In June 2022, Tallinn will host the European Design Festival for the first time. Previously held in other leading design cities like Stockholm and Oslo, this year’s live event in Tallinn will be the first to occur in two years. Celebrating the very best in European design, the festival is also an opportunity to showcase Estonia’s talent and innovation. With Tallinn emerging as a hub of creative activity, the festival will bring awareness to the artistic side of Estonia.
From sustainable hotels to regenerated city districts, these are Visit Estonia’s suggestions for places to visit showcasing Estonian design.
Maidla Nature Villa
Nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2022, the Maidla Nature Villa is a micro-hotel designed to allow guests to experience Estonia’s natural beauty. Located close to Maidla Nature Resort’s 15th-century manor complex, a 50-minute drive south of Tallinn, the hotel is built in a completely secluded area, making it more likely for visitors to spot elks and foxes than other people.
The villa has been built to blend in and cause no harm to the surrounding environment. It is built around birch trees, elevated one metre above the ground, and driven into the soil with seven-metre-long screws. Its multiple wooden terraces help it blend into the surrounding forestry whilst remaining functional; the side of the villa has giant steps leading to the roof terrace, which is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset. The inspiration for the villa came to the owner Ragnar Sass whilst travelling discovering how clever uses of architecture can bring out the best in a location. This 28m2 hotel is proof of how contemporary architecture and design can excel in a small space, where every design aspect counts.
Prices start from £250 per night and sleeps two people. Find out more at: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/maidla-nature-villa
Telliskivi Creative City
The former industrial factory complex near Tallinn’s main railway station was transformed into Tellskivi Creative City in 2009 and is today home to almost 250 start-ups and tech-based companies. Inspired by similar regeneration projects in Stockholm and Helsinki, Telliskivi is now the largest creative centre in Estonia, popular with locals and tourists alike. The area is a great example of innovation in Estonian design; the area has rejuvenated a previously unused area into one of the most exciting areas in Tallinn, frequented for its leisure facilities and contemporary aesthetic. Famous for its array of vibrant and reflective street art, Telliskivi is an eclectic area to shop, dine, drink and socialise.
The Hektor Container Hotel, on the edge of Telliskivi, is a prime example of the area’s regeneration. Committed to sustainability, Hektor Container Hotel’s design seeks to solve solutions to environmental problems that hotel’s face. The hotel has been constructed in the building of an old railway depot, with the rooms created from repurposed shipping containers.
Prices start from £55 per night for a double room. For more information, please visit: https://www.hektorstay.com/container/
A popular Estonian manufacturer of saunas, Iglucraft strives to recreate the country’s historic sauna traditions for modern living. Founded by Priit Kallas in 2014, the goal of each sauna is to create a personal space to relax. Gaining popularity in part through its celebrity owners – pods can be found in the gardens of the Beckhams, Guy Ritchie, and Gordon Ramsey as well as at the residence of the UK’s Estonian Ambassador Viljar Lubi – the iglusauna combines century-old sauna traditions with modern functionality. The huts are constructed with the traditional shingling technique, using natural materials to create an organic form that blends into natural surroundings.
For visitors to Tallinn, it is recommended to visit the Iglupark in Noblessner, a regenerated harbour district. Opened in summer 2021 on the edge of a former dock, the Iglus – mostly individual sauna pods – can be rented by a group of friends to enjoy an afternoon or evening overlooking the Baltic Sea. There is one Iglu open as a bar and others have been made into sleeping pods, or spaces to work.
Prices for Iglupark start at £100 per night for a hut which sleeps two. Find out more at: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/iglupark-igloo-saunas
ÖÖD Hotels – Mirror House
With several clusters dotted around Estonia, ÖÖD Hotels’ mirror houses are ideal for design enthusiasts. Developed by brothers Andreas and Jaak Tiik, the houses have reflecting mirrored walls to create an illusion of disappearing into the surroundings, whilst allowing those inside to see the outside clearly. The newest collection opened in Laheranna, a 45-minute drive west of Tallinn, at the end of 2021. The mirror houses are hidden in a beautiful pine forest next to Ihasalu Bay on the Baltic Sea with many hiking trails nearby as well as a long stretch of sandy beach in close walking distance. Inside is a large and comfortable bed, a well-equipped kitchenette, a toilet and a shower room, cosy interiors and a wonderful panoramic view of the forests. Outside is a spacious private terrace with a barbecue, and own private sauna.
During the global shift to remote working during 2020, the brothers also created a foundation-free ÖÖD office cabin, allowing workers a tranquil space to work remotely. The office is big enough to fit several desks and shelves in and is available to purchase through Amazon.
ÖÖD Hotels Laheranna is available to rent from £150 per night. For more information, please visit: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/ood-hotels-laheranna