphasis on Croatian industrial design and home decor. Meaning that rooms are equipped with popular Croatian brands like Mila & Mili, Prostoria, Grupa, Nunc, and so forth.

In addition to original decorative billboards harking back to the Yugoslav new wave and pop era, guests will also find a bunch of cool art books in the lobby, they can do a workout in the gym, plus enjoy a delicious breakfast.

Explore the city by bike. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

Since Zagreb is quite a clean and bike-friendly city, we recommend exploring the city by bike. Bikes are available for free at the Canopy by Hilton if you are a guest. Or, for non-guests, try renting one from the Pedalo bike shop on the main square, for 10e per bike.

Speaking of cuisine. Photo credits@A.Taskovic

Gourmands and coffee addicts should visit Skalinska Street, behind the Cathedral. This alley is home to cozy bars and restaurants. Speaking of cuisine, we recommend La Struk and Nokturno with their super delicious pizza and lasagne. For those “suffering from a sweet tooth,” we can vouch for the local dumplings and pancakes (yum yum). When it comes to vegetarian food, make sure you check out the veggie burgers at the local brand, Submarine Burgers (they have one eatery in Belgrade as well) and the tiny but cozy restaurant, Vegehop, tucked away in Vlaska St.

If you are seeking a hipster vibe, try Marticeva Street and the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MSU Zagreb) in the neighborhood of New Zagreb (Novi Zagreb).