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PRESS RELEASE 02.05. 2004
“MEETING PLACES. Café Interiors of Tallinn”.
Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallinn

City Library of Rikhardinkatu, Helsinki Finland
04.05.–28.05 2004

The photo exhibition on Tallinns’ café interiors originally displayed at the Museum of Applied Art last summer, was exposed in a slightly adapted version at the library of Rikhardinkatu in Helsinki in May, supported by the Estonian Institute.

The exhibition approached café as an urban phenomenon, as a constituent part of city lifestyle. In the centre of attention were the recreational places and their interior design - some of the special within the mundane. This simultaneously preconditioned choices of both space and time: Tallinn as the most rapidly urbanising navel around here was selected to be the space, and the 20th century as the time when such development was open for observations by means of the arbitrary notion of “café culture”.

The disappearance of the interiors as the inevitable destiny of this particular variety of design formed the second point of departure for the exhibition. Paying attention to interior design of cafés gives them often an important additional value - not only have the cafés been turned into recreational places, but they form an important landmark within the context of local design art as well.

Space and its user have a controversial relationship: the created space organises our life like ourselves when designing the room, using the room, moving around in the room. Cafés are social spaces with their meaning changing upon usage, upon the interaction of the space and the people. A public room shared with strangers may turn into a private part amidst the common daily life of one’s own. Cafés are equally associated with both the halted time as well as the time drifting by - both when sitting in cafes and when looking back to one’s memories.

Both the speed of disappearances and changes of the favourite places and hot spots, their likelihood to become reincarnated with another identity, and the new cafes emerging on the same customary sites, have been the impulse for compilation of this particular exhibition. In addition to the aspect of design, the relationship of space and memory evolves as an important theme; to take a look into the predominantly disappeared café interiors might have an appeal for both a larger as well as a narrower circle of people interested in interior design.

The exhibition was introduced by the lecture by Finnish historian Kalervo Hovi on the restaurant culture prior to the Second World War. His book on the same subject came out at the end of the last year.

The exhibition was compiled by Kai Lobjakas and designed by Pärtel Eelma.
Supported by Estonian Institute and café “Maiasmokk”.

Additional information: 
Kai Lobjakas
Phone: +372 627 4603

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