Exhibition "Expedition Wunderlich: 11 Interior Architects"

Darkness, light, warmth, cold, silence and sound – the ground zero of creating space – are the focus of a mystical experimental exhibition currently open at the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn.

An attempt to speak about space, its creator and its user as a coherent whole, the exhibition acts as an intimate meeting with professionals who create the environments we inhabit. "Expedition Wunderlich: 11 Interior Architects" is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, 1 hour at a time (12 pm – 1 pm).

At the focal point of the exhibition are 11 interior architects and designers who have all graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts’ (EAA) Department of Interior Architecture at one time or another. According to professor Hannes Praks, the current head of the department, the exhibition deals with the fundamentals of space creation. “When you’re studying to become an interior architect, you deal with opposites – darkness and light, warmth and cold, silence and sound – all things you have to be able to master. That’s why this exhibition, a collaboration between the department and the museum, where current students encompass a pivotal role, was created,” explained Praks.

Why was a cellar chosen as the location? “Because the main characteristics of a cellar is actually darkness. And darkness is symbolic in many ways regarding the subject matter of the exhibition,” Praks, whose previous project with the students of the department were the wooden megaphones that captured media attention all over the world, offers an explanation.

"Expedition Wunderlich" is a symbolic hommage to the works and professional activity of Richard Wunderlich (1902-1976). Wunderlich was an interior architect and furniture designer, the first director (1940-1941) of what is now the EAA Department of Interior Architecture, and the first known Estonian interior architect to have acquired a degree in that field – from 1928-1929, he studied interior architecture at the Kölner Werkschulen in Cologne, Germany on a state scholarship. Thus, Wunderlich is a key figure in the development and professionalisation of the field of Estonian interior architecture. He is, in a way, a father of the field in Estonia, even though his direct impact on our contemporary living environment is limited to a mere handful of preserved furniture sets. Probably the most well-known of these is the furniture in the Meeting Hall of the Office of the President of Estonia in Kadriorg (1938).

The projects from the participating architects’ student years – no matter whether they stand as examples of various layers of 1940s–1950s Stalinism or 1960s–1980s Modernism – reflect both the pedagogical principles of the time and broader societal processes. The graduate projects meant to design buildings that were actually getting built are more realistic, balanced, and thoroughly-developed. At the same time, one can observe among the fantasy projects brimming creativity and spatial fantasies that could not have been carried out within the Soviet reality.

The exhibition space design is oriented towards the different senses and creates a whole, which one can enter like a time machine. The viewer is drawn into different eras at breath-taking speed – or, on the contrary, with slow sureness. The interior architects’ and designers’ portraits and clips from their speeches create an image of their presence. Moving exhibition stands help personalise the viewing experience of drawings. The exhibition’s limited opening-hours create a concentrated atmosphere – an incredible, dramatic event-space that unfolds here and now.

NB! Please note that "Expedition Wunderlich" is open ONLY on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm–1pm, i.e. for two hours per week until February 28th.

Participants: Bruno Tomberg, Leila Pärtelpoeg, Vello Asi, Teno Velbri, Mait Summatavet, Taevo Gans, Aulo Padar, Juta Lember, Eerik Olle, Pille Lausmäe, Taso Mähar
Curator: Carl-Dag Lige
Producer: Hannes Praks
Exhibition design: Hannes Praks, Katrin Talvik, Merilin Tee, Sabine Suuster, Martin Saar, Karl Taul, Alden Jõgisuu, Tõnu Lensment
Exhibition venue: Museum of Estonian Architecture

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Cite: "Exhibition "Expedition Wunderlich: 11 Interior Architects"" 14 Dec 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/778769/exhibition-expedition-wunderlich-11-interior-architects> ISSN 0719-8884

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