Sprawling over 50 hectares, this industrial development is planned to have 100.000 m2 of logistics use. The development will include IT Park (IT Park, Indjija, Serbia), warehouses and industrial halls, with already existing office buildings, as well as numerous logistics centers and office spaces.
Strategically located only 25 minutes (45 km) from Belgrade and 20 minutes (27 km) from Novi sad, ETZ is at the crossroads of Western and Eastern Europe, on Pan-European Corridors 7 (river Danube) and 10 (it is adjacent to the E-75 highway and 23 km away from E-70 highway).
TOTAL LEASABLE AREA IN CURRENT BUILDING: 8,170m2
The IT Park in Indjija is the first of its kind in the region and Embassy Group has already completed the construction of a 10,000 m2 building ready for tenant occupancy.
The concept is to provide a ”Flexible, Capable, and Diverse“ workspace to cater to all companies’ needs through flexible room sizes, multi-level fit-out options, and professional facility and property management services which allow for synergies between different businesses, R&D, and educational centers.
The IT Park in Indjija is Serbia’s only LEED Gold Certified-Property as are all of Embassy’s ongoing and future projects showing its commitment to creating sustainable developments.
+381 60 0815 715 · email@example.com · www.colliers.com
MINISTER GORAN VESIĆ 12 INVESTMENTS MUST NOT STOP
VLADIMIR VASIĆ, ASB 22 THE RISK OF A RECESSION IS SMALL
MILOŠ PETAKOVIĆ, GECIĆ LAW
28 REAL ESTATE AS AN INVESTMENT
DRAGANA KORICA, SRBGBC
32 THE FIRST WAVE OF GREEN BUILDING
ANGELINA NEKIĆ, DELTA REAL ESTATE 34 GENDER EQUALITY LEADS TO SUCCESS
STEVAN DJUKIĆ, XELLA SERBIA 36 ECOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION
OLIVERA VELJANOVSKA, ALUMIL 38 CORPORATE GREEN CULTURE
LANA APOLLONI, GRANIT INVEST 40 REVOLUCIJA: NEW GENERATION BUILDING
PETAR KOLOGNAT, CTP SERBIA 44 A YEAR OF RECORD INVESTMENTS
KAREL STRANSKY, COLLIERS 48 POTENTIAL OF THE INDUSTRIAL MARKET
VLADIMIR LOJANICA, ARCHITECT 52 URBANISM TRENDS
REMHUB 2022 61 ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN REAL ESTATE
TRAVEL 74 DOMINICAN ADVENTURE
INTERIOR 86 MODERN KITCHEN
LIFESTYLE 96 THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF PARIS
NO 20 | JAN /
Real Estate magazine covers all current real estate subjects as well as modern lifestyle topics such as architecture, design, fashion, art, travel, gastronomy, and prestigious fresh new releases. The magazine was established in 2016 and is published on a bimonthly basis.
Vladimir Popović vladimir.popovic@realestate-magazine .rs
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+381 11 4320 501 firstname.lastname@example.org
Zlatna Knjiga Jagodina Bagrdanski put bb, Jagodina
West Media World
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Publisher is not responsible for the content of published advertisments. www.realestate-magazine.rs
CIP - Каталогизација у публикацији Народна библиотека Србије, Београд
REAL Estate magazine : real estate, design and lifestyle / editor-in-chief Gordana Knežević Monašević. - [English ed.].2021, no. 15- . - Belgrade : West Media World, 2016- (Jagodina : Zlatna knjiga). - 28 cm
Tromesečno. - Preuzima numeraciju srpskog izd.Ima izdanje na drugom jeziku: Real Estate magazin (Srpsko izd.) = ISSN 2466-4170
ISSN 2812-7293 = Real Estate magazine (English ed.) COBISS.SR-ID 53491721
Winter looked at us with mercy. Maybe there wasn’t enough snow for winter joys on the mountains, but that’s why we spent much less energy than we expected in December and January. And that, for our energy-inefficient real estate sector, was a true gift from heaven. The energy crisis, which affected the entire world, was also a kind of gift because it scared us and forced us to face the fact that the buildings in which we live and work are not ready for the challenges of the new age. And that we must act quickly to prepare for the next winter with less fear and loss, becoming more energy stable and safer.
This is the general conclusion of the first REMHUB conference, which was organized by our company, West Media World, and held on November 30 in Belgrade. Our real estate sector, as was heard at the conference, is at a rather low level of energy efficiency, primarily in older residential buildings, which, on average, waste a third of the energy they receive. The energy renovation of the existing building stock will be the biggest challenge for the whole society, not so much in the financial sense, because there is money for investments in improving energy efficiency, but in the sense that we collectively have to change our attitude towards the way we obtain and use energy. The direction we need to go is already visible in the commercial real estate sector, since almost all new office buildings in our market are built in accordance with green building and energy efficiency standards. This trend is expected to be followed more by investors who build residential buildings, which necessitate a higher
THE JOYS OF WINTER
level of energy awareness among customers, but also a legal framework that will obligate and motivate developers to raise the energy level of their future projects.
Energy efficiency and green construction will be priorities for the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure in the coming period. As Minister Goran Vesić confirmed in an interview for our magazine, the Ministry will submit a set of laws to the National Assembly for adoption in the spring with the aim of accelerating procedures in the construction industry, encouraging green construction, and improving energy efficiency, but also preventing the arrogance of investors. Despite a certain decline recorded last year, the construction industry is still one of the biggest drivers of the domestic economy, and every dinar invested triples in the gross domestic product, the minister pointed out. Serbia’s construction industry grew by 100 percent between 2017 and 2021, with the 1.4 billion euros achieved in 2022 representing by far the highest value among Western Balkan countries.
So, we have all the elements for further growth in this sector, and according to our interlocutors in this issue, we also have enough responsibility, ideas, knowledge, and even funds to really turn the course of the construction industry in the direction of sustainability. If so, next winter we can really enjoy the snow.
NEW OFFICE BUILDINGS IN THE BELGRADE MARKET
Belgrade’s office space market recorded a noticeable expansion last year, and given the numerous launched and announced projects, this trend will continue in 2023.
Last year saw the completion of the Skyline AFI Tower, a 31-story office building with LEED Gold certification and a spectacular view of the city. This facility will offer 31,000 m2 of new office space. GTC X, the new office building of the GTC company, opened its doors to its first tenants last year, offering 17,700 m2 of prime office space in Block 41 in New Belgrade. Like all previous GTC Group projects, GTC X was designed and built in accordance with the green standards of the LEED Gold certificate. The first of the two buildings of the Bridge Plaza office complex, totaling 16,000 m2, was completed in New Belgrade’s Block 43. K3, the first building of the future Green Escape business complex in New Belgrade, was also completed last year, adding 14,000 m2 of office space to the Belgrade market.
During this year, work continues on several projects, both in the city center and in New Belgrade. Granit Invest is completing the construction of Revolucija, a new eight-story office building of class A, while AFI Group continues the construction of another phase of the Airport City project as well as the AFI Zmaj office complex on the E-75 highway. This year, the reconstruction of the BIGZ building is expected to be completed, which will be transformed into a multifunctional office space of A class, while IMEL announced the development of the K2 project, within the Green Escape complex, with additional office space. The construction of the residential and business complex Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade in New Belgrade is underway, offering office space according to the highest standards.
All these and other projects should expand the offer of office space in Belgrade by a total of 200,000 m2 by the end of the year.
PUPIN’S PALACE NEW BELGRADE: THE NEW RESIDENTIAL AND BUSINESS CENTER OF THE CAPITAL
The successor to the impressive Pupin’s Palace in Novi Sad, the Galens Invest residential and business complex, which is being built in New Belgrade, will push the boundaries of comfort and quality of life and work in the capital
Text and photo: GALENS INVEST
Thanks to its road infrastructure, terrain, and the organization of the settlement itself, New Belgrade has become not only the center of the most important business events but also an extremely desirable place for the life of a modern family. Being one of the most developed municipalities in the region, both architecturally and in terms of eventful facilities, it is suitable for all those who strive for a dynamic, fulfilling, and active life in the capital, while the abundance of green areas and parks will contribute to a feeling of peace and connection with nature.
It is this city municipality that will become richer for the new residential and business center, which will push the boundaries of comfort and quality of life and work in the capital. We are talking about the Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade, the successor to the impressive Pupin’s Palace in Novi Sad.
PREMIUM QUALITY AND RECOGNIZABLE CONCEPT
The Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade is an ideal combination of premium quality materialization and cutting-edge technology, designed to meet all of the
needs of a modern way of living and working.The attractive appearance and modern design of this facility greatly contribute to its functionality and maximum use of space and location. The structure of the complex itself is defined by one facility, which, in its basis, forms a free, semi-open form, divided into two phases. Two intra-block ambient units stand out. Reduced in its shape and design, the facade is extremely calm and balanced. The building recedes in a cascade in parts, and its number of floors varies. By receding the floors, the insolation of the entire block is additionally increased, and the central part of the atrium is opened up for the view and sunlight of both the building and the interior free areas. The interior of the Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade complex will be refined with an internal park—an atrium—filled with greenery, space, and props for games, courts, benches, tables, and other facilities intended for a comfortable and pleasant stay in the open air.
In addition to the planned space for entertainment and leisure, the condominium concept is distinguished by a variety of other eventful amenities that will enhance life in the capital’s urban core. The investor of the project, Galens Invest, as it had been implemented in its previous practice, paid exceptional attention to the safety, needs, and quality of life of the users; hence, a spacious underground garage with more than 1,000 parking spaces was designed as part of the facility itself. In addition to parking spaces, the complex will also include premises for various purposes, including hospitality premises, sports centers, markets, playrooms for children, and other activities that will enrich and improve the lives and free time of the users of the Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade. When we talk about security, another operating principle of Galens Invest facilities is twenty-four-hour security and controlled access to the complex, which will significantly contribute to the feeling of security and peace in one’s family home or business space.
BUSINESS CENTER OF NEW BELGRADE
An ideal business environment, which includes proximity to some of the largest business parks, such as Airport City, proximity to the highway and excellent connections with other parts of the city, makes the Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade the optimal choice for business space. The business part of the facility will be built and arranged according to the highest international standards, in the service of employee satisfaction and motivation. Such a concept of work will satisfy the needs of modern successful companies, which take care of their image, working conditions, and business environment. In addition to the exceptional quality of construction and the most modern architectural solutions, the business space of the 21st century also requires the availability of external contents, which also significantly affect the business climate. Parking spaces, as well as space for exercise, entertainment, and relaxation, will give a completely new dimension to everyday commutes.
PUPIN’S PALACE NEW BELGRADE IS A PROJECT OF THE NEW AGE. THANKS TO ITS EXCEPTIONAL LOCATION, TOP-NOTCH FACILITIES, AND RECOGNIZABLE QUALITY OF CONSTRUCTION, IT WILL BECOME A FAVORITE PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK IN AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT
LIFE IN AN ATTRACTIVE PART OF THE CAPITAL
Apart from the great business potential, the Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade offers a comfortable and functional living space, intended for all those who strive for a meaningful and quality life in an attractive and dynamic part of the capital. Residential buildings of the most modern materialization and top-quality construction, combined with the facilities necessary for a harmonious and well-organized family life, will create a very desirable and high-quality environment for living in the city. The tenants’ park, an atrium with a playground and park equipment for children to socialize, allows them to stay safely in the open space while their parents can enjoy their leisure, while controlled access to the complex and constantly present security will raise the feeling of safety to an even higher level.
Pupin’s Palace New Belgrade is a project of the new era that, thanks to its exceptional location, top-notch facilities, and recognizable quality of construction, will become a favorite place to live and work in an urban environment. You can get more information about the contents of the complex, its capacities, and its construction plan by calling the following phone numbers:: +381 64 89 55 699 and +381 64 89 55 711.
THE BEOBANKA BUILDING IN ZELENI VENAC TO BECOME BRANKO’S BUSINESS CENTER
The former Beobanka building in Zeleni venac will be transformed into Branko’s Business Center in a year and a half after receiving a building permit. Located at one of the busiest traffic junctions in Belgrade, the old 14-story building will become a modern office building designed in accordance with green building standards through reconstruction, adaptation, and rehabilitation.
The EUR 20 million investment is led by a Novi Sad company owned by Astoria Properties, which two years ago bought from Stattwerk a 14-story building of 10,500 square meters on the corner of Carica Milica and Brankova streets, of which 8,000 square meters will be rented out when the building is remodeled.
The conceptual design of Branko’s Business Center was signed by the Belgrade studio Folić architects in reference to the work of Milica Šterić, who received the Sedmojulska Architecture Award for this building in 1961.
ACCOR TO OPEN A SWISSÔTEL KOPAONIK BY THE END OF 2024
Accor, one of the world’s leading hotel groups, is expanding its portfolio of premium brands in Southeast Europe by signing an agreement to open Swissôtel Kopaonik in Serbia. In partnership with the company KOP2020 doo, the hotel will welcome its first guests for the winter season 2024–2025. According to Accor, the newly built facility will have 175 rooms and suites, a variety of restaurants, a cigar bar, a spa and wellness area, a conference area, and a ski room. The facility will be located in the very center of Kopaonik, next to the ski center, and within walking distance of the cable car. Accor is the world’s leading hospitality group that includes more than 5,300 properties and 10,000 hospitality facilities in 110 countries.
THE FIRST LUXURY CONDO HOTEL IN SERBIA
Invest in the most visited mountain in Serbia. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for developers and wellknown hotel and franchise international groups. Quick return on investment 5 to 9 years.
Modeled after the Alpine luxury “chalet” with its attractive and artistically shaped, refined design and an emphasis on warmth and comfort, the Zlatiborski Car belongs to a small group of investment facilities “for all time” with the category of 5 stars.
• In the heart of Zlatibor, just 500 m from the center and the lake, in a quiet area known as Zlatiborsko Dedinje, surrounded by pines and birches
• Guaranteed unobstructed and extraordinary views of the surrounding landscapes from each apartment (construction nearby is not possible)
• The design and aesthetics of the object are harmonized with the environment and in balance with the surrounding nature
• 3,600 m2 of net apartment space, over 1,500 m2 of commercial space, 700 m2 of spa and wellness space, an indoor pool, a reception area, a restaurant, a lounge, a conference room, and meeting rooms
• A restaurant at the top with a spectacular view
• Ideal for vacation and coworking
• Superior construction, design, and equipment of the world’s most famous brands
• The most modern ecological materials and technologically advanced smart systems for remote control while meeting the highest standards of energy efficiency.
For more details, contact us at:
(Mobil/Viber/WhatsApp) · www.zlatiborskicar.rs
INVESTMENTS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY MUST NOT STOP
In the spring, we are expecting a whole set of laws that the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure will submit to the National Assembly for adoption, with the aim of speeding up procedures in the construction industry, encouraging green construction, and preventing the arrogance of investors, announced Goran Vesić, the Minister of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, in an interview for our magazineBy: GORDANA KNEŽEVIĆ MONAŠEVIĆ PREDRAG MITIĆ
In previous years, the construction industry was one of the engines of the development of the domestic economy. In the period from 2017 to 2021, the construction industry in Serbia grew from 2.5 billion euros to around five billion euros, which is a growth of 100 percent, and this is data that few countries can boast of. The estimated fall in the value of construction works at the annual level of 10 percent for last year will not greatly reduce the overall results because permits were issued for large infrastructure projects, says the Minister of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, Goran Vesić in an interview for our magazine. We also discussed the ministry’s strategy and plans to improve the construction industry in the coming period, increase energy efficiency in the real estate sector, encourage green construction, and continue extensive projects for the further development of road and railway infrastructure.
The construction industry is one of the most dynamic sectors of our economy, and in the three months since you have been a minister, one gets the impression that you haven’t had a single day off. You have been on the field every day and have already announced numerous new laws and measures. What will be the first change that the Ministry will insist on in the construction sector?
— Back when I took over the post of minister a few months ago, I said that I would work with the construction industry because the participation of that sector in our GDP is significant, and every dime invested in the construction industry is multiplied three times in the GDP. It is necessary to maintain and improve the construction industry in these times of crisis, when almost all countries stop investing. That is why, at the very beginning of my mandate, I held a meeting with representatives of construction companies and told them that I would fight for the construction industry, that I am always ready to hear their problems, and that they should see the Ministry as a partner for cooperation, for mutual benefit. We should work together towards building the country, ensuring that construction companies are doing well, with higher salaries for employees, and that the construction department is constantly developing. Among the changes I will insist on are amendments to the Law on Construction, the abolition of the conversion fee, a shorter and more transparent procedure for obtaining building permits, and general improvements to the construction industry.
In recent years, the construction industry in Serbia has seen a noticeable expansion and has been one of the main engines of GDP growth. What are the results in 2022, especially in light of the global crisis that has affected this sector in various ways?
— In previous years, the construction industry was indeed one of the engines of the development of the domestic econ-
omy. Between 2017 and 2021, the construction industry in Serbia increased from 2.5 billion euros to around five billion euros, a 100 percent increase. Few countries can claim these results, and this shows how important the construction industry sector is for the overall economic progress of Serbia. At almost every corner, citizens could see how much construction was going on.
We do not yet have precise data for last year, but we estimate that the construction industry will drop by 10 percent as a result of the impact of the crisis on the private sector. Despite the fall in the value of construction works at the annual level of 10 percent, their value in 2022 will be higher than those recorded in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 because permits for large infrastructure facilities were issued in 2021.
The reasons for the decline in the construction sector, which is happening in almost all European countries, are multiple. First, because of the war, there are fewer investments, and investors are more conservative. Then, due to the increase in the price of construction materials as well as en-
ergy, the price per square meter increased, and at the same time, housing loans became more expensive, so that they were more difficult to obtain. One of the problems in Serbia was the lack of labor, although in 2022, more than 35,000 foreign workers were contracted. Unfortunately, some local governments have completely failed when it comes to issuing building permits. The city of Belgrade, for example, fell by around 25 percent in the third quarter. But all this does not mean that we cannot change things when it comes to the construction sector, so we will take a whole series of measures to change the situation, from the liberalization of labor legislation to amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction to make procedures faster and more transparent. In the first three quarters of last year, the construction industry accounted for 5.21 percent of our GDP, and in that period it generated 1.4 billion euros, which is by far the highest value in the countries of the Western Balkans since the next country is Albania, with 830 million euros. Compared to the countries of the European Union, Serbia belongs to the group of countries where the construction industry plays a significant role in the creation of GDP. The average net salary per employee in construction in Serbia in 2022 increased by 12.1 percent compared to 2021, and the average salary in November last year was 64,521 dinars. The average net salary in the construction sector is one of the highest compared to other countries in the region.
It should also be noted that we have the same level of in-
EVERY DIME INVESTED IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IS THREE TIMES MULTIPLIED IN THE GDP
vestment in government projects, whereas private construction has a more difficult time deciding on investments because no one knew what would happen next with the euro or the availability of energy sources.
You held one of your first meetings as a minister with representatives of construction companies, and you promised that this would be a regular practice. Which issues, according to them, are now having the greatest impact on the construction sector and pose the greatest threat to their companies?
— It was important for me to speak directly with representatives of the construction industry and hear what is bothering them. The state will assist as much as possible because it is critical that the country continue to be built and that construction companies thrive. In this way, we can ensure and maintain the overall economic progress and growth that Serbia has been recording for the last few years. However, since the economy is the most sensitive to all challenges on a global level, all disruptions in the world inevitably affect the domestic economy as well. Our construction industry is also bearing the consequences of the war in Ukraine because there has been a disruption in the construction materials industry, prices, transport... These are the
problems that are bothering them the most at the moment: the supply of materials and their value. I told them then that in the coming period we would also discuss the subject of conversion, the abolition of compensation, and the problems they face in that area.
You announced amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction as one of the priorities. You also stated that building permits would be issued more quickly, but that investors would face increased obligations. What would these changes include, and when could they be implemented?
— Amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction will certainly be among the priorities, because they should introduce greater transparency in that area, speed up procedures in construction, encourage green construction, but also improve the work of the Cadastre.
Among the most important provisions in the proposed law amendments will be the requirement for all investors to submit a report on the condition of the roads surrounding the construction site as well as a financial guarantee prior to the start of the works, so that the local government can be compensated for any damages if the investor leaves the streets in poor condition and how their repair would not be financed from the budget, that is, with the money of all citizens who are not to blame. Investors will also have the obligation, when obtaining a use permit, to attach proof of the movement of construction waste and that it has been handed over to the operator in order to prevent the emergence of wild landfills throughout the country. They will also have to get an insurance policy against damage to third parties, the value of which will depend on the location, so that citizens can be compensated for any damage caused by negligent construction. The idea is to introduce a legal obligation for every third parking space in new buildings to have an electric charger.
The current Law on Planning and Construction is good, but it is time to adapt to the new circumstances to make it even more efficient. Thus, the location conditions will no longer be issued on paper but via the e-space system, and the obligation of all public office holders will be to permanently update the conditions in the e-space with very clear deadlines. We will also propose that in the future all new-
100 % WAS THE GROWTH OF THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN SERBIA BETWEEN 2017 AND 2021President Aleksandar Vučić and Goran Vesić in Stepanovićevo on the occasion of a tour of works on the railway Novi Sad-Subotica
ly built state buildings have a green certification, and we are thinking about a must-have green certification for all buildings over 10,000 m2, as well as introducing incentives for those whose buildings are certified. For example, the first building in Serbia with a green certificate was built a decade ago, in 2013, and in September 2022, there were 110 of them. This indicates that there is a market for such facilities. Also among the important regulations is the adoption of the Law on Infrastructure Maintenance, which will enable the inventorying of state infrastructure and its appropriate maintenance. If we knew the condition of state assets, less money would be spent on reconstruction, and some accidents could be prevented.
In the spring, we are expecting a whole set of laws that the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure will submit to the National Assembly for adoption.
Energy efficiency is a priority in the real estate sector this year, and by all accounts, it will be even more so in the future. One of the ways to improve energy efficiency is to promote green construction. You recently announced the possibility of introducing incentives for investors who build green buildings. What incentives are we talking about?
— The Republic of Serbia has a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the rationalization of energy use and the general improvement of energy efficiency as one of its strategic goals in the field of energy consumption. The Government of Serbia, at the proposal of the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, i.e., the Sector for Housing and Architectural Policy, Communal Activities, and Energy Efficiency, in February of last year adopted the long-term strategy to encourage investment in the renovation of the national building fund of the Republic of Serbia until 2050. It is a strategic document that, among other things, envisages the construction of new buildings according to the Nearly Zero Energy Building level and above. One of the measures is also a non-financial regulatory and incentive measure, referring to the implementation of voluntary certification systems, such as in green construction. This measure, in fact, includes incentives for voluntary certification of ecological, green, and sustainable buildings, which not only develops awareness of this type of construction and its competitiveness on the market but also encourages the further development and application of new technologies (for example, special certificates, public
By amending the Law on Planning and Construction, we introduce the obligation that all public buildings, as well as buildings with a gross area of over 10.000 m2, must have a green construction certificate, as well as the obligation of local governments to give investors in such buildings a 10 percent discount on the payment of construction contributions. Also, in addition to establishing clear criteria by which buildings would be certified as green, it is necessary to foresee and provide financial incentives that encourage such a construction concept, taking into account that a higher standard of construction implies a higher investment. Construction should also take great care of resources, biodiversity, sustainability, and the reduction of negative impacts on climate change, especially with the introduction of green standards.
Elaboration and implementation of these measures, which are defined by the strategy, will be possi-
IN THE FIRST THREE QUARTERS OF LAST YEAR, THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PARTICIPATED IN THE DOMESTIC GDP WITH 5.21 PERCENT, AND IN THAT PERIOD IT EARNED 1.4 BILLION EUROS, WHICH IS BY FAR THE HIGHEST VALUE IN THE WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIESGoran Vesić on the Novi Beograd-Surčin highway section
ble after the creation of the action plan for its implementation, and I expect that in the next few months we will receive that document. Our Department for Energy Efficiency is actively working on its preparation. In January, a public call for the engagement of experts who will provide professional support to the Ministry in the preparation of that document was completed, and the start is planned after the official signing of the contract on their engagement.
Renovation of the existing housing fund is the biggest challenge since old buildings consume the most energy, and it is very difficult to make tenants agree on a joint investment in the building. Is there a way to approach this problem more strategically in the future?
— Buildings consume 36% of energy and emit 39% of carbon dioxide, according to data. This is exactly why the rehabilitation of the existing housing stock is a real challenge. One of the ideas is to create a special fund to help owners of apartments in buildings built in the second half of the last century renovate them so that they can get a green certificate. It does not require large investments, and it is very important because it saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Renovation of buildings also brings other benefits, such as social and health aspects, the reduction of construction land, and the preservation of agricultural land. In addition, the economy is also boosted through the creation of new jobs in the construction industry.
As one of the measures, the strategy defined the development of the Program for the renovation of multi-family buildings. This is one of the steps in achieving the goal: renovation of existing single-family buildings to the energy-efficient level, multi-family buildings to the enhanced energy-efficient level, and commercial buildings to the cost-optimal level. The development of this measure should include issues related to joint investments in the energy renovation of buildings, that is, the development of a sustainable model for the participation of housing communities in energy renovation.
We also need to raise citizens’ awareness of energy savings in residential buildings and ensure that all buildings, commercial and public, are energy efficient.
European countries offer us various examples of how the construction and real estate sectors can be greener, more sustainable, and more energy efficient—mainly through laws that oblige inves-
tors to have new office buildings with green roofs or solar panels, to apply for green certificates, to use recycled building materials, etc. What could we learn from these European good practices?
— The building renovation strategy defines a “subgoal” within the framework of one special goal, which is the climate-neutral principle of building construction: the formation of a legislative framework that enables the dynamic change of regulations, laws, technical standards, as well as planning documents, in order to encourage action in the field of low-carbon buildings, in accordance with Serbia’s international obligations, for which a number of measures have been determined and which will be elaborated through the creation of an action plan for the implementation of the strategy. Given that this is a multi-sectoral and multi-ministerial issue, it is necessary to form a working group that will be more active in solving this very important topic.
The large influx of citizens from Russia and Ukraine influenced a dramatic jump in real estate rental prices in Serbia, especially in Belgrade, which caused a major disruption in the real estate market. Rent prices have risen so much that local tenants cannot af-
AMENDEMENTS TO THE PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION LAW WILL INTRODUCE THE OBLIGATION THAT ALL PUBLIC BUILDINGS, AS WELL AS BUILDINGS WITH A GROSS AREA OF OVER 10,000 M2, MUST HAVE A GREEN CERTIFICATE
ford them with their incomes, and the proposal that the state should intervene with some measures is being mentioned more and more.
It is an honor for our country that the citizens of Ukraine and Russia feel at home here and that they can feel that they are welcome. We sympathize with Ukrainian citizens who have had to flee their homes because of bombs and fear for their lives. We offer them every kind of hospitality. The government is aware of the problem with the increase in rent prices, and there were several meetings where it was discussed.
From the state budget for 2023, 288 billion dinars, or 2.5 billion euros, have been allocated to the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, which is 40 billion dinars more than in 2022. What part of this money will be directed to the further construction of road infrastructure, and what will be the priority in that sector in 2023? — Serbia is one of the few countries that, despite the crisis, has allocated as much as 40 billion dinars more in the MCTI budget, which means that we are very serious about completing all planned projects.
This year, in March, the 18-kilometer section of the Moravian Corridor from Pojate to Makrešane will be completed, and by the end of September, the 28-kilometer section to Koševo, above Kruševac. Other sections are also under construction, up to Adran and between Čačak and Kraljevo. A part of the bypass in Kraguje -
vac, the road towards Mrčajevci and the connection with the Moravian Corridor are under contract. In March, the Surčin-Novi Beograd section, which is eight kilometers long and represents the closest connection of that part of the city to the Miloš Veliki highway, will be opened to traffic. In June, the bypass around Belgrade, to Bubanj potok, will be opened to traffic, which we will continue to build, along with a road-railway bridge over the Danube, near Ada Huja, to Pančevo. The high-speed Iverak-Lajkovac highway, which will connect Valjevo with the Miloš Veliki highway, is also being completed. By the end of the year, the section from Pakovraće to Požega will be completed, and then it will take just one hour and 20 minutes to get from Belgrade to Požega. The section Ruma-Šabac, as part of the high-speed road Ruma-Šabac-Loznica, is under construction and will be completed by August or the beginning of September. In addition, we expect that the works on the Kuzmin-Sremska Rača section, with the bridge over the Sava, towards Republika Srpska, will be completed this year. We also work on high-speed roads in the east, from the Požarevac highway and further to Veliko Gradište, Golubac. The Požarevac-Golubac section, 70 kilometers long, is being worked on without interruption, and the design of the Danube main road will continue since a tender for the design of that part has been announced.
Work is being carried out on the Niš-Merdare highway, on the section from Niš to Pločnik,
35,000 FOREIGN WORKERS WERE ENGAGED ON SERBIAN CONSTRUCTION SITES IN 2022Goran Vesić at Nikola Tesla Airport
which is 33 kilometers long. We also anticipate signing a contract this year for the construction of a high-speed road between Sombor, i.e. Bački breg and Kikinda, as well as Belgrade and Zrenjanin. We will also build a new expressway, Novi Pazar-Kraljevo, 103 kilometers long. Work on the construction of the Fruškogorski Corridor is ongoing.
We want to network Serbia, not only from north to east but also from north to south, so that a large number of cities and municipali-
the continuation of the electrification of the railways, but also the further construction of the high-speed railway to Subotica as well as the section to Niš?
— The railroads and railway infrastructure have been in poor condition for decades. No investment was made in railway infrastructure or in new trains. Even when we had secured money for the reconstruction of the railways, for reasons unclear to me, it was delayed for several years. I’m talking about the reconstruction of the Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway line, where, unfortunately, we recently had an accident with a train derailment. The contractor was chosen last year, and the reconstruction of the railway will begin in April. We must invest in railroads, both building and restoring them, because railroad transportation is becoming increasingly important as it is more environmentally friendly.
Serbia can play a significant role in this segment because, thanks to high-speed railways and intermodal terminals, one of which we are constructing in Batajnica and the other in Makiš, it will become an important logistics center in this part of Europe, resulting in increased traffic of goods, the majority of which will be transported by rail.
ties are connected by high-speed roads or highways. Every highway, every expressway, means new investments, factories, and thus more jobs and a better life for citizens. As the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, said, with all the projects started in the last 10 years, by the end of 2023, as many roads will be built as were built during the time of Josip Broz Tito, Slobodan Milošević and DOS together.
You recently stated that the next decade will see significant investments in railroads. What is the Ministry’s plan for the next year when it comes to the procurement of new trains,
There are about 3,400 kilometers of railways in Serbia, of which slightly less than 1,300 kilometers are electrified, which is about a third. The average age of the electrical infrastructure in Serbia is about 45 years. Railway modernization projects in Serbia include the reconstruction of the electrotechnical infrastructure on electrified railway lines as well as the electrification of around 450 kilometers of railways that have not been electrified until now. The most significant project is the modernization and electrification of the Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway, which was built in 1886–1887 and is the only section on the entire European international railway Corridor 10 that is single-track and non-electrified. The 108-kilometer-long railway reconstruction project includes the reconstruction, modernization, and electrification of the existing Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway as well as the construction of a new, single-track, electrified bypass railway around Niš with a length of about 22 kilometers. In this way, we will create the conditions for greater transit rail traffic through Serbia and solve the issue of the Niš railway junction and traffic in this city. 134 million euros were provided with a loan from the
ONE OF THE IDEAS IS TO CREATE A SPECIAL FUND TO ASSIST THE OWNERS OF APARTMENTS IN BUILDINGS BUILT IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE LAST CENTURY IN RENOVATING THEM IN ORDER TO GET A GREEN CERTIFICATEMinister on the Novi Beograd-Surčin highway section
European Investment Bank, while 61.24 million euros came from the Serbian budget, and 73.04 million euros were provided in the form of a donation from the Investment Framework for the Western Balkans (WBIF). Although this project has been talked about for decades, the state for the first time in 2018 provided the means to realize it, and upon completion, traffic bottlenecks between Serbia and Bulgaria will be removed, the quality of travel will be increased, travel time will decrease, and trains will no longer pass through the center Niš.
In addition, the plan is to reconstruct and electrify the Stalać-Kraljevo-Rudnica railway(149 km), then Vršac-Sombor (52 km), as well as Pančevo Glavna-Vršac (75 km). On the 20-kilometer-long electrified Batajnica-Ostružnica single-track railway, the construction and electrification of the second track is planned, while as part of the bypass around Belgrade (sector C), we will also build a new, 29-kilometer electrified section Beli Potok-Vinča-Pančevo, with a road-railway bridge over Vinča. The strategic plans also include the construction of a new, electrified line, Zemun Polje–Nikola Tesla Airport–National Stadium (center of Obrenovac), with a length of 19 kilometers, and the preparation of this project is underway.
Soon we expect the signing of a contract with the European Union on the start of work on the construction of the Belgrade-Niš high-speed railway, which should be completed in 2028. Also, the restoration of the Bar railway through Serbia, from Valjevo to Vrbnica, will follow.
All these investments in infrastructure will certainly be accompanied by the purchase of new trains.
The Novi Sad-Subotica railway is 108 kilometers long, and it is the third section of the railway for high speeds of 200 km/h through Serbia, from Belgrade to the state border with Hungary. The goal is to shorten the deadline for its completion as much as possible, by the end of 2024, while, according to the announcements of the Hungarian partners, the section from the border to Budapest will be completed by the end of 2025. A total of 58 new projects will be built on the Novi Sad-Subotica route: 30 overpasses, 13 underpasses, 5 galleries, as well as two pedestrian and two bicycle underpasses and support structures next to the gallery. In addition, two viaducts will be built: the most difficult and most complex in Vrbas with a length of 1,465 meters, as well as a viaduct in Mali Idjoš with a length of 500 m. Four bridge structures will also be built on the route over the Danube-Tisa-Danube canal. Everything will be done in accordance with European interoperability standards; the railway will be electrified and equipped with modern signal-safety and telecommunication devices. There will be no road crossings on the Belgrade-Novi Sad-Suboticastate border with Hungary. Trains will cover this entire route in one hour and 15 minutes, and from Novi Sad to Subotica in 42 minutes.
FROM BELGRADE TO SUBOTICA IN ONE HOUR AND 15 MINUTES BY FAST TRAINPhoto: Aleksandar MIlutinović
WE MUST INVEST IN RAILROADS, BOTH BUILDING AND RESTORING THEM, BECAUSE RAILROAD TRANSPORTATION IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT AS IT IS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
NEW DELTA PROJECTS: DELTA LAND AND DELTA DISTRICT
Delta Holding achieved record results in 2022: sales revenues reached 782.4 million euros, which is 30% more than in 2021. This was announced at the traditional annual press conference, where the business results of all sectors within the holding were presented.
The most important project in 2022 is the complete reconstruction of the Sava Center, worth 110 million euros. The opening of this facility is planned for November of this year, and the opening of the Blue Hall (Facility B), the largest multi-purpose hall in the region, is planned for the first half of 2024. The modernized Sava Center, with new contents and completely new installations and technological solutions, will have a congress area of 50,000 m2, a business zone of 24,000 m2, and a commercial zone of 10,000 m2.
Delta Real Estate plans to invest more than 620 million euros in real estate projects by 2027. With these investments, several large projects will be launched throughout Serbia: Delta Land and Delta District in Belgrade, the second phase of the Delta Planet shopping mall in Niš, as well as the development of the Delta Iron project, the first business district in Novi Sad.
Delta Real Estate plans to develop an attractive location on Despot Stefan Boulevard and, together with new projects by other investors, refine the face of that part of Belgrade. Just a few minutes from the city center, Delta Land will be built—a state-ofthe-art mixed-use concept that will consist of unique office, commercial, and residential spaces. This year, the plan is to start with the reconstruction of buildings that are part of the cultural heritage of the city.
The new concept for the Delta District project was also presented. Luxury hotel facilities and office premises will be built in an attractive location in New Belgrade, block 20.
INFLATION IS SLOWING DOWN, THE RISK OF A RECESSION IS SMALL
If inflation begins to fall, as is likely, central banks will ease monetary policy, leading to a more relaxed housing loan policy and increased activity by banks in that sector, according to Vladimir Vasić, Secretary General of the Association of Serbian Banks, in an interview with our magazineBy: GORDANA KNEŽEVIĆ MONAŠEVIĆ Photo: ASB
Inflation in December was at the same level as in November, 15.1 percent, which is interpreted as encouraging data and an indication of its gradual slowdown, especially in light of the fact that the EU, which is our largest partner, has already seen a slowdown. We asked Vladimir Vasić, Secretary General of the Association of Serbian Banks, what the expectations are for further inflation easing and falling, and how this will affect the economy, particularly the construction sector, which fell last year, as well as the policy of housing loans and other types of financing investments and citizens.
What does the inflation slowdown in our country depend on the most, and what could hinder the predictions that it will be returned to the planned framework by the end of the year?
— Most of the inflation that we have today in Serbia is of import origin, that is, it was transferred from the world through the jump in energy prices, the jump in food prices, and other effects. In this sense, the first condition for calming inflation is a change in the global situation, which we can say has begun to calm down. In the United States of America, the measures of the central bank have already produced effects, and the same is expected in the eurozone. The second condition is our national monetary policy, and we have seen that by raising the reference interest rate to 5.25%, the National Bank made money more expensive, causing borrowing to become more expensive. Based on these indicators, there is reason to believe in the NBS’s assessment of the slowdown in inflation in the first half of this year and its decline in the rest of the year.
Experts estimate that, due to high interest rates, a third of the world’s countries are threatened with recession, and some with a debt crisis. How much is Serbia at risk of recession?
— Serbia ended the year 2022 with a growth rate of 2.3%. In that year, we had a significant decline in agriculture due to the dry season, as well as an even greater decline in the construction sector due to an extremely large jump in the
prices of construction materials. If prices have calmed down on the construction material market and there are grounds to expect a better year in agricultural production, it seems that there are conditions for Serbia to achieve some, but not great, growth in 2023. After all, such are the estimates of relevant domestic and foreign authorities. The assessment that the crisis in the eurozone will not be as severe as was initially announced should also be added to this. Based on the above, it seems to us that the risk of a recession in Serbia is not high. Last year, Serbia had a record inflow from tourism, exports of ICT services, and foreign direct investment.
THE EURIBOR’S MOVEMENT IS DETERMINED BY THE SUCCESS OF THE FIGHT AGAINST INFLATION. IF IT STARTS TO FALL, THE CENTRAL BANK HAS NO REASON TO KEEP THE REFERENCE INTEREST RATES HIGH
The credit reports of the Association of Banks show that twice as few housing loans were approved last year as in 2021—slightly less than 7,000. How do you explain such a sharp decline? Were citizens more cautious, so they submitted fewer loan applications, or were banks more cautious, so they made it harder to get them approved?
— A few years ago, we had extremely strong construction activity, including the sale of residential space. The period with which we are now making comparisons represents the peak of activity in the real estate sector. In 2010, we had twice as few housing loans as today, and in 2015, a third less, so this decline you are talking about should also be viewed with cooler heads. It is also true that we had a period of rising interest rates after several years of negative euribor. Such an atmosphere does not motivate longterm investments. If inflation begins to fall, which is highly likely, central banks will ease monetary policy, leading to a more relaxed housing loan policy and increased bank activity in that sector.
Within the total real estate turnover, the percentage of payments from credit funds has not exceeded 15% for years, and in the third quarter of last year it was only 10%. The question is often heard: where does so much money come from in the market? And is it known approximately what percentage of that cash never goes through the banks?
— I must point out that we avoid giving ratings on any topic that is not based on the most accurate data available to us. Therefore, what can be said is that, according to data from the credit bureau for the mentioned period, there was an increase in the number of housing loans: as of December 31, 2021, there were 149,054 housing loans, and as of December 31, 2022, there were 156,016 housing loans. The loans also increased in terms of volume, from 546,752 billion dinars as of December 31, 2021, to 615,385 billion dinars as of December 31, 2022.
We can also point out that, through the analysis of certain processes in commercial banks, it was established that a significant portion of the purchase of real estate or other types of investment in the real estate sector is also made from the savings of citizens or from funds that the citizens acquired from the sale of real estate in which they live or inherited, or from realized profits. However, since we do not have precise data on this, we would not be able to comment on the volume of those funds in relation to the realized volumes of the total investment turnover in real estate.
On the other hand, your question is an excellent opportunity for me to emphasize that banks apply the relevant provisions of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in a very systematic manner in their daily operations. The banks’ application of that law is one of the basic, everyday activities that have had an impact on a significant number of work procedures, both for all other transactions and for these particular ones. Banks strictly ensure that legal obligations are respected in this segment as well. From a legal point of view, I must point out the fact that real estate investment transactions are allowed both in dinars and in foreign currency, but also that in both cases it is legally mandatory to make transactions through an account and never in cash. Also, the application of the relevant provisions of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism must be taken care of, controlled, and implemented by all other relevant obligees of the aforementioned law, including real estate brokers, payment institutions, electronic money insti-
tutions, attorneys, and notaries public, without whom the process of legally buying or investing in real estate should simply not be possible.
What are the projections for the euribor’s future movement, which has, after many years, dramatically raised the monthly repayment installments of house loans in euros? Are there any signs that some loan recipients may not be able to continue making mortgage payments due to rising interest rates and the cost of living?
— The euribor’s movement is determined by the success of the fight against inflation. If it starts to fall, the central bank has no reason to keep the reference interest rates high. There is already evidence that inflation is slowing, so there is reason to believe that it will begin to fall and thus return to the target range. There are no hints of difficult payments for now, as the share of non-performing loans is still at a record low level. As per individual loans, it is around 2.4%.
now be consumed rationally. There must be no waste of energy; on the contrary, energy savings are necessary. With green loans, banks strive to reduce the harmful impact on the environment and reduce energy consumption, but also to make our planet healthier for all.
For years, the banking sector of Serbia, independently, not only from its own sources but also from credit lines of the EBRD and various European funds, has been approving loans for corporate financing or retail loans at relatively favorable interest rates and for longer terms in order to have, as much as possible, an increase not only in the construction of energy-efficient residential buildings but also in the renovation and reconstruction of already built residential and office buildings. This primarily refers to the production of energy-efficient facades, the replacement of carpentry, the installation of solar panels, and the like. State and local governments are also active participants in this process because a certain amount of funds are allocated each year to citizens and corporations in the form of various subsidies and grants.
Banks’ green loan offerings include green housing loans and green car loans, in addition to green loans used to improve energy efficiency. With green housing loans, banks help create conditions for a healthier environment and support sustainable development. They are approved under slightly more favorable conditions for the purchase of energy-class A and B real estate, which is proven by the building’s energy passport and a clearly defined energy class.
The construction boom in Serbia, despite signs of a slight slowdown in recent months, is still going on. How much do investors use the project financing opportunities that most banks provide as a service?
— Some of the most important construction projects in Serbia are implemented through project financing, so this way of lending is by no means unknown in our market. Banks are ready to follow their clients in this way, but of course, it is necessary to meet certain criteria, which depend on each specific case.
Sustainable construction and energy efficiency will be the backbone of the transformation of the construction industry and the real estate sector in Serbia in the coming years. In this light, so-called “green loans” are being mentioned more and more often. What do the banks in Serbia currently offer investors and citizens when it comes to green financing?
— Today, it is difficult to imagine a socially responsible company that does not pay attention to climate change and the impact of its activities on the environment. That is why sustainable construction and energy efficiency are two of the strongest trends today, which are supported not only by the construction industry but also by citizens, local governments, cities, and the state itself.
Low energy prices are a thing of the past, and energy must
Green car loans are a real opportunity to start healthy changes in traffic by increasing the use of electric and hybrid vehicles and reducing the use of vehicles with internal combustion engines, which have a significantly higher consumption of fossil fuels and therefore a significantly higher emission of harmful gases.
In the public, it can be heard that the current exchange rate of the euro is unrealistic, but there are also comments that maintaining a strong dinar may not be the best tool in the fight against inflation. What are your thoughts on this? — A stable exchange rate of the domestic currency is one of the best things that has happened to the Serbian economy in a long time. Business predictability is one of the key elements in company planning; it is an indicator of stability and a positive signal to both domestic and foreign investors. It is difficult to imagine how the standard of living of citizens and the life of the majority of our population in general would look if, in the periods we have gone through, such as COVID, the post-pandemic crisis, and the crisis due to the conflict in Ukraine, they also had to fight with the unpredictable exchange rate of the dinar. I respect the opinion of those who talk about an unrealistic exchange rate, but I belong to the group of those who give credit to the National Bank of Serbia for the way it defended the exchange rate of the domestic currency, believing that it is in the interest of all of us.
A STABLE DOMESTIC CURRENCY HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO HAPPEN TO THE SERBIAN ECONOMY IN A LONG TIME
AIRPORT GARDEN: FOR THOSE FOR WHOM ONLY THE BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH
The prestigious location of the Airport Garden complex in New Belgrade offers quality infrastructure, numerous facilities required for everyday life, and easy connections to all key points in the city
Text and photos: AIRPORT GARDEN
Awell-known quote states that the three most important things for real estate are location, location, and – location!
Airport Garden has all three! This complex’s prestigious location in New Belgrade provides quality infrastructure and many contents and functionalities required for daily life, as well as easy and practical access to all key points in the city: proximity to the airport, business parks, large shopping centers, and two rivers, as well as access to all bridges and highways with wide boulevards.
The construction of the Airport Garden has begun and is being fully developed in accordance with an ambitious, dynamic plan with the highest standards of continuous quality control. The complex is conceived as an architecturally impressive, aesthetically attractive, and functionally superior residential complex with the right measure and offer of commercial facilities and premises. Professionally designed spaces and carefully selected premium-quality contents are a unique formula for a safe investment and a truly comfortable life, so this
top-quality property, at the moment, represents an ideal opportunity for a smart buy.
Modern and comfortable, Aiport Garden design is based on timeless, sophisticated formats of contemporary aesthetics with the use of equipment, details, and materials that make spaces for everyday living comfortable, warm, lively, and functional—including apartments, all common areas, entrance halls with counters, corridors, and the surroundings of the complex itself.
Apartments of various structures are modern and expertly designed spaces for daily life, allowing easy and practical organization of truly good living. They will feature a modern distribution of spaces, designed for furnishing, from studio apartments with an area of 33 m2 to large apartments with an area of more than 450 m2.
The building will have a ventilated facade made of precious coverings and dark aluminum carpentry with premium profiles, glass, and equipment, while, for maximum sound insulation, all partition walls will be built with blocks. Interior materials will be of the best quality and have a neutral aesthetic. The complex will have autonomous heating and cooling
24/7, regardless of the heating season. Wall-mounted air conditioning without radiators and air conditioners will provide superior noiseless comfort and a uniformly air-conditioned space, as well as maximizing the useful square footage.
A children’s park and pet care facilities are planned for the exterior, while the building will be managed by professional management.
Airport Garden, the pleasure of great living!
REAL ESTATE IS A PROFITABLE AND SAFE INVESTMENT IN SERBIA
Foreign investors no longer see Serbia as a curiosity but as a booming market with strong potential in the long term, in which investment in real estate construction projects occupies a significant place, with a legislative framework that continues to improve effectiveness of the administrative proceedings, says Miloš Petaković, Senior Associate at the Gecić Law officeBy: JOVANA NIKOLIĆ NEVENA MIKIĆ
Statistics and analyses show that in recent years, Serbia has been one of the most attractive investment destinations in Europe, with a record number of foreign direct investments year after year. To what extent do the laws keep pace with the current state and further development of the business environment, what are the main advantages of the market that make foreign companies choose to do business in Serbia, and why will investing in real estate and construction projects be particularly appealing to both domestic and foreign investors in the coming period – we asked Miloš Petaković, a Senior Associate in the Belgrade-based Gecić Law office, officially the best law firm in Southeast Europe, which provides its clients with a wide range of legal services and enables them global coverage in more than 110 countries.
Gecić Law was declared the best law firm in Southeast Europe in 2021, as chosen by “The Lawyer” magazine, and last year you made it to the finals in four categories, which no law firm in the region has achieved so far. How prestigious and important are these awards as a recommendation for clients who want to do business in Serbia and the region?
— What truly drives us is getting the job done most efficiently and effectively while adding meaningful value to our clients’ businesses by employing innovative solutions and building client relationships. However, we are always proud to see the fruits of the firm’s tremendous expansion over the past several years recognized this year in first-time nominations for our corporate and litigation teams. This recognition is incredibly satisfying as it comes from other lawyers – our European colleagues. To stand together with outstanding firms such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Bird & Bird demonstrates that the Gecić Law team can be proud of its achievements. Ultimately, the client-attorney relationship is based on trust, and awards are an excellent reflection. However, to maintain trusting client relationships, we must consistently deliver strong results, which is our primary focus.
According to your experience, what is the general legal climate for doing business in Serbia? And what makes us stand out as a favorable investment destination?
— Serbia’s legislative base is solid and manages to keep pace with the current state and further development of the business environment. There is an on-
going trend of digitalization in most aspects of doing business. This process is beneficial as it raises the efficiency and objectivity of the administration system in general. Foreign investors no longer see Serbia as a curiosity but as a booming market with strong potential in the long term. Serbia’s foreign direct investment profile testifies to this point: Serbia has consistently attracted record FDIs since 2018 and is ranked as one of the top investment hubs in Europe. In parallel, according to the Business-Friendly Cities Perception Index, Belgrade has scored number one as the city with the most significant economic potential for a second consecutive year.
These rankings are not surprising since Serbia has a lot to offer investors worldwide, such as high-quality labor, competitive operating costs, custom-free access to up to 1.3Bn consumers, and financial benefits and incentives. Serbia currently has 43 Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) in place with most countries across the region, the European Union, as well as with significant trade partners, including the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Russia, and China, which offers additional confidence in investments in the country.
What do you see as new trends in the world of real estate, and in what direction will the market change in the future?
— A trend that will continue to be in focus involves the implementation of ESG standards and energy sustainability. With ESG now playing a much more prominent role in how companies operate, investors are embedding ESG considerations into every stage of the property lifecycle, from due diligence to acquisitions and leasing to asset management. They aim to meet the demanding task of decreasing the industry’s current 40% share of total global emissions. Investors take this obligation seriously, which is why there is a rise in LEED and BREEAM certifications. Construction is one of the critical sectors for the development of the economy. By its very nature, the industry links directly with the local environment, from which it draws labor, raw materi-
DEMAND IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET REMAINS STRONG, WITH PRICES IN SERBIA INCREASING BY 23% IN THE LAST YEAR, AND THEY CONTINUE TO GROW DESPITE INFLATIONARY PRESSURES AND RISING INTEREST RATES
als, materials, products, and financing. Green construction recognizes the importance of these factors. It promotes the application of local resources to strengthen the domestic economy, employ and train the workforce, and create healthy competition in the domestic economy and for its professionals.
On the other hand, the overall energy crisis and sustainability goals will introduce more and more examples of application and development in renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, combining energy and construction projects. While energy-saving and net-zero are the new normal for new buildings, it will be interesting to see how the industry and government will deal with the energy efficiency of old buildings.
You are about to complete a guide to investing in real estate in Serbia, with all the legal and commercial aspects of such an investment. How can investors get this guide, and what will it include?
— The idea behind the real estate guide was to create a manual for both local and foreign businesses and new and experienced real estate investors. We aim to provide readers with a holistic approach that will include the necessary legal and commercial details on a long road from the decision-making process to investment, all aspects of construction, licensing, and contracts, to the utilization of constructed office space via sales and asset management. That is why we partnered with Novaston, one of the leading real estate firms in the region that specializes in asset and property management, to combine both the legal and commercial aspects of construction project management in Serbia. The guide itself will be promoted via a joint event for Novaston and Gecić Law and all information about the guide will be available to the public on our website. We hope this will be a steppingstone for other exciting projects in the field.
According to the data you have collected for this guide, what can we conclude? Is Serbia still the real estate hot spot of Europe and the Balkans, and why?
— Serbia has seen healthy economic growth in the past two years, primarily due to its macroeconomic and financial stability. The economic policy measures implemented during the pandemic reduced the effects on GDP in 2020. Demand in the real estate market remains strong, with prices in Serbia increasing by 23% in the last year, and they continue to grow despite inflationary pressures and rising interest rates. This trend is evident across geog-
raphies and real estate classes. In fact, since 2015, there has been a consistent growth of new residential units, with 28,874 apartments completed in 2021. In the office space sector, Belgrade surpassed 1.1 million square meters of gross leasable area on offer by mid-2022, while the retail supply grew to 575,000 sq m of gross leasable space. Overall, the average price of new construction projects in Serbia in the first half of 2022 presented an increase of 11.7% relative to the first half of 2021. The highest prices of new construction dwellings were recorded in Belgrade’s municipalities, where average prices in urban areas increased by 14.8% relative to the same period last year. Although under the threat of slowing down under the inflation hike burden and expected decrease in loan activity, there are no indicators that this trend will change in the short term.
More importantly, the guide will show that developing a construction project in Serbia is both commercially rational and safe under the legislative framework that continues to improve, benefiting the effectiveness of the administrative proceedings required in project development.
THE FIRST WAVE OF GREEN INVESTMENTS IN THE FUTURE
Just as we now realize that our buildings are not energy efficient, we will very soon come to a situation where the buildings that are being built now need to be reconstructed, in order to meet the sustainability requirements in accordance with the EU plans, with which we are complying, says Dragana
the Serbian Green Building Council
Although the number of green buildings compared to all the buildings built in Serbia is very small, the progressive increase in the number of buildings with green certificates is encouraging and represents a sure indicator that the initial wave of green construction has started and now it is necessary to maintain it, according to architect Dragana Korica, Executive Director of the Serbian Green Building Council (SrbGBC). In light of the line ministry’s announcement that green building will be encouraged by amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction, we talked with Dragan Korica about what our startingKorica, Director of By: ALEKSANDRA MIRKOVIĆ
points are, where Serbian construction has progressed in the field of sustainability, and whether money is always an issue or is it more important to raise awareness of the importance of this topic.
How do you assess the current situation in Serbia in terms of green building in the residential, office, and public real estate sectors?
— It is still too early to talk about qualification in the form of grades, especially in the housing sector, where the first initiatives of investors to implement some aspects of green building are just beginning to emerge. Nevertheless, those initiatives are to be commended because they show social awareness and responsibility and call for the same. I believe that this sector will very quickly recognize the importance of green building, primarily because putting money into such an investment is more profitable for the future. Just as foreign corporations in the domain of office, industrial, and public facilities have triggered the market in the direction of green building, so will future owners of residential real estate express demands that go beyond mere location and design. Minister Goran Vesić’s announcement that the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure will support green building will certainly contribute to that irreversible flywheel.
We are witnessing the momentum of the construction industry. To what extent are the standards of sustainable building present in that wave?
— Construction has always been a strong economic branch. If we only look at larger cities, it is indeed a matter of momentum, but it is a great pity that opportunities were missed to turn this construction into green at the same time. Just as we now realize that our buildings are not energy efficient, we will very soon come to a situation where the buildings that are being built now need to be reconstructed, in order to meet the sustainability requirements in accordance with the EU plans, with which we are complying, from decarbonization to the implementation of circular models, water savings... If we talk about the presence of green building at the level of built facilities, we are talking about per mille. If we talk about the number of green-certified facilities, we are certainly on a continuous upward trend. It is a sure indicator that the initial wave of green buildings has started, and now it is necessary to maintain them. For our sake and the sake of those who are yet to come.
The energy crisis, as a result of the war in Ukraine, is, unfortunately, another argument that points to the importance of the energy efficiency of buildings. Where do we stand in that field?
— The question is quite complex because it can be approached from different angles. If we look at it from the point of view of newly built buildings, which are obliged to comply with the regulation on energy efficiency, and if we consider only the energy related to the fulfillment of thermal comfort, we can talk about energy-efficient buildings. But the climate is changing. We need predictions and harmonization of regulations. If we look back to the period before 2012, when energy efficiency passports were introduced, and take into account the fact that individual households in Serbia spend three times more for heating than the European average, it is clear that these buildings are energy weak and that their energy rehabilitation is necessary.
It is good that there is a lot of talk about this topic; the media reports on a daily basis, and the state has launched incentive mechanisms. We will see if that is a sufficient motive or if a lot of it has to be even more simplified. For example, it is evident that in our country, carpentry, i.e., windows, are still most often changed on weekends, thereby avoiding certain administrative procedures, costs, or inspections. However, it is not ideal in Europe either. Even there, they are not satisfied with the energy renovation of buildings so far, if we are talking about the planned percentages, but the energy crisis will certainly accelerate this topic. We must not overlook the origin of the source of energy that goes to the functioning of the facilities, because it must be in accordance with the decarbonization to which everyone is committed. We must not lose that battle.
How to renovate energy-inefficient residential buildings?
— Buildings, before energy rehabilitation, should be evaluated from the point of view of their age, that is, the life cycle of the materials they are made of. The profession is more than eloquent and has the necessary knowledge of how to do the rehabilitation. Of course, you need to be aware that you have to turn to a professional. The Rulebook on Energy Efficiency exists, but the rulebook must be adapted to new needs over time. As far as I know, in 2018, the process of modernization and expansion to aspects of lighting, hot water, and cooling was initiated; now every household has air conditioning. This is exactly what we call a prediction. Now we need to design and construct buildings that will be in compliance with future climate conditions; green construction points to that.
Which new buildings of local investors would you single out as examples of good practice?
— Renowned local investors, who own buildings or rent them, not only follow the practice of green construction but also work on its improvement. It started with green roofs. Last year, a more massive installation of solar panels and electric chargers was evident, as part of an inevitable wave of green transition. I believe that we are facing a period when we will pay attention to water as a neglected resource.
There are plenty of examples, especially buildings of members of the Serbian Green Building Council, and I would not like to leave anyone out or single anyone out. The facilities are as green as how many green aspects were implemented, but certainly among them there are office buildings, such as Kula Ušće 2, Delta House, Sirius, NCR, the entire portfolio of Stop Shop facilities, Lidl and CTP distribution centers...
What will be the priority of the Green Building Council this year?
— The goal remains the same, but we will also work on adapting to some new forms of presenting green construction to the general public, in which you as a media can make a significant contribution. We are involved in two international HORAISON projects, and we believe that through them we will bring new information to the market. We are open to any cooperation that can contribute to a sustainable future, and we invite everyone who is interested in green construction to join us so that we can work together on its promotion.
NOW WE NEED TO DESIGN AND CONSTRUCT BUILDINGS THAT WILL BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH FUTURE CLIMATE CONDITIONS; GREEN CONSTRUCTION POINTS TO THATSTANDARDS
GENDER EQUALITY LEADS TO SUCCESS
Since its establishment, Delta Holding has made sure that the gender structure of employees is uniform in all sectors, which, according to Angelina Nekić, CEO of Delta Real Estate and vice president of Delta Holding, is in direct correlation with the financial results of a successful companyBy: JOVANA
Even when it was founded, in the nineties of the last century, Delta stood out on our market as a company where women had the opportunity to prove themselves in the highest management positions. Today, three decades later, Delta Holding is an example of a local company with highly developed ESG standards, among which gender equality stands out—not only as an exemplary business model but as one of the pillars of the success of the entire corporation. Proof of this is the record business results achieved by Delta Holding last year, with revenues of 782.4 million euros, 30% higher than in 2021. We spoke with Angelina Nekić, CEO of Delta Real Estate and vice president of Delta Holding, about why professionals shouldn’t be divided according to gender but only according to quality and the reality that women are taking over the real estate sector in our market.
From the beginning, Delta Holding made sure that everyone had an equal chance and that the gender structure of employees was uniform in all sectors. Is that still the case?
— We have four women and three men on the company’s Executive Board. It is a fact that the number of women in management positions is impressive, but we have also never divided professionals according to gender but only according to quality. I think that diverse teams make better decisions, which is directly correlated to the financial results of a successful company.
The industry you operate in is considered a “male” one, and the entire management team of Delta Real Estate is made up of women. Why are there so many women in a “man’s business”? And does that surprise business partners?
— It happened spontaneously that women took over leadership positions in our team. However, within the teams managed by my exceptional female colleagues, there are also
a large number of male colleagues who are responsible for every success. Many of them are recognized as experts in their work, and they enrich the team day by day with their knowledge and expertise. Behind the successful women at Delta Real Estate are some exceptional men, both at work and at home.
I would say that women in leadership positions cause more surprises abroad. Of course, the situation is different from country to country, but when visiting real estate events around the world, we cannot help but notice that the number of women in this industry is still at a low level. I am glad that the situation in our market is significantly different. In Serbia, they have already gotten used to us, and some of the business partners pointed out that they like it when they read only women’s names on our office doors.
Real estate is the fastest-growing industry branch, but this growth is accompanied by numerous challenges when it comes to plans and expectations. How much does a strong and professional team mean to you in this situation?
— It is always important to have a professional and strong
team, and the challenges are only there to remind us of their importance. Real teams are not built overnight, and we have been building a team for more than three decades. A certain part of the team consists of people who started their careers at Delta and later passed on the experience and knowledge to younger colleagues. Demanding projects bring challenges and more difficult tasks that clearly indicate the importance of a strong team. We embark on every new project with the message “If it were easy, someone else would do it,” and this further shows that we believe that we have gathered and developed the best personnel.
Research shows that women are better managers, especially in crisis situations, because they show more democracy and responsibility and rely on the team more than men. Do you agree with that?
— Partly because I’ve always had male coworkers and managers with these characteristics. Of course, for a high-quality gender-equal team in the company, it is important that men in all positions support their female colleagues in their progress. Realized and strong men know how to value and appreciate women without prejudice. In every company, it is necessary to build a relationship of mutual trust, collegiality, and respect for all employees, regardless of title and gender. A woman or a man in a leadership position is only someone who is first among equals.
You have been with Delta for more than two decades. You changed several positions and activities and practically grew with the company...
— From the very beginning, as a young financier, I followed the impressive growth of Delta. I had the opportunity to change several different industries and gain incredible experience without changing the company. I mastered my first
financial lessons within central control, and then, a few years later, real challenges followed in Delta Agrar. From privatization, property purchase, restructuring, and investment programs to participating in the establishment of the first modern orchards and farms and other adventures, we covered a lot of ground in a short time. Moving to Delta Real Estate, which was then opening the first shopping mall in Serbia and the largest residential complex, brought knowledge that was worth paying to get. Alongside more experienced colleagues, I had the opportunity to negotiate with foreign tenants, contractors, and representatives of banking groups. These were not only business lessons but also life lessons, and I grew and changed, just like Delta.
How much do you participate today in developing new Delta leaders and encouraging female colleagues to follow your path in the company?
— This year, the eleventh generation of young leaders arrived in Delta. Every year, this program attracts young, ambitious, and educated personnel, whom we help find their career path through mentoring. The Delta Real Estate team includes a large number of colleagues who have gone through this program, of whom I am very proud. I enjoy watching them grow into exceptional professionals.
There are also young colleagues with whom I have had the opportunity to work and who have continued their careers in one of the Delta system companies or outside our system. I follow their careers, I look forward to their successes, and I am very proud that I had the opportunity to influence their growth and development.
I believe that women managers should encourage their female colleagues not to be afraid of commitment and love for work, that it is possible to have both a career and a family, and that with knowledge and experience comes success.
XELLA SERBIA: ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS IS BUILT IN EVERY BLOCK
"We are aware of the fact that the construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of global CO2 emissions, and that is why our mission, as a world leader in the construction materials industry, is to raise the standards of the construction industry with our energy-efficient solutions and sustainable production processes," saysStevan Djukić, Country Sales Manager at Xella Serbia By: JOVANA NIKOLIĆ
Green, sustainable, and energy-efficient buildings, which are our only solution to respond to climate change, cannot be built without green building materials and products. On the local market, such innovative construction systems have been offered for many years by Xella, whose mission is to contribute to the transformation of the construction industry in the direction of sustainable building with its products, which can be fully recycled and can even absorb CO2. Stevan Djukić, Country Sales Manager at Xella Serbia, speaks with us about the benefits of ecological Xella products and systems, their use in modern construction, and social responsibility.
As the largest producer of aerated concrete and calcium silicate blocks, Xella is also a leader in the development of innovative and sustainable construction systems. How do your systems contribute to the decarbonization of the construction sector, and where can they be applied?
— Xella has been present on the Serbian market for more than 17 years. It is part of the international Xella Group, a company with a long tradition that represents the world leader in the construction industry.
We are aware of the fact that the construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of global CO2 emissions. Our mission is to change that and transform the image of the building materials industry in Serbia. With our energy-efficient solutions and production processes that save resources and reduce CO2, we want to show
an example of good practice as well as our commitment to the fight against climate change.
We are proud of the exceptional qualities of our products, which are fully recyclable and even absorb CO2. Our materials are based on natural mineral raw materials that are non-combustible, resistant to weather conditions, strong, and durable. They represent an ideal solution for the construction of energy-efficient buildings, according to the highest standards of modern and sustainable construction.
Which sustainable systems and products in your portfolio would you single out as the most advanced, and what are their advantages?
— At Xella, we consider sustainability an essential part of our corporate strategy and the way we see the future. In line with our vision, Xella products are made from energy-efficient and natural materials.
With its brands Ytong, Silka, and Multipor, the company fosters the sustainability of products throughout the entire life cycle, from raw materials and production processes to energy efficiency, which qualifies buildings built with Xella materials.
We especially single out Multipor, the first Xella brand without a carbon footprint. The pursuit of zero CO2 emissions illustrates our environmental awareness, which is deeply woven into all aspects of the company.
The range of Xella products is completed by Ytong and Silka blocks. Thanks to exceptional characteristics such as superior thermal and sound insulation, fire resistance (A1 non-flammability class), stability, and durability, our blocks represent a unique solution for construction.
All the listed brands are part of the unique Xella construction system, designed to provide the most optimal solution for the construction of all types of buildings in terms of energy savings, sound insulation, and air quality in the premises.
Are sustainable building systems more expensive than traditional ones, and how much are they currently in demand on our market?
— The construction of different types of buildings requires thorough planning. Every detail can make a significant difference in quality, costs, and construction timelines. In the long term, such facilities are incomparably more profitable. Therefore, investing in sustainable building systems should be seen as an investment, not an expense. When it comes to facade walls, it should be noted that this is one of the few positions that cannot be replaced later but only further improved. An inadequate choice of materials for the construction of facade walls can bring much higher costs. To achieve modern standards and long-term profitable buildings, modern materials and advanced construction techniques are required. Precisely for this reason, investors, designers, and contractors increasingly demand the application of proven and complete solutions for the construction of facade walls.
The application of the Xella system contributes to modern, future-oriented construction.
Modern Xella products and systems have found application in several very important projects in Serbia. Can you name some of them?
— Xella has offered numerous innovative solutions to the local market that has certainly raised the standards in the construction industry. The advantages of Xella products have been recognized by some of the largest investment companies in the country. Projects like Emerald Garden Residence, BW Metropolitan, BW Plot 21, Park 11, Cvijićeva Palace, Fruške Terme, Ada Mall, SC Promenada, SC Galerija, and many others attest to this.
In addition to your products that have a direct impact on sustainable and energy-efficient construction, your company has set itself very high ESG goals to reduce its environmental footprint in production and make your employees healthier and safer. What does your ESG strategy include for the coming years?
— As a manufacturer of ecological building and insulation materials, Xella puts climate and environment protection first. The company follows a clear strategy to reduce CO2 in the production process and continuously promotes awareness of a sustainable future.
Reducing CO2 emissions is a challenge, both for us at Xella and for the entire construction industry. With our production processes, which are acceptable for the environment, we strive to reduce the harmful effects of production to a minimum, following the highest ecological and social standards.
One of the most important goals of Xella in Serbia is to be socially responsible in all aspects of its business. That’s why, despite the extraordinary commercial success, sustainable construction, high product quality, and care for employees still remain Xella’s business priorities.
In 2020, the renowned sustainability rating agency Sustainalytics rated Xella Group as the best in the industry in terms of realizing ESG goals.
ALUMIL’S GREEN CULTURE
The ALUMIL company, a leader in the aluminum systems industry, has been operating according to the circular economy model and has been developing environmentally friendly products and systems for years. No less important in the business of this company is social responsibility, which is woven into their business strategy, mission, and corporate values. We spoke to Olivera Veljanovska, PR & Event Specialist at ALUMIL, about ALUMIL’s green culture and green ambassadors, caring for employees, as well as overall social well-being.at ALUMIL Photo: ALUMIL By: PETAR DOBROSAVLJEVIĆ
ALUMIL is a leading European company in the aluminum industry, but what sets it apart is the high level of social responsibility that is evident in all company activities. How important is social responsibility to your company, and how do you implement it?
— ALUMIL is a global company that implements social responsibility in all branches around the world. CSR is extremely important for ALUMIL, and that is why it is woven into our business strategy, mission, and company values, and most employees try to act
Caring for the planet Earth, protecting the environment, and spreading awareness of sustainable development are an important part of the corporate strategy that ALUMIL implements with its employees through numerous actions and initiatives, says Olivera Veljanovska, PR & Event Specialist
in accordance with it. We implement social responsibility through four pillars, which include caring for the environment, employees, society, and the market.
In addition to the fact that our production operates according to the circular economy model and that we develop environmentally friendly products and systems, we implement other strategically defined activities through defined pillars in order to create a healthier, more sustainable, and greener environment for us and future generations.
Our goal is to spread green culture through CSR education and participation in socially responsible initiatives, as well as to encourage others to participate in socially responsible actions in order to make the world a better place for all of us to live.
Caring for planet Earth and protecting nature is a particularly important component of your corporate green agenda. How do you carry out activities that involve taking care of the planet Earth?
— We are witnessing different challenges in the world, but what affects us all is the environmental crisis. Climate change, water pollution, and air pollution directly affect the human, animal, and plant life of planet Earth, which is our only home. That is why it is important to become aware of these crucial issues that we are facing, to take responsibility for the resulting situation, and to react in order to jointly create a sustainable and healthier environment.
ALUMIL carries out its green activities through a team of Green Ambassadors, made up of our company’s employees. On a voluntary basis, they participate together in the realization of the mission, which includes the preservation of the planet Earth, the protection of the environment, and the spreading of awareness about sustainable development.
One of the green activities we carried out in October 2022 was the planting of 60 seedlings in the school and kindergarten in Nova Pazova. With the implemented initiative, we contributed to the creation of a greener environment for our little ones in those institutions.
Also, our plan is to contribute to the creation of a better quality and safer “home” through actions of reforestation and cleaning of the region, where necessary, as well as through recycling.
Having skilled and satisfied employees is a fundamental requirement for a company to succeed in its business. What does caring for employees mean for you and what activities do you implement to keep them healthy, safe and to advance in their careers?
— ALUMIL’s business is outstanding thanks to its employees. They are the strength of the company and that is why we continuously improve the knowledge and skills of our employees and provide them with a safe, secure and friendly working environment. We give priority to the health and safety of our employees, and we implement this through activities that are in accordance with international standards.
As a company that respects diversity and fosters equality, we shape a work environment where employees are selected regardless of gender, taking into account their values and skills they can offer the company. By organizing professional trainings and seminars for our employees, we develop their skills, but we also educate them about sustainable development, which is a crucial direction of the ALUMIL’s business.
We place a special emphasis on the psycho-physical health of employees, which is crucial for an easier daily life. For this reason, we participate in sports activities and realize educations and seminars aimed at physical and mental empowerment of employees.
In addition, every year we organize joint get-togethers in order to strengthen team spirit, strengthen team affiliation and create fellowship among colleagues.
How do you contribute to social well-being and better living conditions of your fellow citizens?
— For ALUMIL, success is not just about manufacturing excellence. A key element for the wider progress of the company is its contribution to social well-being, which is the basis of our activities, all with the aim of improving people’s quality of life.
Through the set strategy of corporate social responsibility, we implement initiatives that lead to the creation of a healthier social environment and help all groups and organizations that need support. We also support initiatives that promote knowledge, innovation and general human development.
OUR GOAL IS TO SPREAD GREEN CULTURE THROUGH CSR EDUCATION AND PARTICIPATION IN SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INITIATIVES, AS WELL AS TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO PARTICIPATE IN SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIONS
REVOLUCIJA: A NEW GENERATION LUXURY OFFICE BUILDING
The new Granit Invest office building will be unique in many ways compared to other office space on offer in Belgrade, but its construction method, as its name suggests, is also quite revolutionary compared to current standards. We talk to Lana Apolloni, the company's executive director, about the innovative solutions applied in the construction of the Revolucija and trends on the marketBy: JOVANA NIKOLIĆ DEJAN ARSENOV
An attractive glass facade, greenery on the terraces and roof, a solar power plant, an underground garage in the center of Belgrade with chargers for electric vehicles, sensors on the windows that prevent energy wastage, lots of natural light in the offices, rooms for employee relaxation—these are just some of the benefits that will soon be enjoyed by future tenants of the new office building Revolucija in the center of Belgrade. Investor Granit Invest already has several state-of-the-art office facilities in its portfolio, but with Revolucija, they went a step further. The executive director of the company, Lana Apolloni, reveals to us the most attractive details of this ultra-luxurious building and its innovative construction method, as well as the trends in the furnishing of office premises, which today are dictated by tenants down to the smallest detail.
We are looking forward to the opening of your new office building, Revolucija, which follows the latest construction trend. What would you single out as the most significant innovative solutions that you applied in its design and construction?
— The Revolucija building is, in many respects, a unique building in Belgrade. We tried to use innovative, energy-efficient solutions that, on the one hand, follow modern trends in construction and, on the other hand, give Belgrade an authentic, high-luxury business facility.
We used the so-called “top-down” construction system, which required us to build underground and above-ground floors at the same time. This construction system is financially much more demanding for us as an investor, but it enabled us to build 10,000 square meters of office space in the very center of Vračar in record time.
When you look at the Revolucija building, you will immediately notice the smooth, massive pillars, which are cast in natural concrete. We produced perfectly smooth pillars that resemble polished stone by using special one-time formwork with a foil on the inside.
One of our biggest challenges was the glass facade. Some glasses are so large that they were installed by a special jellyfish-like robot that could manipulate the installation of such heavy frames.
A total of 3,000 seedlings were placed on the terraces of the building itself, as well as on the roof, with its own sustainable irrigation system. The elevators installed in the building have the so-called easyflow system, which accelerates the flow through the building by up to 30 percent. All this together gives the building itself and our tenants many benefits in terms of comfort and luxury that are not often found in our market.
Given that it is an A-class office space, which modern standards in interior design and furnishing have you met that are expected by tenants today?
— Tenants, who are our clients, are very demanding and have very specific expectations for the office space they select for their employees. In the past, ten or so years ago, tenants adapted to what lessors offered on the market. The space was mostly offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Today, that is no longer the case. The tenants decide in great detail what they want in the space. We met our clients’ demands and installed everything that their corporate standards required. There are a lot of details. Tenants, who are our target group, want the office space to be a pleasant environment with lots of greenery and natural light, a professional kitchen for the
employee canteen, special rooms for employees to rest and relax, such as a gym, massage rooms, a mini theater for certain corporate events, and so on. In order for all of this to be fulfilled, it must be known to the investor during construction. Given that we signed the lease agreements for the entire building at a very early stage of development, this is precisely how we carried it out.
Energy savings and sustainable property management have become priorities for all investors and tenants. How energy-efficient and sustainable is Revolucija?
— According to today’s standards, considerable attention must be paid to energy efficiency while developing luxury office buildings. Revolucija satisfies these requirements in full with the various systems implemented. We have installed a 50 kW solar power plant on the top of the building, which covers the entire surface of the roof. This project was also supported by the EBRD bank through its grant credit lines for energy efficiency.
The BMS control system, as well as special sensors on the windows of the entire building, control the air conditioning and ventilation systems in such a way as to prevent unnecessary waste of energy. We managed to enable the heating of the underground garage by recirculating the used air. We installed electric car chargers in specific parking areas and implemented a system that allows this number to be increased as needed.
Revolucija is located in one of the most attractive locations in the center of Belgrade, which is very exclusive since there are not many opportunities for the construction of new office buildings in the central city area. Do the office space rental prices in premium zones reflect the exclusivity that such locations offer?
— Belgrade is in many ways totally in step with other European capitals, but regrettably not in this
ACCORDING TO TODAY’S STANDARDS, CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION MUST BE PAID TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY WHILE DEVELOPING LUXURY OFFICE BUILDINGS. REVOLUCIJA SATISFIES THESE REQUIREMENTS IN FULL WITH THE VARIOUS SYSTEMS IMPLEMENTED
one. Revolucija is located in the very center of Belgrade, and that location corresponds to what would be called an “extra zone” in European cities. Agents have frequently brought prospective tenants to view office space at Revolucija while comparing our offers with those of various other brand-new office buildings in Mirijevo or Ledine. You will agree that buying a construction site in the center of Belgrade or in Ledine is far from comparable. As a result, we as an investor have a much higher construction cost, and this should be reflected in the rental price. Belgrade will eventually reach the point when premium zones have their own prices that are truly not comparable to those in the suburbs, where the location itself and the cost of construction are significantly lower. This is the case in cities like London, Vienna, and Munich.
Seen from the point of view of investors but also considering the needs of the market, what will pay off more in the coming period—investment in residential or office buildings—and what will be the focus of Granit Invest?
— Compared to investors like us, investors in residential construction are unquestionably in a stronger position right now. In Belgrade, the price per square meter for residential properties has increased significantly over the past ten years, but this is not the case for office space on the rent market. Seven or eight years ago, a square meter in Vračar cost 2,500 euros, while today it costs 4,000 to 5,000 euros. The prices of all materials have risen; the price of steel has increased by 100 percent, labor has become more expensive, and therefore the price per square meter has also increased. As an investor in the construction of office buildings, we bear the consequences of the price increases of all the aforementioned. Today, the construction of the same building costs 40 percent more, while the rent per square meter is only about 15 percent higher. We anticipate that the cost of renting office space in upscale areas will increase because, otherwise, investors in this sector will lose interest. This will especially affect property
management and maintenance prices, which today do not reflect the increase in costs that is happening in the market. In its plans for the future, Granit Invest has the idea of continuing to invest in the construction of high-luxury office space because we provide services to a small niche of tenants on the market who have high demands but are willing to pay the most expensive square footage rent in Belgrade. Our perspective is that, like a boutique hotel, we remain small enough to be able to respond to the complicated demands of clients, but also large enough to develop new, innovative projects on the real estate market.
WE ANTICIPATE THAT THE COST OF RENTING OFFICE SPACE IN UPSCALE AREAS WILL INCREASE BECAUSE, OTHERWISE, INVESTORS IN THIS SECTOR WILL LOSE INTERESTGranit Invest will continue to invest in the construction of high-luxury office space
A YEAR OF RECORD INVESTMENTS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CTP FACILITIES
By the end of the year, CTP will double its existing portfolio of industrial and business parks throughout Serbia. The most important project is the construction of CTPark Belgrade City, which will be the largest logistics hub in Serbia, says Petar Kolognat, Head of Business Development at CTP SerbiaBy: PETAR DOBROSAVLJEVIĆ HUMANMADE STUDIO
The Dutch company CTP, a leader in the field of construction and rental of business and industrial parks in Central and Eastern Europe, with a portfolio that includes almost 10 million square meters of Class-A facilities in ten countries from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, has been operating in Serbia for six years. During that time, it has already become a leader in this sector of the market, with an ambitious plan to double its existing portfolio this year, with the goal of exceeding one milion square meters of built facilities in Serbia during this decade. Petar Kolognat, Head of Business Development at CTP Serbia, reveals locations where new CTP projects will be developed and why the “nearshore” trend favors the development of this real estate sector in Serbia.
At the end of last year, CTP started construction on its flagship project in Serbia, CTPark Belgrade City. In addition to the exclusive location, just 10 kilometers from the city center, what else makes this industrial-business park special, and when is it expected to be available for tenants?
— At the beginning of 2021, CTP acquired 27.5 hectares of land at the New Belgrade-Kvantaš location, with the aim of developing the largest logistics hub in Serbia, in the immediate vicinity of the city center and Belgrade Airport. With 135,000 square meters of space, CTPark Belgrade City will be Ser-
bia’s largest logistics hub, offering warehouse units starting at 2,500 square meters, as well as offices and showrooms. Due to its truly premium location and exceptional connection to the highway and main city roads, this facility will be ideal for the FMCG industry, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, and so-called “last mile” logistics. The first facility within this hub will be ready for occupancy in Q4 of next year.
Since the beginning, CTP has launched numerous projects and currently has 12 facilities in its portfolio in Serbia. Who are your main clients?
— So far, we have built 12 buildings in Serbia with a total area of over 265,000 sqm in five different locations, which makes us market leaders with a space occupancy index of 98%. We try to have a diverse client profile, and in addition to logistics facilities, we also build production plants. In 2019, CTP started developing CTPark Novi Sad, which is now home to some of the most modern factories in Europe – Continental, BMTS, and Nidec. Within CTPark Kragujevac, two buildings with a total area of 55,000 sqm were built to meet the needs of the Yanfeng company’s production plant. A third factory for the same client is under construction and will be completed in August. The CTP Group has a truly diverse portfolio of renowned clients, with whom we continuously build trust and the best possible relationships throughout the en-
tire business process. The success of such a relationship with clients is reflected in the fact that almost 80% of the new facilities we build are for existing clients.
What is the current largest industrial park in Serbia?
— The largest industrial park in Serbia is CTPark Belgrade North, which is strategically positioned between the two largest cities in Serbia, Belgrade and Novi Sad, right next to the highway (E75). The total current area of the built facilities in the Park exceeds 100,000 sqm, with the possibility of expanding to over 220,000 sqm. Currently, Tehnomanija, Dijamant, Milšped, Lidl, Mercata VT, Intereuropa, Galerija Podova and Pet Centar are operating in this Park. The new hall of 17,000 sqm that is being built in this park will be ready for occupancy by the Q3 of this year.
What are the company’s development plans for the coming period?
— This year alone, CTP expects to build a record 252,000 sqm of buildings at six different locations in Serbia. In addition to the aforementioned parks, we are actively developing CTPark Belgrade West in Šimanovci, where four buildings totaling over 55,000 square meters have been constructed and are fully leased.The companies Sika, Emmezeta, Phoenix Pharma, Milšped and BOSCH, for whose needs a production facility was built, are operating in this Park. We will soon start construction of another hall of 35,000 sqm within this Park, which will be ready for occupancy in Q4 of this year.
We recently acquired two more new locations in Novi Sad. We will build CTPark Novi Sad East with two buildings with a total area of 60,000 sqm at the Kać junction itself. The first building of 25,000 sqm will be ready for occupancy in Q4 of this year.
In the Industrial Zone of Novi Sad North, just four kilometers from the city center and four kilometers from the E75 highway, we have completed the purchase of over 20 hectares of land on which we are designing the largest industrial
park in Vojvodina - CTPark Novi Sad City. Given the current availability of high-quality industrial space in this city, I am confident that this project will be a huge success.
What are the greatest advantages of CTParks, that make clients choose your facilities?
— CTP is truly committed to sustainable development; our business parks have a green character, an attractive design, and a focus on the well-being of its users. Each of our buildings has a BREEAM green building and energy efficiency certificate. As another very important advantage, I must point out that we are currently the only company in our market that can offer multiple locations to clients. Finding quality plots is definitely one of the pillars of success of our business, and we are constantly looking for new land at locations where we see potential for further development.
You have announced the installation of solar panels on your roofs...
— That’s right, our plan is to have the roofs of all our buildings covered with solar panels. By the end of this year, we will complete the installation on the first ten buildings and reach a capacity of 20 mWh. Considering the planned square footage of our facilities, we believe that we will be one of the largest producers of green energy in Serbia.
How do you see the position and importance of Serbia with its industrial and logistics capacities in relation to the region, especially in light of the current war in Ukraine?
— It is noticeable that our clients are looking for reliable solutions to ensure the progress of their operations in the years to come. They are turning toward closer, and so to say, friendlier supply chains; the war in Ukraine has only accelerated this “nearshore” trend. This will increase demand for additional industrial space in close proximity to the developed markets of Western Europe, which will be much more resilient to the risks of crises that could befall us in the near future.
SERBIA IS GOOD FOR LOGISTICS AND MANUFACTURING OF ALL KINDS
In an interview with our magazine, Karel Stransky, Head of Corporate Industrial Advisory at Colliers EMEA Corporate Solutions, speaks about trends in the industrial real estate market that we expect in the coming period and how, from the perspective of international investors, Serbia and the region are listed on the map of Europe's industrial potentialBy: GORDANA KNEŽEVIĆ MONAŠEVIĆ KAREL STRANSKY, Head of Corporate Industrial Advisory, Colliers EMEA Corporate Solutions Photo: COLLIERS
capital decisions in their business. He joined the Colliers team in 1996, when the Colliers agency for industrial real estate was founded in the Czech Republic, which he led successfully for 13 years. In 2009, he became Managing Director of Colliers Czech Republic, and since 2011, he has been part of the Colliers EMEA Corporate Solutions team in London, where he uses his valuable experience and market knowledge to help clients from the industrial and manufacturing sectors find the right location or facilities. Behind him are numerous realized projects in the EMEA region, the USA, and Asia, which include several million leased or purchased square meters of industrial buildings and hundreds of thousands of hectares of land. We met Karel in Belgrade during one of his numerous business trips and took the opportunity to ask him where the industrial real estate market is going in the coming period.
During his prolific career, Karel Stransky has traversed the globe in pursuit of the best industrial real estate market solutions for his clients’ needs. Practically, there is no part of the global market that he does not know on both the macro and micro levels, which instills great confidence in clients when they make
You have been in the industrial real estate business for more than 20 years and have really amazing experience. What do you see as the greatest changes in this sector during those two decades, and what trends will dominate in 2023?
— Across the last two decades, the industry has changed substantially, although there are significant differences depending on where in Europe you are.
I would emphasize the following aspects: a focus on energy efficiency, a shift from owner-occupants to lessees, and both larger and more customized buildings. I believe that improving buildings’ energy performance will be one of the key concerns of the years to come, not only due to reducing their carbon footprint but also their dependency on fossil fuels and overall cost.
As the Head of Corporate Industrial Advisory within Colliers EMEA Corporate Solutions, you actively manage industrial and manufacturing-related projects in 17 countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia. What precisely do you provide to clients, and what services do they need most?
— We support our customers end-to-end during the whole building life cycle: evaluating site portfolios, selecting the right country, region, or city, adopting the appropriate building financing and acquisition model, managing and monitoring building delivery, and disposing of assets that are no longer needed. Currently, we spend significant time with our customers evaluating their existing and future locations with respect to recent disruptions in supply chains and geopolitics caused by post-pandemic and post-war dynamics.
Given the experience you have managing transactions all over the world, what real estate markets do you find most favorable in the industrial sector? Which market at the moment is the best for what type of industry?
— Industrial market perspectives are closely related to the growth of the economy and a transparent business environment; the markets do not like conflicts, tensions, and wars. When it comes to our remit within EMEA, there are a few regions worth considering, though each has its own set of challenges. Central Eastern Europe, alongside Portugal, is still attractive for logistics and more sophisticated and automated production, in particular its less developed pockets in east Poland, Slovakia, south Hungary, or east Romania, as well as Lithuania—obviously, geopolitical risk is more acute the closer to the Ukraine border you are.
Given the long tradition of engineering expertise and work ethics in former Yugoslavian production centers, the Western Balkans, particularly large countries like Serbia, are good for emerging consumer-related logistics as well as manufacturing of all kinds. The issue is obviously the perception of ongoing tensions among various ethnic groups, the efficiency of public governance, and a fuzzy political position when it comes to the geopolitical attitude of Russia.
Northern Africa, especially Morocco, Egypt, and potentially Tunisia, are emerging countries for low-cost manufacturing and eventually consumer-related logistics and distribution. The challenge here is distance to EU markets and a perception of cultural barriers towards Islamic and Arabic communities.
You come to Belgrade from time to time. Where do you see the greatest potential of the Serbian real estate market in attracting more international companies to be based here?
— Over the last ten years, international companies inevitably recognized the potential of Serbia, and it clearly became a very different country when it comes to industrial markets. Looking to the future, I would refer to the previous paragraph: from talking to my customers, I understand that the perception of ongoing tensions among various ethnic groups, the efficiency of public governance, and the fuzzy political position when it comes to the geopolitical attitude of Russia are the key blocking factors, at least when we consider corporations from the Western hemisphere. I suspect that the Chinese or Indian companies are not that sensitive here.
Although you are part of the London Colliers team, you are practically still based in your home country, the Czech Republic. You also have great experience in the Czech market since you have also been Managing Director of Colliers Czech Republic. What are the greatest challenges that the Czech real estate market is facing in this turbulent period?
— My business activity in the Czech market has been limited to a few projects in recent years, so my perspective may not be comprehensive. From the occupier’s standpoint, similarly to most of Europe, the market offers very little new space due to massive demand and limited new development in the last three years; labor markets are exhausted; and rents, energy, and construction costs have escalated. Although the building owners, on the other hand, appreciate rental growth and their unique dominant position in almost any negotiation, they also feel the impact of value dropping, rising construction costs, and borrowing. It’s likely that there will be less growth in the market since rents will remain higher than in the past and inflation pressures do not disappear; the extent of growth will most of all depend on consumer spending sentiment across the whole European region.
INDUSTRIAL MARKET PERSPECTIVES ARE CLOSELY RELATED TO THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY AND A TRANSPARENT BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT; THE MARKETS DO NOT LIKE CONFLICTS, TENSIONS, AND WARS
COLLIERS SERBIA CELEBRATED ITS NEW BUSINESS CHAPTER
One such partnership, concluded on July 4, between the Serbian company West Properties and the international company Colliers, which have been operating under the joint brand Colliers Serbia for seven months, was the reason for a cocktail party, where business partners who have been cooperating with both companies for decades gathered.
Colliers Serbia celebrated the beginning of the new business year and a new chapter in its business on December 8 at the Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade in the presence of many friends, partners, and associates from Serbia and the region. A cocktail and relaxed socializing with music, as well as the performance of accordion virtuoso maestro Petar Marić, were the best ways to end a successful 2022 year, which was marked by numerous records and major deals and projects in the real estate market, as well as new business partnerships.
The hosts of the evening, Vladimir Vukićević and Vladimir Popović, partners and directors of Colliers Serbia, who for the past seven years have jointly developed the portfolio of services and corporate values of the West Properties brand in the direction that led them to a partnership with a global brand such as Colliers, thanked the guests for their support and expressed their satisfaction that they have so many friends with whom they can share their success.
The guests were also addressed via video message by representatives of the Colliers group who were unable to attend: Davoud Amel-Azizpour, Colliers Chief Executive Officer of EMEA, and Luke Dawson, executive director of EMEA cross-border capital markets at Colliers. Among the guests were representatives of Colliers Montenegro and Colliers Albania.
A CHALLENGE IN FINDING A SOLUTION TO AN APPARENTLY UNSOLVABLE PROBLEM
Two important awards that he received last year and an upcoming anniversary— two decades since the establishment of Proaspekt studio—were more than enough reason to talk with Vladimir Lojanica, dean and full professor of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Belgrade, about contemporary Serbian architecture and the relationship that students and investors have with itBy: ALEKSANDRA MIRKOVIĆ
The career of Vladimir Lojanica includes both his academic and pedagogical work in a high education institution and his work as an architect-practitioner on several projects all over the world, for which he won prestigious awards.
We will mention only a few. Just last year, he received two significant awards: the Grand Architecture Award of the Association of Architects of Serbia for Lifetime Achievement for 2020, as well as the annual award of the UAS “Aleksej Brkić” for the most successful architectural work in 2021 for the NCR campus in New Belgrade. There is also an award for architecture from the National Association of Architects for 2007 for the Holiday Inn hotel complex and the Expo hall in New Belgrade. The Acumincum winery in Stari Slankamen was also awarded at the 37th Salon of Architecture. In the year 2000, at the beginning of his career, he won a competition in Rwanda for the new building of the National Library in Kigali, the capital. He designed numerous buildings in China, Russia, the United States, and Serbia, ranging from small private and commercial structures to public buildings, all based on the principles of energy efficiency and sustainability, such as the Zero Energy House, which was designated as the house of 2020.
To what extent has the Grand Architecture Award for Lifetime Achievement of the Association of Architects of Serbia awakened a new sense of responsibility, and which project will you be most occupied with in 2023?
— The Grand Architecture Award for Lifetime Achievement of the Association of Architects of Serbia is different from other awards. First of all, because it represents an award for overall professional work, social engagement, and other forms of contribution and achievement. It is awarded by the Grand Prize Council, which consists of all its previous winners. Thus, one automatically becomes a member of this council, which really consists of the most deserving architects in our society. I would agree that it carries great honor and responsibility; I might even say that it encourages a special kind of social responsibility and activism. Analogously, I assume that one of the most demanding roles this year will be the position of dean of the Faculty of Architecture, which I assumed last year. We have a lot of new things coming up that we are planning to introduce, as well as a lot of events and manifestations where we will show our work on the education of young architects.
Do you remember a moment in the process of creation, either through an impression of someone else’s work or, earlier in childhood, since you grew up with an architect father, when you understood the importance of an architect’s work in a society?
— My formative years were marked by an architectural context, of course, due to the occupation of my parents. Not to mention living in a space with walls plastered with, for me at the time, extremely fictitious, strange representations of spatial volumetric variations, colored paths and schemes, incomprehensible matrices and patterns, mock-ups and models; jumping around piles of stones of various colors and textures in the middle of the living room... If we also take into account the continuous stories and everyday family narrative about ideas and concepts, new achievements, new publications, etc.
In contrast, I could not say that the idea of an architectural profession was taken for granted. Like every young person, I did not directly make a decision and analogically concluded that I could do this job. In my case, the first step towards a clearer choice of cultural direction was crucial, initiated by the more ubiquitous aspiration and desire to engage in professions that are socially engaged and whose results encompass a wide field of implications for the social and cultural context. The decision came as a result of a conscious reflection on the character of the profession and the capacity of architec-
ture to unite the most diverse aspirations and affinities in me: from an interest in creative work to an affinity for precise engineering and design work to an interest in various crafts and work with concrete materials.
What advice, in addition to your knowledge, do you pass on to students, and what do you teach them to do contrary to what you were taught?
— Practicing architecture implies the intensive and simultaneous accumulation of knowledge, skills, and inspiration—creating syntheses and manifesting them through hard and dedicated work. Perhaps the most important knowledge we can impart to them is an understanding of how creative potentials are utilized in order to fully realize them and build them as experts and personalities.
Our school had and still has a large number of historical figures and architects, whom I had the opportunity to meet personally. The special dimension of temporal comfort and the authority of the profession in society were, it seems, the key differences between former times and today’s moment. It is my impression that the most interesting thing for students is the immediate introduction and transfer of lessons through analogies from that time that are still relevant today and, on the other hand, practical experiences. The combination of informal professional discussions and mandatory lessons is the right formula. Such stories sublimate a plethora of messages about the refined approach to problems, lyrical and creative leisure, research persistence, and reflection, all of which have given this profession a distinct charm and brought top qualities with them.
We are witnessing an investor urbanism trend. At a conference, you said that there is often a sort of trench warfare between investors and architects. How can this problem be addressed?
— Architecture is an activity that always lies between expectations and reality, between interests and limitations. Its reality today is even further complicated by the circumstances of the harsh market situation. An architect builds his status during his entire career through long-term and permanent education, great work and sacrifice, experience, and the application of knowledge, and then, through responsibility and reliability, he earns trust and respect not only for his personality but also for the profession itself. Cooperation with investors is inevitable; without investors, there would be no architecture. It has always been like that, and it is logical that, in their own interests, they can have specific expectations that can often be limiting for architects from the very beginning. Sometimes these interests cover a very narrow field, while the architect has a responsibility (among other things, a social one) to look at that field much more broadly. I also had very valuable experiences where I gathered other important expert knowledge from investors.
The illustrative platitude from the question you mention actually mostly refers to the fact that an architect has to invest a lot of energy to turn an investor into an ally, not the opponent who wants cheap and fast architecture but an educated subject who recognizes and appreciates the additional values that his investment brings to society.
Although it is not an easy task, both sides must not give up. Every space carries numerous messag-
es, but the one that expresses the idea that the architecture we practice respects the space we are in, the environment, and the resources we use is the most important one. The domain of general public interest in architecture is extremely broad. That must not be overlooked at any cost.
Does architecture have its rightful place in the world today?
— Throughout history, the status of architects has always been socially defined, recognized, and instrumentalized through policies. The specificity of architecture lies in its obviousness and permanence. Everything that is built, for better or for worse, is very obvious and lasts for decades, even centuries. Today is no different: the status of the profession is being built, created, and occupied. It is a new battlefront for the position of the architect in society. Architecture, as a part of everyday life, is going through turbulent social changes with all the challenges of profit, and I would not say that the profession is slowing down. I have the impression that we are increasingly witnessing the incredible skill of architects to produce excellent results in a not-so-perfect system. I think there is a new kind of social skill that is being developed in the profession. I could not claim that major changes at the level of society can happen in a short period of time, but the signs of such changes can certainly be identified. But what is certain is that there is resistance to templates and profit in the profession. The architectural scene has certainly experienced development in the last decade, and some current topics, concepts, and principles can be compared with the European level of archi-
tectural production. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before raising the general level of production and quality of construction. I would like to believe that we have already started down that path.
Where are the directional indications for Serbian urbanism and architecture that would make them resemble the heyday of creation and development from the 1970s and 1980s of the 20th century in the future? Is it feasible to achieve this?
— The former socialist society, I would say, resembles a kind of unrepeatable experiment, which, at least in the field of architecture, proved to be successful in many segments; a structured and systematic approach with a clear regulatory framework and defined needs. It was indeed a fertile framework for ar-
chitectural activity and architecture as a social product. Such a context enabled fruitful years of creativity for a large constellation of Serbian (or Yugoslav) architects who formed the powerful backbone of our school: Milenković, Stjepanović, Lojanica, Keković, Cagić, Jovanović, Ličina, Živadinović, Marušić, Vulović...and many others.
Today we are rebuilding ourselves within the framework of a post-transitional society. We create opportunities and build principles in the face
AN ARCHITECT HAS TO INVEST A LOT OF ENERGY TO TURN AN INVESTOR INTO AN ALLY, NOT THE OPPONENT WHO WANTS CHEAP AND FAST ARCHITECTUREPassive house ZERO ENERGY, Belgrade, authors: Vladimir Lojanica and Saša Macanović Photo: Vladimir Lojanica
of changing circumstances. Our environment is an example of the immediate and rapid transformation of the entire socio-political system, and the transitional and post-transitional periods themselves lasted a long time. Culture has become fragmented on a global level. What is noticeable globally, and in our example, obvious, is that architecture is really a field that cannot be separated from society and culture. The physical building stock is only one of the projections of society itself. There is no need to talk about the permanent impact of the built environment on people, their living space.
However, apart from the aesthetic and ethical consequences, the economic risks of such investments are not negligible either, especially in the long term, because you cannot simply erase or remove bad architecture. The character of today’s time does not favor architecture in the way that the former character did; the rapid speed of transformation in design and construction requires high adaptability and resilience. Fresh ideas and new concepts are the
subject of daily review, and I believe that this fact is both the greatest danger and the greatest potential of modern society. At the current moment, there is no clearly differentiated model of social policy or value system in our midst, and I am afraid that such a model is necessary for us as a form of resistance to the market, which simply translates all values into profit.
If we focused our activities on the formation of such a model based, as in the past, on the creative efforts of individuals or authors as well as on the aforementioned achievements of our school, we would have a much clearer picture and many more ways
IT WOULD BE VERY HELPFUL TO INFORM EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET THAT THE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THE APARTMENT MUST NOT BE EQUAL TO ITS USE VALUEWinery, Stari Slankamen, author Vladimir Lojanica Photo: Vladimir Lojanica
to implement and use the experiences and knowledge we have inherited from previous times.
The ideas and paradigms of the profession must take precedence over the pragmatic market production of spaces whose only goal is to sell as well as possible. If we matched the pace with the values and resisted the temptation for our culture to fall into mere consumerism, then we would be on the way to creating new golden years for our society. I firmly believe that it will happen in the future.
Which project has so far given you the most joy, and which has been so challenging that you were on the verge of giving up?
— It is difficult to classify projects that way. Especially since designing as a profession actually involves the networking and coordination of the most diverse actors (from engineers of various professions, through investors and managers, to craftsmen who implement the project itself on the spot). I would rather connect such a “division” with the phases the project goes through. There is always the most joy in the initial creative phase, which then, entering the further phases of accepting ideas, elaboration, and communication with team members, passes into a complex and very challenging phase. And the more difficult the task, the more difficult the challenges that come with it.
And giving up? It is not an option when you have already entered the project. Resignation is considered at the very beginning when deciding whether to accept the job or not. Once you have entered the task, only variations of possible solutions, acceptable compromises, or irrevocable decisions for specific challenges follow; giving up is not an option at that point. What is most beautiful about architecture is its ability to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems, which then bring new quality.
What do you dream of realizing in the future?
— I have been lucky enough to realize a large number of different projects in my career so far and to deal with a wide variety of design topics, from interior design to the design of entire areas. I would like to get the opportunity to continuously, through several projects, deal with the topic of housing, which interests me very much and which I have dealt with in a variety of ways, professionally, theoretically, and experimentally.
You wrote the textbook, “Architectural Organization of Space: Housing,” published in 2019. If we have a situation on the real estate market
where a 30-square-meter apartment is advertised as a two-bedroom apartment, should the textbook become mandatory reading for investors and buyers?
— The book includes decades of continuity in the school program and the results achieved by the Faculty of Architecture at the regional and international level in the field of housing. It is a kind of tribute to the entire galaxy of personalities who formed the reputation of the Belgrade school of housing. As such, it represents a complex textbook for teaching and the author’s aspiration to establish relationships between personalities, events, and topics that belong to different time and space frames. It is intended for the education of architects, but perhaps it could become mandatory reading for the wider population, not just for specific devotees of our profession.
Your proposal seems very interesting, and certain parts of the book could be adapted for publication intended for a wider population. The question you raised actually goes into a serious social problem, within which it would be very helpful to inform everyone involved in the real estate market that the square footage of the apartment must not be equal to its use value. And the use value of the apartment is precisely what gives value to a certain square footage, which guarantees and implies the quality of the living culture in a certain area. In addition to the spatial category (the physical square footage of space), our existential space always includes a certain social and cultural totality. Christian Norberg-Schulz said that space is a category of orientation, and in order to be able to implement one’s intentions, a person must understand spatial relationships and unite them into a unique “concept of space”.
“One of the most demanding roles this year will be the position of dean of the Faculty of Architecture, which I assumed last year”
KSENIA SECURITY FOR A COMFORTABLE AND SAFE HOME AND BUSINESS SPACE
We live in a time of increased security risks, but also of growing technological possibilities for protection and comfort. The Lunatronik company offers an integrated system that unites all applications, from alarms and video surveillance to control all appliances in the space, through a simple Touch panel that will protect your valuables wherever you are
Text and photo:
Ksenia Security’s Smart Home system is a revolutionary way of protecting your home or business space, which allows, in a simple way, complex and integrated control of your space. This Smart Home system is primarily a premium alarm system integrated with IP video intercom, access control, and video surveillance cameras, which makes it extremely effec-
tive in providing security and protection to your property with the help of automatic visual verification.
One of the numerous advantages of the Ksenia Security system is the possibility of remote control via your smartphone or computer. This means that you can access and manage the system from wherever you are, which is extremely useful if you are away or in case something un-
expected happens, as well as for effective control of the energy efficiency of the entire facility.
Also, the system allows you to monitor events in your home or business premises in real time, through cameras and video intercoms. You can monitor what is happening in the apartment while you are at work or on a trip, which gives you an additional sense of security and peace of mind. What is especially significant and practical is that the same Touch panel is used in the apartment for the alarm, video intercom, and cameras and for all Smart Home functions.
The Ksenia Security system also enables the automation of your home or business premises, which means that you can adjust the lighting (switching on and/or dimming) as well as the temperature for both heating and cooling and other systems (blinds, shutters, or awnings, the gain of electricity from solar panels, as well as electricity consumption) via an application on your smartphone or computer. This system can save you a lot of time and effort because all you have to do is set the desired parameters, and the system will adapt itself and perform the required tasks at the desired time.
Another big advantage of the Ksenia Security system is its reliability and security. The system is made in Italy from quality materials according to the highest EU standards and is regularly updated to ensure maximum safety and reliability. This system is also customizable, which means it can be set according to your specific needs and requirements. One example is a miniature wireless two-way door or window opening detector that detects both the tilt angle of the window as well as impacts in the case of forced entry or broken glass.
In addition, the Ksenia Security system provides you with invaluable security. The alarm system is always on and ready to detect unwanted visitors or potential dangers. The video intercom camera at the entrance allows you to see who is at the entrance and make a decision whether to open the door or not—even from your mobile phone, whether you are at home or on the road. Access control allows you to restrict access to your space so that only selected people can enter.
In short, the Ksenia Security System is an extremely useful product that provides you with a unique combination of comfort, savings, and security. With this system, you can be sure that your space will always be under control and that you will always be notified of any unwanted events. That is why the Ksenia Security system is an excellent way to improve security and comfort in your home or business space, as well as to save energy and money.
THE KSENIA SECURITY SYSTEM IS MADE IN ITALY FROM QUALITY MATERIALS ACCORDING TO THE HIGHEST EU STANDARDS AND IS REGULARLY UPDATED TO ENSURE MAXIMUM SECURITY AND RELIABILITY
BECOME A PART OF A LARGE REAL ESTATE NETWORK!
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DRIVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN REAL ESTATE
November 30, 2022 – Hyatt Regency Belgrade – Studio 2
COMPLETE REPORT FROM THE FIRST REMHUB CONFERENCE ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR
OFFICE BUILDINGS ARE THE MOST ENERGY-EFFICIENT
The real estate sector is definitely moving toward energy-efficient solutions, but there is still a lot of work to be done, especially in the housing sector and energy rehabilitation of existing building stock, according to the conclusion of the first REMHUB conference on energy efficiency in the real estate sectorJOVANA NIKOLIĆ, ALEKSANDRA MIRKOVIĆ
The implementation of energy-efficient solutions affects the energy stability of the entire country, and so far it is most visible in the commercial real estate sector, since investors who develop new office and industrial projects or projects of reconstruc-
tion are very careful about how energy will be consumed in the facilities they rent out. This is one of the conclusions of the conference REMHUB 2022: Driving Energy Efficiency in Real Estate, which was held on November 30 in Belgrade. The conference was organized by West Media World
with the institutional support of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Serbian Green Building Council.
On the other hand, the residential sector is currently lagging behind in the greater application of energy-efficient solutions. There are, of course, examples of good practice in new buildings, but, in general, this problem is left to future property owners. That implies that it is critical to educate citizens about the importance of energy efficiency so they can raise the standard currently offered by investors.
The same applies to the rehabilitation of the existing housing stock: citizens are the ones who need to understand the importance of energy investments and to take advantage of numerous measures and subsidies offered by the state because every investment will pay off many times over in the shortest possible time.
The state has taken upon itself the improvement of energy efficiency in public buildings, in which the Ministry of Mining and Energy is maximally engaged. At the same time, the economy has a great responsibility because it can ensure the greatest energy savings in production by using energy-efficient equipment and installing solar panels on roofs. These are the most important messages that were heard at the REMHUB 2022 conference on energy efficiency in the real estate sector.
Numerous participants of the conference, including representatives of competent institutions, organizations, and companies operating in the real estate sector, tried to answer the questions of how ready the construction and real estate sec-
tors in Serbia are for the current energy crisis, whether we are building energy-efficient buildings, how much progress we have made in the energy rehabilitation of existing buildings, but also what is our attitude towards energy consumption in general, and how smart facility management can save energy in industrial, commercial, and residential buildings.
The general conclusion is that energy efficiency should become a standard in the construction industry and property management, that we have taken the first steps in that direction, and that it is the duty of the entire society to raise energy efficiency to a much higher level in the following year.
The conference was opened by Milan Macura, assistant to the minister of mining and energy, who pointed out that energy efficiency must also be seen in the context of the security of our country and that we must all participate in the energy transition together—citizens, the economy, and local governments.
He reminded everyone that the Law on Energy Efficiency and Rational Use of Energy was adopted last year and mentioned the projects that the state implements, in cooperation with international creditors, to increase the energy efficiency of private and public buildings. Macura pointed out that it is extremely important to install solar power plants on public buildings and that the Ministry of Mining and Energy works intensively to improve the operation of the district heating system to avoid large losses.
“A pilot project for subsidies for replacing carpentry, insulating roofs and facades, and replacing heating systems for 20,000 households is underway. In the next two or three years, another 70 million euros will be allocated, so another 100,000 households will be included in the project. We expect 70 contracts in 38 local self-governments for the rehabilitation of public buildings by installing alternative energy sources. In three towns, Novi Pazar, Priboj, and Mali Zvornik, biomass heating plants were built, and the plan is to reconstruct another 20 heating plants that have large losses and affect air quality,” said the assistant minister, who emphasized that the economy has a great responsibility because it can provide the greatest energy savings in production by using energy-efficient equipment and installing solar panels on roofs.
PANEL 1 GREEN CONSTRUCTION AS A RESPONSE TO THE ENERGY CRISIS AND GREEN TRANSITION
Ivana Vuletić, secretary of the Construction Industry Association of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, opened the first panel on the topic “Green construction as a response to the energy crisis and green transition,” reminding the audience that the construction sector employs 7% of all employees in Serbia, or 170,000 workers in 40,000 companies, and that the construction sector contributed 6% of GDP last year, while the real growth rate was 2%.
She stated that in the next five years, the EU plans to invest 2.5 times more in sustainable construction, as well as the fact that the goals of the green agenda have been accelerated and that the original deadline of 2045 has been moved to 2030.
“In Serbia, the number of buildings with green certificates this year is four times higher than in the previous year. For the sake of comparison, Germany is only the seventh country on the list of the top 10 countries in terms of green construction. This means that in relation to the rest of the continent, in terms of green construction, we are not behind, but we have to think about the future,” said Ivana Vuletić.
Dragana Korica, executive director of the Serbian
Green Building Council, made an observation as the moderator of the first panel: green building is growing exponentially in the commercial real estate sector.
“We had around 30 newly built green-certified buildings last year, but there were 110 in September of this year. Unfortunately, this trend goes beyond residential construction. With a few exceptions, developers in the housing sector have not yet followed the path taken by investors who build certified office and industrial facilities and logistic centers,” Dragana Korica said.
Nataša Bugarinović, head of sustainable development at MPC Properties, pointed out that the company, which has six office buildings and six shopping centers in its portfolio, opted for a strategy of green development and green construction ten years ago and that this type of investment is well worth it.
“MPC office building Navigator 1 is the most energy-efficient building in Belgrade. The annual consumption per square meter is 150 kilowatts, while other buildings have a consumption of 250 to 300 kilowatts per square meter,” said Nataša Bugarinović adding that the Ušće shopping center is
one of the first and largest certified shopping centers in this part of Europe. A solar power plant was recently installed on its roof, which produces energy to power the chargers for electric vehicles in the facility’s garage.
Vladimir Lukač, senior project manager at CTP Serbia, pointed out that all the buildings of this company in Serbia are holders of BREEAM green certificates and that they are designed in such a way that the roof structures can carry solar panels, which the company will install on all buildings.
“CTP is the largest developer of industrial facilities and logistics parks in Southeast Europe, with a portfolio that includes 10 million square meters of built facilities, and sustainable development is part of the company’s strategy. CTP buys forests or lands that we reforest in order to contribute to carbon neutrality,” said Vladimir Lukač adding that the company’s plan is to double the currently built 250,000 square meters of buildings in Serbia next year, with the goal of having a portfolio of a total of 1.3 million square meters by 2026.
As a pioneer in the field of solar power plant construction, Miloš Kostić, owner and director of MT-Komex, emphasized the importance of passing the Law on Renewable Energy Sources last year, which enabled the installation of solar panels on all types of buildings.
“We still need to work on simplifying all procedures for consumers, above all for connecting to the electricity grid,
but the most important thing is that the citizens understand they should and can join the energy transition. The energy crisis came at the right time to make us aware. Until recently, there was only talk about environmental protection, and now the priority is energy efficiency and energy stability,” said Miloš Kostić who assessed that 2023 will be an important year in Serbia for the development of solar power plants, both in the industrial and individual construction sectors.
Vitor Antić, RMX manager at Lafarge Serbia, a member of the Holcim Group, emphasized that in the construction industry it is no longer possible to work without green products, which is why this company has been intensively developing products in its ECO portfolio for years, such as green concrete and green cement, with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
“Urbanization is on such a scale that by 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. What is the impact on climate change when a city the size of Paris is built every week on the planet? The new 52 Paris per year is significant challenge. Lafarge was the first to decarbonize its products, and we also contribute to nature conservation by using biogas trucks. It is up to us in the construction industry to decide if we want to change the classic way of building and if we will reset to new, green products for the benefit of all of us and future generations,” said Vitor Antić.
INNOVATIVE SYSTEMS FOR ENERGY REHABILITATION AND NEW GENERATION BUILDINGS
The second panel, “Innovative systems for energy rehabilitation and new generation buildings,” was opened by Marko Stojčić, the chief urban planner of the City of Belgrade, who admitted that we have not yet substantially resolved the issue of energy efficiency in order to reduce the cost of living in a big city as well as its impact on the environment.
“We are aware that Belgrade has many residential buildings that are at the bottom of the scale in terms of energy efficiency and that we will have difficulty bringing them to a satisfactory energy level, but we have to deal with it. We have started discussions with the EBRD bank on this topic with the aim of starting a pilot project for rehabilitating a part of the housing stock as soon as possible, most likely in New Belgrade. The city will co-finance such projects as much as it can, and some will be fully financed, such as buildings that are monuments to culture,” said Marko Stojčić adding that it is important to implement residential unit classification by energy efficiency category as soon as possible.
The second panel’s moderator, Bojan Bogdanović, principal manager of the EBRD’s ReDEWeB fund and president of the SrbGBC said that energy efficiency must be a priority in our society.
“The National Climate and Energy Plan, which will be the basic document for any further strategy, says the following: in order for Serbia to fulfill what it promised through the Green Agenda and all other agreements by 2030, we must invest 18.5 billion euros in buildings and only six to seven billion for the production of electricity and thermal energy. Money is not the issue; the question is whether there are enough of us who want and know how to work green. From the economic investment program of Europe, a grant of 2.5 billion euros has been secured for Serbia, which will be intended primarily for energy and energy efficiency,” said Bojan Bogdanović adding that the renovation of the existing building stock is currently the biggest challenge.
How to turn a four decades old building, with the status of cultural monument – Sava Center – into an energy-efficient one, explained Darija Raščanin, design and construction manager at Delta Real Estate.
“Energy rehabilitation of the roof sheathing and facade was carried out. The concrete facade’s repair received particular focus. Thermal insulation qualities received just as much attention as aesthetic and structural qualities. Systems for heating and cooling have been improved to be more effective. It was not our goal to just refurbish the building; rath-
er, we wanted to make it functional and energy efficient for the next 40 years so that the majority of the roof surface will be prepared for the installation of solar panels”, said Darija Raščanin. She came to the conclusion that older buildings are not necessarily inferior to brand-new ones. On the contrary, they can even be better, but in order to achieve this, investors must have the experience, knowledge and willingness to deal with it.
The renovated former Novkabel factory in Novi Sad, which will house Schneider Electric Serbia’s development center beginning in the spring, will also be completely energy-efficient, with a LEED Gold certificate, according to Lela Alempijević, CEO of the Zabriskie studio, which designed the reconstruction of 17,000 square meters of this former industrial building to become a modern office building.
She said that the greenest building is the one that has already been constructed and already exists. Schneider Electric Serbia, the project’s tenant and future user, as well as the designers, agreed that maintaining an existing design while using new building techniques and materials is the best way to address the lack of available land, increase energy efficiency, and maintain a neighborhood’s unique identity.
Edin Dalifi, project manager at Xella Serbia, also spoke about the use of new products and energy-efficient solutions both in the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing ones.
He reminded everyone that energy efficiency doesn’t mean only saving energy, but also standards of comfort and quality of space.
“Our company produces material that gives comfort in terms of acoustic and thermal insulation, through the three well-known products in the market: Ytong, Silka and Multipor. Although the norms in this field are outdated, the good news is that the demands for new materials are coming from the market itself”, said Edin Dalifi. He added that Silka blocks provide protection of 58 decibels, despite the fact that 52 decibels of sound insulation between partition walls is required by current standards.
Daniel Berg, Chief of Party of the USAID Better Energy Project, a five-year, ten-million-dollar project designed to develop and support local solutions for improving energy efficiency in Serbia and raise awareness of the importance of such energy investments, did not hide his enthusiasm after his visit to Valjevo the day before the conference.
“In this local self-government, on a pilot project, we showed property owners in residential buildings all the benefits of increasing energy efficiency. The goal of the project is to demonstrate that energy-efficient measures are possible and financially sensible. We work with local public and private partners. “Our focus is primarily on multi-family buildings because research shows that in such buildings, more than 50 percent of the delivered energy is often wasted,” said Berg.
PANEL 3 SMART MANAGEMENT FOR ENERGY SAVINGS
The third panel was dedicated to the “Facility Management: smart management for energy savings”, in which great experts in energy and facility management participated. However, the moderator, Marko Andrejić, editor-in-chief of the Biznis.rs portal, first asked the panelists to share their personal tricks for saving energy in their homes.
Among other things, we could hear that if we want our homes to be energy-efficient, we should replace all classic light bulbs with LED lighting, invest in home appliances of a high energy class, that consume less energy, replace worn-out carpentry and insulation, and install smart heating systems.
While giving answers to the more expert part of the topic, the panelists pointed out the daily challenges they face as energy management professionals, between the needs of investors, tenants and real conditions.
Dejan Pavlov, Senior Facility Manager at CBS International Serbia, said that there are numerous ways to control energy consumption in large office buildings, but that it always comes to juggling act between investors and their needs to make costs as optimal as possible, and the demands
of tenants who refer to the contractual obligations of investors and want comfort.
“Energy savings are possible, no matter how small changes are, because even the smallest percentage achieved on a large project, in relation to the total investment, means a lot. That is why, before the start of a project, it is crucial to show investors how much investing in green and energy-efficient solutions will bring them savings in the exploitation phase, as well as competitiveness on the market”, pointed out Dejan Pavlov.
According to Vladimir Baić, FM specialist at IREP&West, it is very important for quality energy management to assess the situation and manage it in real time.
“We managed to create a software-technological solution for clients that allows us to monitor the working environment in the entire facility via the Internet, in real time, with the help of sensors. With this solution, we can save the building owner or client 10 to 27% on energy costs. This is especially important for tenants of office space in the IT industry, who are increasingly practicing a hybrid work model, which implies that not all the employees are at the work-
THE PARTNERS OF THE REMHUB 2022 CONFERENCE WERE: AFI EUROPE, XELLA SERBIA, DELTA REAL ESTATE, ALUMIL, CTP SERBIA, LAFARGE SERBIA, GRANIT INVEST, MT-KOMEX, CHARGE&GO, IREP&WEST, USAID AND SECURITON
place at the same time, which is an opportunity for real-time savings,” said Vladimir Baić.
The RES Foundation’s program director, Aleksandar Macura, emphasized the importance of changing social attitudes toward energy efficiency, which must be accompanied by appropriate policy changes.
“Unfortunately, in Serbia, we still have a million households that are heated by solid fuel stoves. That’s millions of cubic meters of wood. 60,000 pieces of home appliances that are not energy efficient are imported annually onto the market. In such a situation, when the consumer chooses between an appliance at a price of 20,000 dinars and an appliance at a price of 80,000 dinars, it is clear that he will not think about the energy-class feature, but about the price”, said Aleksandar Macura.
Nenad Jovanović, energy consultant at LDK Consultants, underlined that as long as the issue of energy and energy products is considered in the corpus of public policies,
under the microscope of the social dimension, no significant progress can be expected. According to his assessment, in the process of Serbia’s energy transition towards green energy and a step forward in the field of energy efficiency, in order to achieve the set goals of the Green Agenda, 80 billion euros are needed..
Two case studies were also presented at the conference.
Ivana Petronijević, architect consultant at Alumil , presented the project of the renovation of the Google office building in New York, one of the largest office buildings in the world, which was supposed to improve the aesthetic value of the building and its energy efficiency. For this project, Alumil supplied the most modern window system and installed 3,500 windows with an extremely high level of thermal insulation.
Nemanja Grubješić, sales director at Charge&GO, presented the first regional digital platform for charging electric vehicles and a mobile application with the network of chargers, which currently includes more than 500 AC and DC chargers at gas stations and roads of the first and second order in Serbia and the region. Considering the expected progressive growth of the number of electric cars in Serbia in the coming years, the installation of chargers for e-vehicles in private or public buildings represents an investment that will increase the value of the property in the future.
GREY HOTEL: A NEW DEFINITION OF PURE PLEASURE
With its refined design, personalized service, top-quality accommodation, and a rich offer of accompanying contents for recreation and relaxation, the Grey Hotel on Kopaonik will reveal to you a completely new dimension of enjoyment in the luxurious surroundings of untouched nature
Located at the foot of the Karaman Greben trail, the Grey Hotel is located in the epicenter of the action, just a few steps from all the key points on Kopaonik. It stands out for its refined design, personalized service, top-quality accommodation, and a rich offering of accompanying contents. From the first moment you spend at the Grey Hotel, you will enter a world of true hospitality, harmony, and special time dedicated only to you. In winter, the Grey Hotel is an undisputed place for passionate fans of snow sports, and in spring, summer, and autumn, it is an ideal starting point for hiking to Pančić’s Peak and other exciting trails that cross Kopaonik.
THE NEW GREY SPA
Take time for yourself. Allow the primal energy of Kopaonik to overwhelm your senses and help you relax and balance your body, mind, and spirit. Strongly inspired by nature, the luxuriously equipped NEW GREY SPA center represents a perfect refuge and an ideal hideaway intended for ultimate relaxation, beauty, harmony, and dedication to yourself. Our treatments, inspired by an authentic mountain location, have been selected with special care to adapt to your individual wishes. Spa facilities and services include a relaxation lounge, an aromatherapy room, a beauty and nail salon, treatment rooms, a health and juice bar, a vitality area with a sauna, foot thera -
py, and a rain shower, a steam room, a Finnish sauna, an indoor pool, and a fitness center.
Get away from the daily grind and unwind in the NEW GREY pools while taking in the breathtaking beauty of Kopaonik through the panoramic windows. Enjoy the peace and nature of a dreamy mountain setting. Swimming pools are great fun for the whole family and a fantastic way to relax and ease tired muscles.
If the strenuous activities on Kopaonik aren’t enough for you, the NEW GREY has a fully equipped fitness center. A complete range of state-of-the-art fitness equipment is at your disposal, including treadmills, cross trainers, exercise bikes, fitness trainers, and strength training equipment.
The NEW GREY ski room was conceived and designed to provide maximum comfort and access to the slopes for all guests. Your ski equipment will be professionally stored in the depot and prepared for you every morning, and a ski technician is always at your disposal. The ski room combines the ski service and the rental service of the world’s most modern equipment for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.
To make the vacation an unforgettable experience for both adults and children, the Grey Hotel offers comprehensive childcare and numerous activities for the youngest. All guests have at their disposal a modern, advanced, comfortable, and safe playroom with various contents adapted to different ages of children.
Within the complex, there is a sufficient number of garage parking spaces that are warmly connected to the apartments, so that every guest can enjoy their vacation carefree.
CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE IN MAGICAL DOMINICANA
The winter months are the ideal time to visit the sun-bathed Caribbean, to feel the fine sand under your feet, the warm sea, and the vibrant colors of exotic fruits. We suggest you start your Caribbean adventure, just like Columbus, in the Dominican Republic, where you'll be greeted with a big smile, a rum in one hand, and a pina colada in the other
The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern part of Hispaniola, the second-largest Caribbean island. Haiti is situated in the western part of the island and does not have a developed tourism industry, while the Dominican Republic is one of the most visited countries in this region. The majority of tourists are Americans, but there is an increasing number of visitors from Europe who seek a mix of vacation and active tourism.
Tourists can visit coffee, cocoa, banana, and mango plantations, taste rum, a local Caribbean drink, visit national parks and hang out with parrots and monkeys, as well as try zip-lining, bungee jumping, and jumping from a waterfall. Cultural tourism is also rapidly developing, and numerous localities are being renovated. Cultural routes are being restored so you can follow Columbus’s conquests or learn how to make rum and local specialties from exotic fruits.
You can enjoy the sandy beaches of this Caribbean paradise all year round. The dry period is from November to April, while there is a greater chance of rain from May to October. However, even during the rainy season, the clouds will just pass without much precipitation. The only period when it is not recommended to travel to the Caribbean part of America is late August and September, when there is a high chance of a hurricane developing. The winter months, especially January and February, are the best part of the year to travel to the Dominican Republic and enjoy the turquoise colors of the Caribbean Sea.
If you travel to the Dominican Republic from Serbia, you will have to stopover in one of the Western European countries. It is best to travel with a layover in Frankfurt, because that way the trip will be the shortest; it will take roughly 15 hours to travel one way with all transfers.
Punta Cana is the tourist center of the Dominican Republic. Most of the international hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions are located here. Punta Cana is located on the eastern cape of the Dominican Republic, where the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet, which is why the sea is full of beautiful shells and colorful corals. In addition to its exotic marine life, Punta Cana is also known for its specific climate due to its location. Compared to other resorts in the Dominican Republic, there is always a gentle breeze here, so the tropical humidity in the air will not bother you.
The coast of Punta Cana stretches for 45 kilometers and is divided into several smaller units. This part of the Dominican Republic is full of name-brand hotels and private villas for rent and is also known as a golfer’s paradise. An increasing number of golf tournaments are held in Punta Cana, and it is also the place with the largest number of courses for this sport. If, on the other hand, you want deserted beaches with palm trees without much crowding around you, then La Romana and the island of Saona are the right locations for you.
A hidden gem of the Caribbean can be found on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. It is the region of La Romana, known to tourists from North America but slowly being discovered by visitors from Europe. What distinguishes it from the popular Punta Cana is that it has fewer hotels and less crowds and noise on the beaches. The Caribbean Sea splashes along the coastline of La Romana, giving the water an even more exotic color.
Here is also one of the pearls of the Caribbean, the magical island of Saona. The island is a national park and a protected area, there are no hotels or settlements, so nature is completely preserved. The gorgeous Saona beaches can be reached by boat from La Romana or on day trips from Punta Cana. The endless golden beaches with palm trees and all shades of turquoise will enchant you on your first visit. You’ll want to stay in this tropical paradise forever, where there are also plenty of activities available, from snorkeling, swimming with sharks, and jet skiing to cooking classes. The Dominican Republic’s La Romana region is home to several Hollywood movie sets, making it possible to run into your favorite movie star on one of the beaches, such as Jennifer Lopez, who filmed the movie “Anaconda” here.
THE WINTER MONTHS, ESPECIALLY JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, ARE THE BEST PART OF THE YEAR TO TRAVEL TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND ENJOY THE TURQUOISE COLORS OF THE CARIBBEAN SEALa Romana La Romana
Puerto Plata (meaning Silver Port), the largest city in the north of the country and one of the most famous resorts in the Dominican Republic, did not get its name by chance. Attracted by the silvery reflection of the clouds over Mount Isabel de Torres, at the foot of today’s Puerto Plata, Columbus decided to explore this area when he sailed to the island, which was later named Hispaniola, that is, Little Spain. Santo Domingo, the first major city to be founded on the island, is still the capital of the Dominican Republic. Other European nations tried to conquer Hispaniola; the conflicts continued until 1844, when the Dominican Republic gained independence. Since many different peoples and cultures have made a significant footprint on the island, the Dominican Republic today also has a large number of cultural and historical monuments in addition to natural beauties, magical seashores, waterfalls, and rivers.
Puerto Plata is a perfect example of cultural tourism in the Dominican Republic. The old town center is home to the largest number of Victorian-era buildings in the Caribbean, and in addition to well-preserved mansions and public institutions, there are also numerous museums. One of the most important is the Amber Museum. The shores of Puerto Plata are known for their amber deposits. Some of the specimens of insects and animals trapped in amber served as inspiration for Steven Spielberg, who made the famous film “Jurassic Park” based on impressions from his trip to the Dominican Republic.
TOURISTS CAN VISIT COFFEE, COCOA, BANANA, AND MANGO PLANTATIONS, TASTE RUM, A LOCAL CARIBBEAN DRINK, VISIT NATIONAL PARKS AND HANG OUT WITH PARROTS AND MONKEYSCayo Arena Puerto Plata Cayo Arena
Costa Dorada, or the Golden Coast, just a few kilometers from the center of Puerto Plata, is the most famous beach, with many hotels and tourists from all over the world. Although the Golden Coast is the most popular, there are hidden spots to discover on the east and west sides of the city. Sosua and Cabarete in the east are small places known for their nightlife but also for the big waves of the Atlantic Ocean, attracting tourists who enjoy windsurfing. Unlike the turbulent ocean on the east side of Puerto Plata, the waters west of the city are much calmer, with beautiful coral islands and clear water. These places are visited by tourists who want to swim with stingrays and other exotic marine animals, dive, or sail on sailboats. One such place is Cayo Arena, or Paradise Beach, as tourists call it. Cayo Arena is located kilometers from the coast, and to reach this natural pool, you have to rent a boat from the nearby coastal town of Punta Rucia. After half an hour of sailing and enjoying the sights of the turbulent Atlantic, you will suddenly find yourself in shallow waters, surrounded by a coral reef and a small island in the middle of this natural phenomenon.
URBAN PORTRAITS HUNTER
Aleksandar Milutinović gained a reputation in the world of photography by taking the most beautiful shots of houses, buildings, streets, private and public buildings, as well as monumental old and new neighborhoods of his native Novi Sad and increasingly of Belgrade. We bring you a part of his work, but also the secret of how to capture the best urban shotsBy: ALEKSANDRA MIRKOVIĆ
Buildings do not pose. The facade cannot make a movement; the city quarter will never be able to step forward or take a different stance in front of the lens. Aleksandar Milutinović, a photographer from Novi Sad who has been “posed” by thousands of buildings and objects of various purposes, is therefore constantly looking for a different angle. He chases the perfect light in the dawn, ready to wait patiently for the subtlest play of light and colors in the twilight—all for the sake of the perfect frame.
He discovered the world of photography as a child, when his grandfather gave him the first analog camera from Russia and instructed him in the secrets of film development in the darkroom in the basement of their house. Naturally, he documented family members in his earliest portraits, but he also included iconic images of Novi Sad landmarks that were the focal points of his formative years, which he spent in the courtyards of Matica srpska and Dunavska streets and Nikolajevska church.
It is therefore not surprising that Aleksandar built a respectable position in the field of photography precisely through the most beautiful shots of houses, buildings,
streets, private and public buildings, and monumental old and new neighborhoods of his native Novi Sad.
For the past seven years, Aleksandar Milutinović has worked as a photographer for the Novi Sad Tourism Organization. He is irreplaceable and a permanent associate of the Tourist Organization of Vojvodina and the Tourist Organization of Serbia. He is also the official photographer of Lafarge Holcim for this part of Europe and the licensed photographer of the only Marriott hotel in Serbia, the Sheraton of Novi Sad. He also received training for photographing hotels from the Radisson chain.
In the last three years alone, he reveals to us, he pho-
tographed the interior and exterior of more than 40 hotels throughout Serbia, from five-star hotels, such as the President Palace, to luxurious Premier hotels, to many in the capital and Novi Sad, to the Grand Hotel on Kopaonik, Fruška Terme complex, as well as hundreds of other accommodation facilities, apartments, but also restaurants, medieval monasteries, events, and manifestations.
“I have always preferred to photograph objects rather than people. When you look at what I do, it may seem disparate, but in essence, it is quite similar. Everything revolves around architecture, around cities, around urban landscapes,” says Aleksandar Milutinović.
He adds that he likes to capture the detail of both the interior and exterior with the same shot. He is transparent about the technique behind his photographs.
“First, I try to record how the building fits into the environment, to highlight some interesting angles and positions with a photograph. Often, the building itself appears different through the lens than it does in the real world. Of course, the play of light and certain reflections, colors, and tones are important. I always look for something specific that will make the photo different. My intent is to give people a new view of what they see with the naked eye as they pass by the building every day,” says Aleksandar.
He admits that he has always been attracted to the pictures of old Novi Sad that show a city that no longer exists.
He notes that the urban profile has changed in less than three decades. As an example, he cites the settlements of Grbavica or Nova Detelinara, which today are neighborhoods networked with modern multi-story buildings and which he remembered, through his memories and photographs, at the beginning of his career as typical lowland settlements with narrow, single-story houses.
Last year alone, he photographed 193 events, and according to Google Maps statistics, he was in Belgrade about 130 times. He is excited to take on the challenge of working with architects and designers because he enjoys working hard.
“In the course of my profession, I encounter skilled architects and bureaus who, as far as I can tell, adhere to global trends. In light of that, I believe Serbia has a bright future re-
garding tourism, hospitality, and architecture. I like the way that everything is moving in the hotel business. I believe we have improved to the level of Europe, if not exceeded it,” Alexander observes.
Although he has been professionally engaged in photography for a full decade, since 2012, he does not agree to a compromise that would entail renouncing creativity. Nor is he an advocate of excessive use of various photo tools or of faking.
“Every city might appear to be a global metropolis when taken from specific perspectives. For instance, when two-kilometer-diameter areas are captured in a single image using enormous zoom lenses and night lighting, the result is stunning. Completely unreal,” says Aleksandar Milutinović.
On one topic, however, Aleksandar was a little taken aback. More precisely, he admitted with a smile that it
NOVI SAD THROUGH THE LENS FOR 365 DAYS
was difficult for him to answer. We asked if we could expect an exhibition.
“I have more than two million photos in the archive. It is planned this year. I just don’t know exactly when. It’s a big task. It requires time for selection, which is why I’ve been saying until now: Let others present, I’ll do the work,” he says.
He revealed to us one of his unfulfilled artistic desires: “Give me a camera and leave me in Rome for six months!”
The Facebook page “Novi Sad through the lens for 365 days” (original: Novi Sad kroz objektiv 365 dana) was launched by Aleksandar in 2015. Every day he published two photos: one daytime photo and one nighttime photo. It goes without saying that he took photos every day. “Drones weren’t used that much at that time, so I climbed up on multi-story buildings and roofs to take photos from those positions, most often at dusk or dawn. The landscapes were extraordinary. Very quickly, the page gained thousands of followers,” he says.
A year later, in the official monograph of the city of Novi Sad, which is still an official gift for high-ranking delegations, almost 95 percent of the photos are Alexander’s.
Today, he uses a drone, but not when working in urban areas due to the safety of pedestrians.
I BELIEVE SERBIA HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE REGARDING TOURISM, HOSPITALITY, AND ARCHITECTURE. I LIKE THE WAY THAT EVERYTHING IS MOVING IN THE HOTEL BUSINESSPorto Montenegro Novi Sad Stradun, Dubrovnik The Theatre Square, Novi Sad
MIELE APPLIANCES FOR THE KITCHEN OF THE FUTURE
The Miele company was founded 120 years ago in Germany with the aim of making essential household chores easier and raising the overall quality of life to a new, higher level with the quality of its products and innovative functions. Miele products are thoroughly and precisely tested for a service life of 20 years. All appliances are designed to save energy, conserve natural resources, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
GENERATION 7000: THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY
The new generation of Miele 7000 built-in appliances features the latest technology and guarantees perfect results. Intuitive controls and custom functions help the user concentrate on what matters most when cooking, which is creativity. Generation 7000 is distinguished by a timeless design with clear lines, perfect performance, and the highest quality, and is free of unnecessarily minute details.
TWOINONE INDUCTION HOB WITH INTEGRATED HOOD
Oscar Wilde said: “I have the simplest taste. I am always satisfied with the best.” This is the principle on which all Miele built-in kitchen appliances are based, and one of the most sought-after is the Miele TwoInOne Silence, an induction cooktop with an integrated hood of minimalist design and exceptional suction power. In addition to intuitive functions that guarantee superior culinary results, Miele induction hobs consume less energy than gas and traditional electric hobs, while the extractor hood with the ECO motor saves up to 70% of energy compared to conventional extractor motors. The new Silence engine reduces the noise level by about 25% compared to previous models.
A COMBINED STEAM OVEN FOR SIMPLE AND HEALTHY FOOD PREPARATION
This multifunctional appliance offers the possibility of steam cooking, traditional baking, and a combined method of preparing meals. It is easy to use, and the most important advantage is that it is an easy and healthy way of cooking. DualSteam cooking technology is energy efficient and helps preserve the natural taste of food, retaining up to 50% more vitamins and minerals in food.
The Miele combined steam oven also shows its versatility when it comes to the combination of moist and dry heating, which enables excellent results in both baking and frying. Another benefit of this appliance is the most recent Miele maintenance solution, the HydroClean self-cleaning function, which keeps the oven cabinet spotlessly clean at all times.
BUILT-IN COFFEE MACHINES
In addition to the different parameters that the coffee machine offers, you can save your preferences when it comes to temperature and degree of grinding to make sure that your coffee is made just the way you want it. Miele coffee machines not only look stunning with their sleek, modern design, but they also make a fantastic cup of coffee every time. A complete game changer for passionate coffee lovers is the patented CoffeeSelect system, which includes three containers for three different types of beans so that everyone can get the drink they want. You can be sure that the Miele engineering team has thought through every detail to satisfy even the most demanding coffee lovers.
BUILT-IN AND FREE-STANDING REFRIGERATORS FOR ALWAYSFRESH FOOD
When it comes to refrigerators, Miele offers a solution for all types of interiors and household needs: built-in or free-standing, of different volumes and designs, with special glass fronts or in the latest black steel color. In addition to the famous Miele design, the new generation of refrigerators has been improved with the PerfectFresh Active system, which combines an ideal temperature with a fine jet of cold water vapor. Thanks to this system, food stays fresh up to five times longer, retaining all the nutrients and vitamins.
You can find out more about these and many other Miele appliances on the website www.miele.rs or in the showrooms in Belgrade at Balkanska
MODERN KITCHEN AESTHETICS AND FUNCTIONALITY
As the kitchen has evolved over time into an integral part of the dining-living space, a place for gathering and socializing while preparing and tasting food and drinks, special attention is paid to its design.We offer you a number of suggestions that will help you transform your kitchen into a fashionable and functional space that both family members and guests will enjoy
The modern kitchen is completely or partially open to the living room area, adapted to today’s fast lifestyle, which affects its functionality, the choice of materials and colors, and the approach to elaborating on details. Despite the fact that the way we use the kitchen has changed over time, its importance in the home has not. In a functional sense, it must be simple, practical, and logical. Ease and availability for quick food preparation are a priority that, in addition to harmony in the arrangement
and relationship of kitchen elements as well as the choice of materials and colors, make it beautiful. Of course, the needs and habits of clients are very different, and before any design, it is necessary to listen to and understand them well. Clients often cannot even imagine what possibilities they have or how to realize what they would like, so they sometimes need help understanding their own needs. That is why the first step of getting to know and understand each client is critical in order to find the best possible solution for their
OPEN KITCHEN CONCEPT
The position of the kitchen is mainly determined by the position of the entrance. It should be relatively close to it but also sufficiently sheltered. There are no fixed rules. The kitchen is mostly the first point of contact with the living area, and, in an aesthetic and functional sense, it is an inseparable part of that area. Even when we had a request to completely
close the kitchen, visual contact with other rooms was preserved through transparent glazed surfaces. The technological development of increasingly high-quality fittings has made it possible to quickly and easily completely hide kitchen cabinets with accordion doors, packed into kitchen elements. This is a trend that is steadily gaining popularity.
KITCHEN ISLAND AS A GATHERING PLACE
In addition to the functional requirement that the island, as a contact between the kitchen and the dining room or living room, partially visually obscures and physically defines one part of it, it has the role of communicating with and connecting the kitchen with the living-dining area in several ways. In the form of a tasting counter and showcase for kitchen accessories and
drinks, often in the form of a mini library, the kitchen island is increasingly common, often with an integrated smaller table for quick meals as well. The atmosphere that is created around it while, on the one side, someone is preparing food and, on the other, others are tasting it and communicating has become imperative when creating the kitchen space.
INSTEAD OF A BAR COUNTER, A MINI DINING TABLE
As an extension of the kitchen island and a more developed variant of the bar counter, there is often a need to design a mini dining table that rests on the counter itself. The use of the kitchen island for dining for the whole family has become more
common, so its transformation with an addition in the form of a mini table is a logical functional sequence. In smaller flats, it is regularly the only dining space, and in bigger apartments, it is frequently utilized more often than the actual dining room.
The palette of finishing materials used in the kitchen is diverse and depends on the place where it is installed. The most demanding positions are worktops, due to the need for a high degree of resistance to temperature, wear, and porosity. Many marbles that look wonderful are not practical because they show traces of use after a short time. Because of this, granite ceramics are implement-
ed as an alternative, with designs that are true to natural stone. In addition to standard processing in ceramics and stone, resistant artificial materials like quartz, compact, glass (or mirror), microcement, and heat-treated wood are often used. Cabinet fronts and bodies are mostly made of lacquered or veneered MDF, glass, and refined chipboard, and there is no limit to the combination.
Lighting plays a very important role in creating the experience of life and work in the kitchen. In addition to functional lighting (in the architectural sense), there is also decorative lighting, whose role is to illumi-
nate a certain zone but also to create a visual experience of the space. Working with professionals is necessary for effectively designed lighting, and we create various scenarios with them.
The option of leaving food supplies for food preparation is always welcome, so the storage area is one of the standard parts of the kitchen when designing. The need for them has grown significantly as the tendency for small kitchen pantries to be absent from the design of residential units has increased, either due to the lack of space in small apartments or due to expensive
square footage. Today, the pantry is most often hidden behind tall kitchen elements, next to built-in refrigerators, above and below the builtin oven, or in parts of the kitchen island. The pantry is often equipped with rich and useful, carefully designed hardware for sorting food, all with the aim of making the interior of the kitchen elements easier and more transparent.
FEBAL CASA MODULAR KITCHENS’ AVANT-GARDE CHIC
The high-end kitchens of the Italian brand Febal Casa have recently become available in Serbia, boasting a unique design, impeccable quality, and endless modular solutions tailored to refined aesthetics and a modern lifestyleFEBAL CASA By: ANA KRALJ
Since its foundation in 1959 until today, the Italian furniture manufacturer Febal Casa has been positioned on the international market as one of the most recognized brands in the sector of modular kitchens. Febal Casa modern kitchens are synonymous with impeccable design, top quality, and modular solutions. Following new market demands and trends, Febal Casa kitchens year after year offer new designs and avant-garde solutions for the home for clients who are not ready to compromise when it comes to furnishing the most important room in their home.
What differentiates Febal Casa from other kitchens are the details and exclusive elegance expressed through the adoption of the Total Living production philosophy, where the use of finishes, accessories, and materials can be applied to all elements. Following the wishes of customers, Febal Casa, in cooperation with the best Italian designers, has expanded its Total Living range to include living rooms, bedrooms, and offices, which, like kitchens, are produced in one of the most modern and largest factories in Europe.
More than 100 stores in Italy and 200 worldwide make up the wide distribution network of the brand, chosen not only by end consumers but also by designers and architects for their residential and commercial
projects. Recently, the exclusive products of the Febal Casa brand are also available in Serbia, thanks to the Mermeta company as a general representative. The only showroom in the region is located in New Belgrade, where the key segments of the entire range are displayed on an area of 160 m2 in several ambient units. Febal Casa Belgrade offers complete interior furnishing in accordance with the Total Living concept promoted by the brand. Thanks to software for creating solutions for modular furniture and complete interiors, the process of designing and creating an offer is significantly shortened, which leaves more time for details.
We have selected a few lines from the wide range of classic and modern Febal Casa kitchens that will satisfy even the most sophisticated requirements with their design and functionality.
The MODULA collection portrays a kitchen, made up of unique items, technological details and innovative finishes in a design featuring unlimited possibilities and compositions. Elegant settings for seamlessly integrated kitchen layouts to be enjoyed every day.
MODULA LINE is the collection characterised by the understated, elegant design of the door with a groove handle opening. A functional choice which adds a minimalist allure to the composition thanks to the seamless layout of the surfaces.
The TRACCIA collection is a signature of style, the perfect rendezvous distinguished by class, versatility and elegance. Attention to detail, revisited evergreen lines and new experimentations shape unique compositions for our ideal daily setting.
Contemporary with a vintage feel, the CLASS line enhances the most exclusive settings thanks to the combination of sober and chic elements, creating an atmosphere of timeless sophistication.
ERA is a modern kitchen where the handle attached to the top of the door defines new forms of design. The collection is ergonomic and practical for use thanks to
the modular elements, which can be installed in different positions: between the top and wall unit, wall-mounted, or on an island.
EGO is the Febal Casa kitchen that focuses on its essential shape, directing the attention towards all the accessories that enrich it. Handles, peninsulas and storage elements are used as jewels designed to amaze.
CHARME 37, a linear and modern kitchen characterized by an overhead shaped door with an ergonomic 37° inclination which becomes a handle at the same time. The door 37° inclination is a strong distinctive element in terms of aesthetics, ensuring maximum ergonomics.
KALEIDOS is a kitchen that expresses the concept of living with openness and flexibility, offering aluminum structures anchored to the wall or ceiling.
When the cleanness of the geometric lines merges with the practicality of the door handle, this is the spirit of ARIA, an elegant and essential model. A concept of aesthetics that finds its personality in the handle, thus becoming the protagonist of your kitchen space.
MEMORY is the perfect interpretation of the return to a more traditional style, increasingly seen in contemporary design. The many different personalities of this model emerge especially through the use of finishes: a palette of
decorative woods and matt and glossy colors, make endless room for individual creativity.
Febal Casa Showroom Beograd
Aleksinačkih rudara 39 Đ, 11070
+381 63 77 33 937
www.febalcasa.com/en/ Instagram @febalcasabeograd
THE SEDUCTIVE MAGIC OF SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS
The magical refraction of Swarovski crystals has always enchanted, seduced, and brought good energy and endless pleasure to everyone who adorned themselves with this exceptional jewelry. Swarovski jewelry fashion pieces, whether classic and timeless or designer, have become an indispensable part of our lives, complementing our outfits and making us feel more confident, dominant, and complete. The entire range of products satisfies the tastes of even the most refined ladies, and the selected pieces of jewelry are finding more and more interest among men as well, with watches encrusted with grandiose dark shades of crystal still being their number one choice.
ETERNAL-LASTING CHRISTOFLE SILVER
Gifts made of the most famous European Christofle silver present a centuries-old tradition and impeccable elegance, while masterful hand-crafting guarantees top quality. Bar equipment, cufflinks, or classy accessories for the office are the ideal choice for every stylish man. The ladies will be delighted with the exquisite photo frames and decorative shelves, boxes, and bowls that will be filled with favorite memories. Each piece of this top-quality silverware will leave a mark of our existence for the eternal duration of the chosen gift.
VILLEROY & BOCH MODERN DECOR
The flawless translucency of porcelain translated into contemporary design and modern decor characterizes the distinctive products of this famous German brand. A large number of different collections provide the certainty of choosing a gift for each dear person. Crystal bottles and decanters, sets of glasses for various drinks, coffee mugs with a message, and ashtrays will please men, while decorative vases, various bowls, candle holders, as well as decorative pieces of porcelain that will enhance the living space are reserved for ladies.
THE IMPECCABLE ELEGANCE OF THE WEDGWOOD TRADITION
Elegance and uniqueness, along with high-quality materials and classic aesthetics, characterize the products of British brands with a centuries-old tradition.
If Wedgwood is your choice, it is certain that every lady will glow with pleasure if she gets for a gift a tea cup of romantic decor in vibrant colors or one of the silver-plated decorative items signed by Vera Wang. Men are delighted with traditionally cut crystal drinking sets as well as classy and elegant coffee mugs, specially designed to satisfy refined tastes.
THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF PARIS
We take you to "Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole," one of the oldest cafés in the City of Light and an Instagram star, whose walls are made of the same stone as Notre Dame and where it looks as though Napoleon will be stopping by any moment for lunch
The Île de la Cité (City Island), an oblong adrift on the beautiful, blue Seine, gave birth to Paris as we know it today. In this small area with a rich history, some of the most beautiful and significant buildings of the City of Light are located, among them Notre Dame, the Concierge (Palace of Justice), the Holy Chapel, but also one of the oldest catering establishments. And that’s what it’s called: “In old Paris.” Or, in the original, “Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole.” The second part of the name is related to the nearby Arcole Bridge, which got its name in honor of the Battle of Arcole in 1796 and Napoleon’s great victory against the Austrians. However, according to the chroniclers, this café is much older than the well-known military commander.
The charming place is not only an urban legend in itself but also one of the best-kept secrets of Paris. In other words, it doesn’t get many visitors, and
you will only find it if you know what you are looking for and where to look. The short, narrow street of Chanoinesse (translated “street of priestesses or nuns”), right next to Notre Dame, is not one of those you will fall in love with at first sight, and it is unlikely to catch your attention if you pass through, unless you know that “Au Vieux Paris” is located in it. The place is widely known for its facade, which is barely visible from the luxurious wisteria. The year of construction, 1512, is engraved somewhere on the wall—five whole centuries plus one decade. The house belonged to a complex of religious buildings built around the famous cathedral and was intended for clergy, as the name of the street suggests. Some 230 years later, it became the private property of a prominent citizen, who decided to open a wine cellar and something that could be called a bar right there. It soon became an “auberge,” an inn with lodging, the forerunner of today’s hotels. In the
middle of the 18th century, the tale of this café thus began to be told.
In terms of hospitality, “Au Vieux Cafe” is considered the last of the Mohicans since, by some miracle, it was spared the urban renewal of Paris, which in the second half of the 19th century, under the direction of Baron Haussmann, almost completely changed the face of the French capital. If you happen to think that the location is unsightly, keep this in mind. Looks can be deceiving... When you understand what kind of story it hides, you will want the walls to speak, for the old blocks to unfold like a stage in a theater and show you some scenes from the time of the French First Republic.
And when you return to the present, in the era of digital miracles, it will become crystal clear why “Au Veiux Paris” is a big star on Instagram. There is no influencer who has not taken a picture in front of the photogenic exterior, especially during spring and early summer, when the wisteria shows itself in full glory. The interior, which has maintained its historical authenticity, is stunning as well. Low vaults, beams, and fabric on the ceiling; fireplaces with in-
teresting ornaments and relief details; porcelain dishes, crystal glasses, vintage photos... Many things have been preserved since ancient times, and some were acquired by their current owners in antique shops. Knights, soldiers, and figures of horses and dogs almost come to life and take you to another, long-forgotten world. It is a valuable treasure for lovers of history, art, and legends.
Another curious fact is that the earliest portions of the house were built from the same stone that was used to construct Notre Dame. If the walls could speak, perhaps they would whisper something about the guests who once stayed the night in the inn as you enjoy your meal or glass of wine. The upstairs booths played a different role for centuries—they were rooms for intentional travelers, couriers, priests, and bohemians. Perhaps some ladies of the night... It was an ideal accommodation for everyone who wanted to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to rest or have a good time.
The rooms on the first floor are, just like in the past, lined with red fabric, which also adorns the ceiling, with the exception of one room in mustard
color. There is a comfortable bed, just in case a guest drinks too much wine and can’t guess the way home. Napoleon’s soldiers may not have sat at the tables, but the waiters joke that they remember the meetings of members of the Resistance Movement, who gathered here in secret during the Second World War. The seven-meter-high wisteria tree is also an attraction. A plant whose beautiful purple flower clusters seem to have been stolen from the gardens of paradise is rarely seen in Paris, so the city authorities de-
POTTED RABBIT AND BRANDIED PRUNES
cided to put it under special protection since the one that belongs to the café is the oldest. If you visit the Île de la Cité in the middle of summer, which can be unbearable, especially when the mercury in the thermometer exceeds 35 degrees, we recommend that after visiting Notre Dame you sit at one of the tables on the sidewalk and enjoy the shade of a wonderful plant from the creeper family. You can also go up to the terrace, where you can enjoy the view of the cathedral towers.
Unlike some other popular bars in the City of Light, you usually don’t have to wait in line for a table at the “Au Vieux Paris”. Even when it’s crowded, there are still open tables available. The menu includes traditional specialties from different French regions, presented in a modern manner. Whatever you order, you won’t go wrong. The stars of French cuisine dominate: snails, foie gras (a luxurious delicacy made from duck or goose liver), scallops, Provençal-style mussels (in a cream broth), onion soup with cheese, a must-have dish for lunch for local gourmets, duck breast in cherry sauce, potted rabbit, seafood carpaccio... Treat yourself to favorite local desserts such as crème brûlée, apple tart, or brandied prunes with vanilla ice cream. The wine list is also excellent and features selections from the top domestic wineries.
MASERATI HAS ARRIVED IN SERBIA
The company Delta Automoto, which operates under the umbrella of the Delta Auto Group (Delta Holding), signed an exclusive contract with the luxury car manufacturer Maserati from Modena, thus becoming the official importer, distributor, and authorized servicer of the prestigious Italian brand for the territory of Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Aleksandra Djurdjević, general director of Delta Auto Group and vice president of Delta
Holding, stated that by signing the contract with Maserati, Delta Automoto became the first domestic Serbian company to expand its business operations into European Union countries. “As the market and customers provided clear signals, we estimated that our market is completely ready for a luxury brand like Maserati,” Aleksandra Djurdjević explained, announcing that Maserati will open a showroom in Belgrade this year to the highest standards.
A NEW RIMAC SHOWROOM OPENED IN BRUSSELS
Anew Rimac showroom has opened its doors in Brussels, Belgium. The new impresive urban customer space – created by luxury car specialist D’Ieteren in collaboration with the Rimac team – is another milestone moment in the incredible growth of the Rimac brand. Finished to reflect Rimac standards, including a cutting-edge Nevera configurator, the Brussels showroom fuses state-of-theart tech with atmospheric design and lighting aesthetics that tap into the core of Rimac’s DNA. With the opening of the Brussels showroom, D’Ieteren became the 23rd global dealer partner for Rimac Automobili.
THE SUN, MOON & STARS STORE TO BE OPEN AT THE SC GALERIJA
As of mid-February, in SC Galerija, a new store opens in the Sun, Moon & Stars chain, the official and exclusive distributor of high-quality home furnishing products made of the highest quality porcelain, crystal, silver, and chromed steel from the portfolio of renowned global companies. The store is designed as a luxury multibrand con -
cept store and will include all the prestigious brands represented by Sun, Moon & Stars: Villeroy & Boch, Rosenthal, WMF, Swarovski, Christofle, Meissen, Wedgwood, Royal Albert, Royal Doulton, Riedel, Robbe & Berking, Bernardaud, Hermès, Saint Louis, Lalique, Richard Ginori, and others. The store is located on the ground floor of GF. 102 at entrance C.
TIME FOR SPEED FOR CAR AND JEWELRY LOVERS
Tiffany & Co. presented watches from the Time for Speed collection, inspired by racing cars from the 1950s. The watches have real stainless steel wheels with rubber tires. The time is displayed in five-minute increments on a stainless steel hatch on the side of the car. Positioned in the cockpit, where the driver would normally sit, is a large glass-domed clock movement. The watch features a radiator-style grille with the Tif-
fany & Co logo, and the hood features a large “5” to represent the company’s flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The time can be set by turning the three-spoke steering wheel counterclockwise. The watch is made of aluminum, has the famous Tiffany blue shade, and weighs 4.6 kilograms. The cheaper model is available for $40,000, while the more expensive model, with brilliant diamonds, costs $215,000.
THE METROPOLITAN RESTAURANT AT THE HYATT REGENCY BELGRADE IS RECOMMENDED BY MICHELIN
For the second year in a row, Belgrade’s gastronomic offer has been recognized for its quality and diversity. In the Michelin Gastronomy Guide for 2023, there are a total of 17 restaurants in the capital, among them the Metropolitan restaurant within the Hyatt Regency Belgrade hotel.
With a uniquely convenient location in the heart of New Belgrade’s business district, Metropolitan Restaurant provides an exemplary environment for a delectable meal with exceptional service. International cuisine alongside various local specialties provide a rhapsody of flavors, in combination with the best quality wines from Serbia, the region, and worldwide.
For more details, please contact on: +381 11 301 1140.