True design lovers may have already discovered museums, galleries and salons, learnt about Estonian design history and even experienced out the latest creation. But good quality local design can also be found in hotels, restaurants and cafes. The following selection of valued interiors has been put together by Estonian Design Centre.
While on an in depth eye-opening trip, pick up a Design Map
from Tourist Information Centre
to guide you round.
| ||Kumu Art Museum|
Weizenbergi 34 / Valge 1, www.kumu.ee
Architect Pekka Vapaavuori, 2006
Interior design and furniture by Pille Lausmäe
When Estonia's vast, new art museum opened to much fanfare in 2006, it was praised as much for its architecture as its collection. The minimalist interior here is just as noteworthy – proof of perfect cooperation between architect and interior designer.
| ||Museum Miia-Milla-Manda|
Koidula 21 C, www.linnamuuseum.ee/miiamillamanda
Interior design by Maile Grünberg, 2009
The Kadriorg's children's park main building was originally built in 1937 and has had several lives before the children's museum was opened here in 2009 in a much anticipated event. The museum has an exciting and sporty adventure playground feel, all kitted out with a kitchen, slides, rides and expositions.
| ||Museum of Occupations|
Toompea 8, www.okupatsioon.ee
Architects Siiri Vallner, Indrek Peil and Tomomi Hayashi, 2003
An impressive concrete and glass building, designed by young architects, provides the home for a museum that deals with the most emotionally weighty subject in recent Estonian history. Observers will note that the museum's interior has almost no walls.
Karu 16, www.ejc.ee
Architects Lembit-Kaur Stöör and Tõnis Kimmel, AB KOKO, 2007
Interior design by Liis Lindvere and Raili Paling
This is the first purpose built synagogue in Tallinn after 1944 when the old one was destroyed. Instead of the initial idea to build a replica, a modern solution was commissioned from the architectural company.
| ||Estonian Puppet and Youth Theatre NUKU|
Lai 1, www.nukuteater.ee
Interior design by Hannes Praks, Raivo Kotov and Andrus Kõresaar,
AB KOKO, 2001-2005
True to its audience, the interior of Puppet and Youth Theatre is best described as child-friendly and playful. The ceiling lights feature the friendly faces of the theatre's actors, a huge aquarium forms one wall of the restrooms and familiar puppets from the plays can be seen in the lobby. The café here is perfect for a quick snack.
| ||The Three Sisters Hotel|
Pikk 71 / Tolli 2, www.threesistershotel.com
Interior design by Külli Salum, 2003
One of Old Town's best-loved monuments is the Three Sisters, a row of three, peak-roofed merchant houses that date back to 1362. Nowadays they accommodate a 5-star hotel, whose luxurious interior, particularly in the lobby and restaurant, still retains much of the medieval atmosphere. The hotel is a member of the prestigious Design Hotels Group.
| ||Hotel L'Ermitage|
Toompuiestee 19, www.lermitagehotel.ee
Architect Indrek Allmann, AB Pluss, 2003-2004
Interior design of the ground floor by Pille Lausmäe
Designers have taken what was a mundane old building and transformed it into a modern hotel with a highly distinctive copper shell. The contemporary ground floor is now a fashionable space appreciated by both tourists and locals.
| ||Merchant's House Hotel|
Dunkri 4/6, www.merchantshousehotel.com
Interior design by Raili Paling and Liisi Murula, AB KOKO, 2005
Just off Town Hall Square, this medieval building has been transformed into a luxury hotel, with care given to ensure harmony between historic continuity and modern comfort. Many of the details – lamps, pillows, textiles, etc. – were especially designed for its interior. Visitors can see the results of the design work in the lobby café, cellar restaurant and the hotel's Ice Bar.
| ||Hotel Telegraaf and restaurant Tchaikovsky|
Vene 9, www.telegraafhotel.com
Interior design by Külli Salum and Riina Harik, 2007
This building first served as a bank, then housed a block of flats and telegraph centre. The interior is very glamorous in a non-Estonian sense. The so-Slavic combination of black, gold and crystal can be found at its most basic in the restaurant.
| ||Restaurant Bocca|
Olevimägi 9, www.bocca.ee
Interior design by Pille Lausmäe, 2001
Designed by one of the country's most valued interior designers, this upscale, Old Town restaurant combines Estonian austerity with a hint of luxury. Only few design icons, but many furniture pieces were created especially for this ensemble.
| ||Restaurant Chedi|
Sulevimägi 1, www.chedi.ee
Interior design by Toomas Korb, 2008
Chedi is a modern Asian kitchen in Western context featuring a blending of cool Nordic design with minimalistic Asian clarity. The combination worked so well that the restaurant won an annual award from Estonian Association of Interior Architects in 2008 for best interior design.
| ||Restaurant Kaerajaan|
Raekoja plats 17, www.kaerajaan.ee
Interior design by Ruumilabor, 2008
The restaurant, named after a traditional dance, is a modern version of local traditions which are highlighted both in the design and in the food. The interior design is dominated by heritage with soft chairs, based on old prototypes, or even stereotypes. The visual identity of the restaurant was awarded the 2008 red dot award in communication design category.
| ||Restaurant La Bottega|
Vene 4, www.labottega.ee
Interior design by Pille Lausmäe and Kerli Lepp, 2008
La Bottega is a restaurant offering Italian home cooking. The restaurant has preserved historical details, but still has a Mediterranean atmosphere. It is stocked to the top with wine shelves and features dark-stained ceiling and white walls. Dense light chandeliers and chequered tablecloths complete the atmosphere. The restaurant won an award in 2008 from Estonian Association of Interior Architects for best historical interior.
Liivalaia 14, www.mamo.ee
Interior design by Hannes Praks
The keywords at Mamo are speed and health – on offer is healthy but rich food for people in a hurry. The interior design is spacious and bright with big windows and shiny surfaces. The concept is of low-tech solutions which turn everyday, "found objects", into functional forms.
| ||Restaurant Neh|
Lootsi 4, www.neh.ee
Interior design by Kärt Kukkur and Imre Sooäär
Neh, the winter retreat of Muhu island's Pädaste Manor in Tallinn, moved to town from September 1 until May 1. A bistro style foodie heaven boasting Estonia's best culinary team, using local produce from small farmers. Adding value is varied choice of Estonian art.
| ||Restaurant Sfäär|
Mere pst 6 E, www.sfaar.ee
Interior design by Kristiine Lõuk, menu design by Risto Kalmre and Pent Talvet
Restaurant expressing Scandinavian love of local seasonal ingredients in food. The dominating harsh atmosphere is created with simple good old Nordic design classics from decades back.
| ||Restaurant Ö|
Mere pst 6 E, www.restoran-o.ee
Interior design by Pille Lausmäe, 2003
In a great example of a former industrial building being given new life, what was once a cold production space – part of a factory complex in the port area – has been transformed into this comfortable restaurant. The designer has filled the room with a symbiosis of modesty and opulence, where brown and grey hues prevail, creating a feeling of accessible luxury.
| ||Café C'est La Vie|
Suur-Karja 5, www.cestlavie.ee
Interior design by Maile Grünberg, 2007
This café is a place where the style is one of the favourites of the interior designer. Art Deco was her "calling card" already in the 1980s, when the legendary Toome Café was opened. Design of C'est La Vie reminds Toome but is nonetheless, new, fresh, and cherished.
| ||Café Maiasmokk|
Pikk 16, www.kalev.eu/maiasmokk
Interior designer unknown
Just over 200 years ago this charming building on Old Town's Pikk street became a sweets factory and since then has operated as a sweet shop and later a café. Maiasmokk has taken pains to preserve its historic interior. Be sure to get a look at the original painted glass ceiling!
| ||KuKu Art Club|
Vabaduse väljak 8, www.kukuklubi.ee
Interior designer unknown
For decades the cellar of the Tallinn Art Hall has been a legendary meeting place for the city's artists, actors and other creative souls. The club here has had several memorable interiors since it opened in 1935. Its present-day look mostly comes from the 1990s, but many changes have been made since.
| ||Bar Valli|
Interior designer unknown
Valli is probably the only bar in Tallinn with an interior that has survived the times and looks more or less like it did during the Soviet era. And since it was recently put on the list of the city's protected cultural heritage sites, it is bound to remain just as it is for some time to come. At the centre of the wood-covered room stands a typical bar-counter from the 1970s, surrounded by a row of the high bar stools. And nothing more fits there, except for the evergreen atmosphere.
| ||Rahva Raamat bookstore|
Viru väljak 4/6 (Viru Keskus), www.rahvaraamat.ee
Interior design by Villem Valme and Hannes Praks, 2004
There's nothing dry or academic about this bookstore's interior – it features tartan-patterned walls, flying fish, and an oval reading room for children. A trendy café, which has its own contemporary design, shares space with the store and is a worthy meeting point.