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Dejan Todorović

Dejan Todorović, architect, lighting, museum project, exhibition

Dejan Todorović

Architect

Serbia

 

Interview by Denise Close and Jean-Luc Wittersheim

Serbian architect Dejan Todorović has worked on extremely diverse projects in Spain as well as Serbia and is keen on architecture in every way, shape and form. For Dejan, lighting is the essential element in architecture, especially when illuminating a museum and its works of art.
Dejan Todorović portrait © Cédric Helsly
MoCAB, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia © Cédric Helsly

What are the highlights of your career?  

After graduating from Belgrade University's Architecture Faculty in 1992 I worked in Spain for 14 years. Living and working there was exciting – a period rich in experiences and creativity. While there I collaborated with several architectural studios, then founded my own firm, “Off Project.” During this time, I also pursued other activities, notably teaching at Madrid's Polytechnic University.

In Spain we did several social housing and housing projects, and recycling centers, but the main emphasis was on ephemeral architecture and temporary displays for museums, exhibitions and commercial centers.
Once back in Belgrade I founded NOOTO, an architectural design studio. This gave me the opportunity to work on extremely diverse architectural projects for widely varied uses, and on the reconstruction of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (MoCAB).
Light is crucial in architecture – it’s always very important to find the truth about the light in architecture”.

In Serbia, in addition to the MoCAB, my most important works are the Bregalnicka St. housing project, family houses in Bregovita St. and Kosmaj, a kindergarten in Pregrevica St., hotels in Visegrad and Sokolac, and the Marina Dorcol mixed use complex. I also started my own label selling handcrafted products.

In 2016 I was vice commissioner and now in 2018 I am a commissioner of the Serbian pavilion at Venice's Biennale of Architecture. Everything about architecture interests me - that's the point. I want to practice and learn as much as I can. I don't want to be categorized – and stuck in one field! – but to experience all aspects of architecture.

MoCAB, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia - Dejan Todorović © Cédric Helsly 

You need to have an understanding of light and how to design good artificial lighting – and not just take into account the building material. Otherwise, all your hard work will have been for nothing if the lighting isn't well done”.

What were your sources of inspiration for MoCAB?

My inspiration for the design was to recreate the main values that were within the museum in 1965 when it opened – and at the same time to recreate it in a new manner so that it can accept new forms of arts and function with new kinds of expressions of art. I wanted to overlap the old design with new tendencies, to achieve a different and innovative design for the museum, whose look hadn't changed in 50 years.

Why is light so important in architecture - what is its role?

Light is crucial in architecture – it’s always very important to find the truth about the light in architecture. You can't work with materials without knowing how each works in different types of light – natural or artificial.

You need to have an understanding of light and how to design good artificial lighting – and not just take into account the building material. Otherwise, all your hard work will have been for nothing if the lighting isn't well done.

It requires many years of study and work to reach a point where you can imagine that you control the light.
This is an excerpt from our exclusive interview with Dejan Todorović. If you’re Interested in learning how Dejan keeps his lighting knowledge up to date, what professionals inspire him and how his architectural journey began, then visit Luminous magazine to read the full interview

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