Story of the Estonian Chair

The exhibition by ESL examines the history of Estonian furniture chronologically and via style history from the beginning of the 1920s until the second decade of the 21stcentury. The Estonian National Museum will be exhibiting iconic chairs that can be found in public spaces and in many homes, as well as chairs once popular but lesser known to people today.

'These are chairs that have made history in domestic furniture design – as both unique items and industrial products,' said Harry Liivrand, one of the exhibition’s curators. 'We chose chairs without which we simply couldn’t imagine our design history, and chairs whose uniqueness is a symbol of time, since limited possibilities determined the number of the chairs produced.'

The exhibition will showcase chairs from famous interiors, such as the chamber of the parliament of Estonia (1920s), a society house in Tallinn (Tallinna Seltskondlik Maja, 1920s), the administrative building of Kadriorg Palace (1930s), the Pegasus café in Tallinn (1960s), the assembly hall of the University of Tartu (1960s), Tallinn Town Hall (1970s), the Eeslitall restaurant in Tallinn (1980s) and the Estonian embassy in Beijing (2010s).

However, the exhibition will also include products made by large furniture manufacturers, such as plywood chairs from the Luther factory in Tallinn, furniture designed by Jaan Siirak for the Viker factory, products from the Standard integrated furniture factory in Tallinn, as well as items by Tarmeko and Mang. Creations by village carpenters will also be displayed, as they also form part of the history of the Estonian chair.

The exhibition will mostly showcase chairs from private collections, but also from the collections of the Estonian National Museum, the Museum of Estonian Architecture and the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design. The attractive layout of the exhibition sees the chairs reunited with the rooms for which they were created.