Nominee for the annual award of the Estonian Association of Interior Architects 2023
Interior architecture
Kadri Tamme, Harri Kaplan, Mia Tamme, Marleen Stokkeby
Construction
JLL
Commissioned by
Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Photos
Han Jungku Studio


With its clear and distinctive identity, the design is an ambassador for Estonian spatial culture in a major city whose identity and atmosphere are borne out by the warm approach to material and spare, rational treatment and use of space.

Andres Ojari

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This project didn’t just involve the challenge of creating an embassy: Estonia’s first multifunctional entrepreneurship centre had to be designed in a foreign cultural context. The collaboration with the interior architects flowed in a pleasant and professional manner. Through combining natural materials confidently and distinctively, the team led by Kadri Tamm designed this distant piece of Estonia quite masterfully. The interiors effectively convey our clean, pragmatic and close-to-nature Nordic character. This interior will certainly stand out on the Korean interior design scene.
Kristjan Salk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Estonian Embassy in the South Korean capital of Seoul is Estonia’s newest diplomatic interior. The embassy, focusing on economic diplomacy, puts special emphasis on establishing business ties. For that reason, there is an entrepreneurship centre on the ground floor of the same building.

Under the leadership of Kadri Tamme, the interior architects’ team set the aim of creating a design honed to the last detail. In the terms of reference, the interior envisioned had a waiting area, conference and meeting halls and office spaces. It is a characteristic of an embassy’s operations that several visitors have to be hosted and events must be organized; secondly, consular department handles sensitive personal data. The layout of rooms must also enable that kind of interplay between public and private spheres.

The interior architecture of the embassy in Seoul conveys the national character of Estonia and Estonians through materials. Estonian pragmatism and directness has been expressed in an interior that can be characterized as ascetic and authentic. The rooms are joined together with wooden ribs that create an intimate ambience in the embassy. Stone surfaces provide contrast to light-coloured ash wood – limestone or dolomite with a large pattern was selected.

The prestigious furniture and textiles vary in grey and blue half-tones, the Estonian brand’s colour schemes were used, which symbolize bogs, bays and erratic boulders. As the interior architects opted to showcase quality domestic design, we see Eero Jürgenson’s chairs entitled VIPS and lights by Keha3. As an accent, plants native to Estonia have been added here and there.

Since the embassy is located in a 23-storey high-rise building, interior architects had to design this little Estonian nest to be as comfortable and business-like as possible. The result is a quintessentially Estonian wooden and innovative space, which also conveys Asian-style Zen aesthetic.