b210 is an architecture office with a think tank approach to everyday spatial challenges. We believe that positive change in the built environment is driven by a smart design process where architectural ideas are as important as methods of developing them. We like to design ways of thinking as much as physical spaces.

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Exhibition design: DIY Estonia

Rebuilding Estonia through personal initiative and resourcefulness

The 1990s are recalled today as a time of major changes. The decade was full of political events throughout Eastern Europe – democracy made a relatively peaceful return to Estonia, while not all that far away, bloody conflicts raged.

This exhibition explores Estonia of the 1990s from the vantage point of daily life. Life seemed new and exciting, but not easy. Adapting to changes, coping with life’s twists, changes in personal beliefs, the rise of civil society, unprecedented possibilities for consumers, newly open borders, the freedom to talk of the past and to collectively remember what really happened – all of these processes shaped what Estonia is now.

From a sociologist’s perspective, the changes in the 1990s took place on three levels: economic, political and cultural. Each process went at a different speed, so the sequence was unusual. First the state structures were rebuilt, sweeping economic reforms were carried out, and only then did people started trying to live their lives according to the new system. Although the most complicated reform years were brief, culturally we are still getting used to the new era, even now.

“DIY Estonia” is also an exhibition about the experience of different generations. Generations chronologically on the same page can actually live in subjectively different times. And some experiences are shared only with those from the same generation. Estonia saw a rapid shift from a gerontocracy to a youth-oriented society. For many young people, it was easy to fit into the new environment, because the opportunities for those entering the job market were nearly unlimited. Many rose rapidly through the ranks of the civil service, and a new business elite took shape. But some young people also missed out, while on the other hand, a then-recent retiree recalls in an account sent in to the Estonian National Museum archive that the early 1990s were the start of the best years of their lives.

“DIY Estonia” was produced as part of a joint research and cooperation project between several Estonian museums, in the course of which materials about the 1990s were gathered. Museum collections are still far from complete in regard to this era, and thus work will go on. The project is dedicated to the centenary of the Republic of Estonia

25. septembrist 2013 24. septembrini 2014 aitas OÜ-l b210 põhivara ja rakendustarkvara soetada Ettevõtluse Arendamise Sihtasutuse alustava ettevõtja starditoetuse programm.