6 days ago
National Printing Institution of Yugoslavia, BIGZ, architect Dragiša Brašovan, built 1940, Belgrade, Serbia
When it opened in 1940 the State Printing House was one of the largest industrial enterprises in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Its prominent position on the River Sava secured it immediately a landmark status, as did its uncompromising modernist architecture. After WW2 it was shared by several companies engaged in printing until the formation of BGZ in 1955, which in 1970 became BIGZ (Beogradski izdavačko grafički zavod – Belgrade Publishing and Graphics Institute). This huge socialist company which employed almost 5,000 people had its heyday in the 1980s when it published paperbacks but also several popular magazines. BIGZ company went bankrupt during wars and economic sanctions and was terminated in the 2000s. The only remaining part is BIGZ Izdavaštvo publishing house that still owns a smaller part of the building. The rest of it was sold (and resold) to private owners who deemed it most profitable for the moment to rent it to businesses and individuals by room. Around the year 2010 a vast amount of rock and alternative music bands started practising here transforming the last two floors into an unofficial hub of alternative culture. At its peak in 2012/13, BIGZ was home to about a hundred bands and no less than eight-night clubs. After one incident the clubs were evicted on the basis of no fire exits and the number of bands working here dwindled to about a half. Next to the building, a new hotel was built in 2014 closing the view of this imposing structure from one side. The city fathers have on several occasions announced grand plans for the building but its future use remains uncertain.
For more information about the nonument, photos and interviews visit: nonument.org/