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Yugodom: A Retro Oasis In Old Town Belgrade

Picture of Hannah Mirman
Hannah Mirman
Updated: 10 January 2017
In the heart of Belgrade sits Yugodom, a unique guesthouse specializing in Yugoslavian mid-century modern design and vintage décor. A distinctive blend of culture and design, this hospitality experience will transform your Belgrade adventure.
Cobblestone street of Skadarlija just around the corner from Yugodom © Monika Pavlović
Cobblestone street of Skadarlija just around the corner from Yugodom © Monika Pavlović

Amidst the chatter and bustle of Belgrade’s old-town streets lies a unique destination for design-minded travelers. Yugodom, the retro-inspired museum-guesthouse, is a living tribute to Belgrade’s past as the capital of Yugoslavia. Located in Dorćol, the center of Belgrade’s art and design culture, the guesthouse is furnished completely with retro mid-century decor. Yugodom is curated through the careful and loving efforts of Mario Milaković, the talented artist and interior designer. The guesthouse practically vibrates with its owners energy and love for his city’s role in modern design history.

Multifunctional mid-century cradenza © Monika Pavlović/Interior design: Mario Milaković
Multifunctional mid-century cradenza © Monika Pavlović/Interior design: Mario Milaković

Yugodom stands at the corner of Skadarlija, the bohemian district humming with the sound of cafés and accordions, in an untouched socialist-era house. Mounting the sunlit entrance stairs, guests will step back in time and experience the story of a country still ripe in the memory of many Belgradians. Each of the three rooms in the guesthouse pays homage to a different decade in Yugoslav culture and design. In the ’60s room, a record player stands amidst art-glass lamps and plush mod armchairs. Vintage postcards beckon with images of Belgrade as it once was, a fleeting view of days long-gone. A nostalgia calendar of Josip Broz Tito and 1960s Yugoslav movie posters adorn the walls. A spacious working desk accompanied by cult Shell chair by Niko Kralj, whose design is a part of MOMA. Only the luxurious bed and crisp linens are contemporary, marking the comfort and functionality of the guesthouse.

Sofa and armchair in 1970s room © Monika Pavlović/Interior design: Mario Milaković
Sofa and armchair in 1970s room © Monika Pavlović/Interior design: Mario Milaković

Across the hall lies the ’70s room, where posters immortalizing Yugoslavia’s underground film culture, its airline – JAT – and its glamorous actresses are illuminated by mysterious and futuristic glass ceiling lights. An orange CRT television serves as a clever bed stand and elegant stacking coffee tables exemplify the beauty of mid-century furniture design. A guest can relax on the fantastic velour sofa while admiring the spirals of sunlight cascading through the room’s large windows. You may wonder if the chatter of the cafés from the street below has changed much since the ’70s. The turquoise plastic vintage fan keeps mum, but seems to be hiding the answer.

Lepa Brena, music star of 1980s Yugoslavia © Monika Pavlović/Interior design: Mario Milaković
Lepa Brena, music star of 1980s Yugoslavia © Monika Pavlović/Interior design: Mario Milaković

The last of Yugodom’s three main rooms is devoted to the 1980s. A multi-functional space, the ’80s room also boasts a large walkout balcony perched over the sunlit treetops of Strahjinica Bana ulica. A variety of plush sofas invite guests to connect over coffee or tea, converting into additional beds when necessary. Accented by decade-appropriate glass table lamps and orange upholstered armchairs, the tribute to the decade of Lepa Brena – Yugoslavia’s queen of pop – is unmistakable.

Books and memorabilia © Monika Pavlović
Books and memorabilia © Monika Pavlović

In the common areas, Mario’s tasteful influence is seen through subtle details: a book of socialist-era pins waiting to be examined by curious guests, a bouquet of fresh local flowers or fruits from the plentiful Bajloni market just one minute’s walk away. The guesthouse’s décor is always being updated as its owner scours the furthest reaches of his city for forgotten mid-century treasures. Beyond its commitment to design, Yugodom boasts updated amenities and services, promising guests comfort and relaxation during their stay.

Niko Kralj mid-century chair © Monika Pavlović
Niko Kralj mid-century chair © Monika Pavlović

Today, Belgrade retains the soul of a city with a history both beautiful and heartbreaking. It is old and new and full of heart. A city of golden light on stone walls and brilliant dreams of the future. Though Yugoslavia no longer exists on a map, its heart survives in its former capital. Yugodom is at the crossroads of Serbia’s evolving definition of self, celebrating a time of unity and peace that will always remain in the objects and stories it left behind.

Bajloni Farmers' Market across the street © Monika Pavlović
Bajloni Farmers’ Market across the street © Monika Pavlović