Only 11 days before the actual day, we came up with an idea that would add to the celebration event for the biggest day in the country’s history – Kosova’s Declaration of Independence. The challenge was to avoid any instance that would uproar the crowd but would still provide a joyful manifestation that would mark this historical day.
We chose the word NEWBORN to encapsulate in one word everything that the independence was going to bring to the country. We intentionally used English to globally pass on the message of the “newest” country being born.
We created the giant sculpture, spelling the word NEWBORN, that is made out of steel frames wrapped around by 4mm-thick metal sheets. Each letter is 3 meters high by 1 meter deep and weighs roughly 1 ton.
It is painted with durable yellow metal paint that is resistant to all elements. The entire installation is 24 meters long.
We then turned this word into an interactive sculpture, to mark this event with a symbol that would be part of this day and the people that gathered around it.
This would be used as a tool for the people to express all their emotions via the black permanent markers, which we provided during the event. This was to take place on February 17, 2008.
Over 150,000 people wrote on the sculpture, starting with the President and the Prime Minister, on February 17, 2008, the day Kosova declared its independence. Those meaningful signatures became art. The media coverage spanned throughout the world.
Hundreds of thousands of people witnessed it, millions saw it on TV. CNN and other major networks covered it live. The sculpture also made it to the front page of The New York Times, and was mentioned in other newspapers such as The International Herald Tribune, The Observer, Sydney Herald, etc., while the BBC, Spiegel Online and others featured it on their websites. As a result, the media worldwide refers to Kosovo as the newborn country.
This event was featured in various media across the world, listed below:
Kosovo’s PM in independence nod
Kosovo’s giant mosh pit
The Washington Times
Kosovo’s celebration Western-tinged
NY Daily News
Kosovo celebrates declaration of independence as Russia protests
The Telegraph (Australia)
Jubilation and hatred over Kosovo
The Sydney Morning Herald
Kosovo is born to cheers and jeers
Today, this sculpture has become the Monument of the Declaration of Independence of Kosova.
The monument is repainted differently every year, continuously giving it a new meaning. Each year’s theme contains a message from Kosova to the world, portraying its participation and contribution in global events.
For NEWBORN monument changing every year, see:
The Living Monument
The monument received a number of awards in the design category from the most acclaimed festivals around the world, most notably the Cannes Gold Lion Award, as well as featured in AdWeek.
Cannes Gold Lion Award
Silver Clio Award
Silver Eurobest Award
Golden Drum Grand Prix
London International Awards Finalist
One Show Merit Award
Bronze David Award
AdWeek article – Ideas That Inspire
NEWBORN has since become the signature landmark of Prishtina, the capital city of Kosova, making it the most visited and photographed monument in the region. It is considered a live tourist attraction, a work of art as well as a national monument in one, putting it among the very few of its kind in the world.
As such, it appeared in two highly acclaimed design books:
Managing the Design Process – Terry Lee Stone
Graphic Design Referenced – Bryony Gomez-Palacio & Armin Vit
Lastly, NEWBORN was featured in The Design Museum London exhibition titled Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18 from March to August 2018, among the world’s most influential creative political pieces of work of the decade.
More about the exhibition here.
NEWBORN has been an inspiration for many, including the renowned illustrator Ricardo Cabral and the extreme sports enthusiast Snownjeri.
Visit NEWBORN on Instagram
Related project: The Living Monument