New museum exhibition spotlights interiors of Estonia's foreign missions

Estonian Embassy in Helsinki.
Estonian Embassy in Helsinki. Source: Tõnu Tunnel/Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A new exhibition is being launched at the Estonian Museum of Architecture in Tallinn next week dedicated to the interior architecture of the embassies, residences and other representative offices of the Republic of Estonia abroad.

Curated by Karin Paulus in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Interior Architects, "Diplomacy of Space: The Interiors of Estonian Foreign Missions" takes a closer look at the messages conveyed by the interiors of Estonia's various diplomatic missions throughout history and today, ranging from Helsinki and Vilnius to Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Beijing.

Interior of the completely renovated Estonian Embassy in Moscow. Source: Terje Ugandi

Paulus, an architectural researcher, is pleased by how consciously interior architects have highlighted what is typical of Estonia with the help of furniture, carpets, materials, art and atmosphere, the museum said in a press release.

"According to the context, completely different techniques are used — 3D printed buckles in Abu Dhabi, bark and mycoplastic benches in Singapore, chic Europeanness in Brussels," she said, citing a few examples. "Really, everyone skillfully captures the essence of this land that's small, delicious and most excellent like a wild strawberry, as President Toomas Hendrik Ilves once said."

The Estonian Embassy in Singapore was opened on June 5, 2023. Source: Jürgen Randma/Government Office

Designed by Konstantin Bölau and completed in 1933, the first embassy building in the history of the Republic of Estonia was opened in Helsinki. New embassies in Vilnius and Beijing, meanwhile, have helped introduce contemporary Estonia as a country with a modern, bold and educated culture of spatial design, the museum said.

The designs of Estonia's embassies speak of a love of nature, European culture, innovation, humanity, respect for the host country, good taste as well as relevance.

Exhibition visitors will have the chance to take a closer look at the variety of imagologies and identities featured by interior architects and architects including Margit Argus, Eero Jürgenson, Pille Lausmäe-Lõokene, Liisa Põime, Kadri Tamme, Tiiu Truus, as well as Estonian design and applied art used in the country's diplomatic missions.

Triin Ojari, director of the Estonian Museum of Architecture, called this exhibition a magnificent chance to open the doors to Estonian territories abroad.

"In the design of embassies, space and power meet," Ojari said, "And we get a picture of how Estonians themselves want to present themselves to the world."

With support from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, "Diplomacy of Space: The Interiors of Estonian Foreign Missions" is organized by the Estonian Association of Interior Architects, together with curator Karin Paulus and designer Mari Kurismaa and featuring graphic design by Mari Kaljuste.

"Diplomacy of Space. Source: Estonian Museum of Architecture

The exhibition will open at the Museum of Architecture next Wednesday, August 16 and run through Sunday, October 15.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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