September 1, 2017
WHERE THE FOX IS NAOMI: Mokrin House
Situated in Northern Serbia, 5km from the Romanian border and 30km from Hungry, is a co-living, co-working space called Mokrin House. The space takes a new approach to the concept of co-working and provides such a unique and special moment plucked out of time for my remote experience.
Mokrin House was originally built in the 1920s, as an estate for the well-known and respected Novakov family, but was seized and abandoned after World War II. It was left in that state for years and I imagine would’ve stuck out in the countryside, as a relic from a different kind of life. It is a beautiful concept that this stoic old building, that would have stood as a reminder for opportunity once passed, is now part of an incredibly forward thinking vision of the future.
I spent the month with some of my remote family in Belgrade, Serbia, an amazing city for anyone who enjoys eating, drinking and having fun! But upon our arrival, the city team in Remote Year made sure we were all aware of a place a couple of hours out of town, called Mokrin House.
Curious what all the fuss was about, a group of us decided to go check it out and on arrival, we immediately started discussing how long we could extend our stay for.
REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
Serbia has connected west with east for centuries – a land in which civilisations, cultures, faiths, climates and landscapes meet and mingle.
It is located in the centre of the Balkan Peninsula, in southeastern Europe. The northern portion belongs to central Europe, but in terms of geography and climate it is also partly a Mediterranean country.
The most-visited tourist destinations are the cities of Belgrade (capital city of Serbia) and Novi Sad, the mountains of Kopaonik and Zlatibor and the spa towns of Vrnjačka Banja and Sokobanja.
The accommodation ranges between dorms that shoots you straight back to school camp, to luxury rooms in the main building. The service was better than a five-star hotel. They provide three homemade meals a day from ingredients mostly grown on site, and then there’s the homemade apricot jam and the local cheese that somehow snuck into every meal.
The main garden area of Mokrin is blocked off and once you walk through the large steel gate you feel like you’re removed from society and time itself. At one point I was laying on the soft grass chatting to a fellow remote and a truck full of corn sped by the gate, reminding there was a pin to my location and that was this tiny village in northern Serbia.
While on a phone call with the Fox Den, the Account Manager jokingly said, ‘Have a good time in rehab’, but she was exactly on point – the city-life pace denies you a level of calm the country-life provides and at Mokrin, you literally get the best of both worlds. The cherry on the cake was that I shared the experience with a group of friends I’ve become so familiar with over the past five months.
It was an escape from reality, but I still worked eight hours a day. We’ve all become so used to taking a binary perspective to work and relaxation, and at the risk of being scoffed at, I’ve come to realise the two can actually feed each other. It’s true, you can have your cake and eat it too – and at Mokrin, they’ll even serve it with some of their homemade apricot jam.
Mokrin House is a co-working and co-living space in the north of Serbia.
It is located on the Novakov family estate, where Nova Novakov built a humble mud hut in 1872.
Also on the estate is a large, bourgeois house whose original façade has been preserved to this day. It was built in 1925 by Nova’s grandson, Milan, when the Novakovs had become fairly prosperous landowners.
During the post WW2 period, the family was stripped of their land and property and the houses on the estate fell into disrepair and the remaining descendants stayed in the house, living in bare subsistence. Over the following 30 years, the house was abandoned.
In 2008, four architecture students embarked on their first building project, Mokrin House as it stands today; for which they have won many architecture and design awards.