Diplomacy of Space: The Interiors of Estonian Foreign Missions
16.08. – 15.10.2023
Alongside acknowledging the ingenuity of our diplomats, a country also establishes itself abroad through space – embassies, residences and other foreign missions. Without the support of other countries, the proclamation of the Republic of Estonia would have remained a thought experiment. Just as in the 1920s and 1930s, the independence our miniscule country enjoys today is largely thanks to our foreign partners. That is why maintaining foreign diplomatic missions is a vital investment for Estonia.
Considering the fact that an embassy is a piece of Estonia, it is logical that the interior architecture should reflect this. The interiors of our foreign missions state who we are, where we belong, what matters to us. Since most citizens tend not to visit the embassies of their own countries, with this exhibition we open the doors a little, for the first time on such a grand scale, and show what our diplomatic lighthouses look like.
The continuity of our statehood was cleverly kept alive in the West in a kind of hope chest – there were foreign missions with their own premises in New York and London, for example, which illustrated the stories of our people’s desire for freedom and later hastened our return to the circle of credible countries. Since the 1990s, Estonian embassies have been opened and reopened in strategically important locations. The first embassy building in the history of the Republic of Estonia opened in Helsinki; it was designed by Konstantin Bölau and completed in 1933. New embassies in Vilnius and Beijing have helped to introduce contemporary Estonia, a country with a modern, bold and educated culture of spatial design.
The designs of our embassies speak of a love for nature, European culture, innovation, humanity, respect for the host country, good taste and relevance. The visitor will experience the variety of imagologies and identities offered by the interior architects and architects, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
President Lennart Meri said that our diplomats must do the work of ten. The interiors of our foreign missions must be just as effective. In this respect, Estonia’s professional diplomacy of space is unbelievable in the best way possible!
Karin Paulus, curator
Organized by Estonian Association of Interior Architects
Curator: Karin Paulus
Designer: Mari Kurismaa
Graphic design: Mari Kaljuste
We thank Cultural Endowment of Estonia for the support. We acknowledge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the high-level international presentation of Estonian interior architecture and design.
Curator’s tours (in Estonian) will take place on August 20th, September 16th and October 14th, starting at 2 pm.
The exhibition will remain open until October 15.