Mid-century Socialist Yugoslavia hasn’t been remembered as the pinnacle of design. However, costume designer Mario Milakovic’s ‘museum stayover’, an ode to a bygone era in Belgrade, is challenging this perception.
Located in central Belgrade, now capital of Serbia, Yugodom resides close to the bohemian Skardarlija quarter. It is based in a 1960s building, built in a social-realist style for Yugoslav National Army officials and their families. The name Yugodom combines the word ‘Yugo’, short for Yugoslavia, and ‘dom’ meaning ‘home’ in Serbian.
Milakovic sourced objects and the functional furniture from a range of different sources, ranging from friend’s basements and attics, to second-hand and antique shops, online stores and auctions. The stayover combines retro items with modern services and creature comforts.
The décor has been selected to “narrate a story of the past and to provide a chronicle of everyday life through descriptive objects”. Milakovic spend over a year collecting, restoring and curating the furniture, as well as items such as mid-century magazines, records, artworks industrial packaging and memorabilia.
It remains an ongoing project with new items introduced each Sunday, most recently white cups with a blue trim that remain a symbol of Yugoslav hospitality.
Each room focuses on a different decade of cinematography and is named after a movie from that time. The master bedroom is dedicated to movies banned by the government in the 1970s because they dealt with sexually taboo subjects. The room is named ‘Mysteries of Orgasm’ after the cult movie by Dusan Makijavejev, which features Beba Loncar an iconic Belgrade actress.
The sitting room – ‘It’s not easy with men’ – is dedicated to cheesy comedies from the 1980s, while the second bedroom is named after the 1960s comedy musical movie ‘Ljubav I moda’, which translates as ‘Love and Fashion’.
These designs are already becoming popular with young ‘design retronauts” in Croatia and Serbia, but Milakovic says guests have come from Western Europe and far flung countries such as the US, Australia, Africa and Asia.