NewsPRESS RELEASE 20.11.2017
Classics: Helle and Taevo Gans
In 2017, the exhibition series Classics at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design will feature the work of interior architects and designers Helle and Taevo Gans.
Helle and Taevo Gans are a remarkably striking pair in the Estonian design world, having proven themselves as independent designers but also having executed a number of powerful collaborative projects. Since the second half of the 1960s, they have been active participants in the changing climate of the processes and practices of design and interior architecture. As a rule they have created modernist style interior design solutions for many important architectural projects, and have successfully adapted to the creative conditions of the newly independent Estonia since the 1990s.
As young designers, Helle and Taevo Gans took part in the experimental exhibition Ruum ja vorm (Space and Form) (from 1969), and images of their interior design solutions and design pieces have been published in the almanac Kunst ja kodu. Their furniture items can still be seen today in the form of the drawings presented in the almanac.
They moved in parallel towards increasingly extensive creative challenges, which were realised from the late 1960s through various architectural planning offices as well as the Art Products Factory ARS, and have shaped both public and private spaces on the local, Soviet and international scene.
After graduating from the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (ERKI), Helle Gans worked at EKE Projekt (1967‒1976) and later in the design works studio at the Art Products Factory (ARS). She has created a number of signature interior design solutions, furniture items and a variety of spatial design elements. She created several designs for applied arts and consumer goods exhibitions, which were made possible by the intensity of the activities surrounding ARS. Typical at that time, the designer needed to provide almost all the spatial elements and the technical details in addition to the overall solution. Good examples of her work include the interior architectural designs for the Tsooru Centre Building (1977) and the kindergarten for the construction company Pärnu KEK (1978).
Taevo Gans also graduated from the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR in 1966, and started working at the construction company Kommunaalprojekt (1966‒1969), and later at EKE Projekt (1966‒1974) and from 1974 at the Art Products Factory (ARS). In 1978, he was given the title of ESSR Honoured Artist and in 1987 the honorary title of the ESSR People's Artist for his creative work. Taevo Gans started designing as a student when he took part in the creation of several major exhibition design solutions under the leadership of Bruno Tomberg (including the 1965 ESSR printmaking exhibition in Moscow. He designed the display of the USSR Geology Department at the Spokane EXPO and the Tokyo Industrial Trade Fair, the latter two in collaboration with Mait Summatavet. He has also created room designs for Viru hotel and for the restaurant on the top floor (1972, with Mait Summatavet), the Soyuz Apollo Centre in Star City near Moscow (1973) and the Sõrve recreational building of the Ranna Sovkhoz (state collective farm) (1979). One of the most remarkable and comprehensive interior design solutions was completed in 1980 – the recreational buildings for the ESSR Council of Ministers at Valgeranna.
Joint works by Helle and Taevo Gans include interior designs for the dining room of the Tallinna Linnuvabrik (Tallinn Poultry Factory) (1978) and for the Tervis sanatorium (1987). In collaboration with Reet and Tiit Jürna and Taimi Soo, the Ganses took on a major information system design project for the International Youth and Student Festival Centre in Moscow, completed in 1985.
In 1992, the Ganses set up their own company GaDIS, which has executed lighting solutions as well as furniture design and interior architecture projects. Helle and Taevo Gans continue to operate in the field of interior architecture.
The exhibition focuses on the work of Helle and Taevo Gans covering five decades.
The exhibition series was established in 2000 with the intention to introduce authors who have significantly defined and influenced the nature of Estonian applied art and design.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue compiled and edited by Karin Paulus.
Curator of the exhibition is Kai Lobjakas, exhibition designer Helen Oja, graphic design of the exhibition and catalogue by Stuudio Stuudio.
The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.