The XVI Tallinn Design Festival will be held from 20 to 26 September 2021. For a week, the unique festival which centres on different parts of Tallinn will be revived. Read More...

Main events

As the main exhibition of XVI Tallinn Design Festival, SOS Design selectively represents the works of shortlisted designers from the 2020 Global Design Graduate Show and takes place in cooperation with the world's only digital platform for university graduates ARTSTHREAD. Despite a difficult year for the graduates, the exhibition provides excellent solutions from more than 10 countries to curb the worldwide chaos, while also giving hope for the future of our creative industries.

The examples are plenty: developing a connection with nature and increasing urban biodiversity by involving botany in digital architectural production; sustainable water management solutions; projects on disaster relief, refugees, the elderly, violence, agriculture, and even sex life in pandemic conditions.


This year’s festival’s - the main focus of which is to draw attention to the growing social and communal role of design in the world - exhibitions and debates yet again include the contribution of multiple design and architecture schools. The displayed works of Tartu Art School, Pallas University of Applied Sciences, Tallinn University Haapsalu College, University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy and Estonian Academy of Arts all address the search for innovative solutions in an age where there seem to be more problems than ideas. But design education claims the opposite!



Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Tartu Art School has evolved into an outstanding learning environment for up-and-coming experts in the design field. Having received a valuable vocational education in our school, our graduates are ready to help solve complex issues and simplify crisis situations with their design skills. The exhibition includes outstanding works of design from Tartu Art School’s 2020/21 academic year, which are only a fragment of the body of work that has been created during the last 70 years.




The aim of a designer's work is to find the best solution to the problem. When the world is hit by a crisis, it mobilizes both designers and design students. Life may seem to stop to a bystander, but in reality it only means a pause before solutions are found and implemented. A crisis can be a designer's inspiration. This year Pallas's exhibition deals with finding solutions to several problems - unused or wasteful use of materials, forgetting one's roots in globalization, and the design for this year's Design Festival, which got a fresh look thanks to the work of one of our graduates. The success of the solutions is, of course, determined by the post-crisis perspective.




The emphasis in the Craft Technologies and Design curriculum is on people-centered, sustainable design, based on understanding user needs and creative problem solving. An important part of the curriculum is to guide students to entrepreneurship. When creating new product concepts, we highly value sustainable solutions that take into account the principles of the circular economy. All projects follow the principle of "from idea to implementation" and are completed in close cooperation with the target group. The exhibition introduces examples of courseworks and diploma theses.




The Estonian native crafts specialities of the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy combine excellent craftsmanship, knowledge of heritage, and creative thought. Our activities aim to apply the values found in the heritage in a responsible and sustainable way to the service of modern society. As part of the university, we value research and development. At the applied higher education level, you can study in the fields of Estonian native textile, metalwork, and construction, at the master's level, creative applications of cultural heritage and teaching skills.



EAA Accessory Design - Application of Traditional Leather Decoration Techniques on Alternative Materials

New materials are emerging in the design world due to a demand for sustainable and plant-based alternatives. However, it creates a problem for designers who use different leather decoration techniques. In his thesis Anari Västrik tries to find out how to preserve these techniques on these alternative materials, what kind of changes need to be made in the application process and how do the materials justify their usage.

The materials were chosen on the basis of being new or not yet being available on the market - to see how they endure the techniques. In order to present the outcome as clearly as possible an overview is given, showing the application of decoration on vegetable tanned leather from which these techniques are derived from. To truly put the alternatives on a test Anari created a set of footwear, which is the most challenging act towards the material. For his work Anari received the best accessory design student award, his supervisor was Marta Moorats. Used techniques: stamping, cliché print, modelling, marbling, gilding.



EAA Jewellery and Blacksmithing - JOINT

Blacksmithing has been an essential part of architecture, but modern steel profiles demand a totally new vocabulary. During our JOINT course we concentrate on industrial steel materials with complicated shapes that need a new approach to integrate blacksmithing into contemporary cityscape. Every joint is an open possibility that is waiting to become a railing, furniture detail or a sculpture.



EAA research project “Sensorial Design: ​​feel, move, interact

Exhibition “Sensorial Design: ​​feel, move, interact” introduces EAA’s design research project where the new knowledge is extracted from the design process and experience. The exhibition connects recent works of researchers, doctoral students and Master students of EAA which deal with alternative futures of textile, fashion and interaction design. The shown prototypes, for example, enhance the wearer’s self-confidence through sound vibration (in collaboration with TLU), alter the wearer’s self-perception through movement, extend the understanding of empathy when dealing with digital communication channels, and raise the value of mending as well as healing.

EAA research project “Sensorial Design: ​​feel, move, interact"
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Tallinn design festival main partners