Cultural Endowment of Estonia in architecture / architecture 2018 nominee
Eesti Tarbekunsti- ja Disainimuuseum, Lai 17 , Tallinn
Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design 18 Nov 2017 - 11 Feb 2018
Kai Lobjakas
Helen Oja
Graphic desing
Kerli Virk
Catalogue compiled by
Karin Paulus
Paul Kuimet


First of all, it is one of the most elegant exhibitions designed with limited resources that I have seen in the given museum. The exhibition designer Helen Oja represents already the third generation of top interior designers that the Gans tandem have given us in addition to their daughter Riia Oja. An enviable achievement! Helle and Taevo Gans, course mates and classics, who cannot be separated or left out from the history of Estonian interior design, have always stood out for their universal perception of form and space that seemed to be precisely in the spirit of their era as well as ahead of their time. Attentive and patient viewers could follow the couple’s laconic thoughts, projects and daily activities featured on the screens and thus also the development, views, possibilities and dreams of an entire generation. It covered a surprising amount of personal and living material from the Khrushchev’s era to contemporary Estonia. It is a pity that nobody had any material on their so-called community service work, in other words, their participation in countless councils, boards, juries and committees that they took highly seriously and thus also developed the spirit, level and understanding of interior architecture through the given profession. I’m extremely grateful that I have had the chance to live in the given era and to study and work, to exchange views, develop and sometimes also get tipsy with such masters.
Mait Summatavet, sisearhitekt

For close to two decades already, ETDM has hosted the exhibition series Classics with the aim of bringing to the wider public authors whose long-term creative work has been marked by individual masterpieces as well as general mastery. Helle and Taevo Gans are a prominent couple in the Estonian design and interior architecture who have proven to be independent creative spirits while also working on powerful joint projects. Ever since late 1960s, they have played an active role in the eventful history of the design and interior design processes and practices by creating largely Modernist interior design solutions for numerous important works of architecture.

As their long career has extended over decades and interior design essentially tends to be ephemeral, it was quite challenging for us to present it in a format that would speak to the audience and keep them intrigued. So we solved it by providing a static environment with the content in constant movement.

We are highly pleased that we could bring all the material together into an extensive and attractive exhibition and also into a detailed catalogue providing it with more permanent presence.


Kai Lobjakas