La Carmina, the famous culture and fashion blogger, travel TV host, author, recipient of best blog of the Year Award, visited the city of Tallinn in March 2017. She was so impressed with Telliskivi Creative City, Estonian design stores and contemporary art galleries that decided to blog about it.
Now, let's talk about Tallinn. As you can see from these photos alone, this is one hip city. My team and I encountered a burgeoning creative culture in Estonia, which is located south of Finland, north of Latvia, and west of Russia.
Estonia was a "Soviet socialist republic" from 1940-1991 (gaining independence when the USSR collapsed). This era resulted in some intriguing cyberpunk relics such as this apocalyptic steam plant, which has been converted into a creative art hub. (More about this later in the post.)
Telliskivi creative city
If you're interested in Tallinn's art scene, you've got to visit Telliskivi Creative City. This abandoned factory area has been reclaimed as an urban space, and is now home to the biggest artistic hub in the country.
Telliskivi spans 25,000 square meters, and contains over 200 independent businesses and non-profits. The crumbling structures have been converted into an artistic, alternative, public space. For example, the run-down walls by the railroad tracks are now covered in colorful murals. We met Jaanus Juss, the young founder and CEO of Telliskivi Loomelinnak. He talked about his vision of bringing together a wide variety of creatives, in an inspiring co-op space.
Pop-up shops and restaurants in Tallinn
The "creative city" currently includes organic cafes, a printing shop, furniture makers, an antique book store, yoga studio, and childcare center. The residents also run regular dance evenings and flea markets. The entire space is a canvas. As we walked around, we saw giant art installations and beautifully executed murals.
Telliskivi has revolving pop-up stores, which give local designers a chance to showcase their handmade arts, crafts and fashion. In Telliskivi, the possibilities for artistic expression are endless. We passed by ateliers, workshops, a theater, galleries and an architect's studio. We also tasted the world's best dark grain bread — no exaggeration — at Muhu Bakery (Muhu Pagarid). The brown rye loaves are baked fresh, with sunflower, hemp and flax seeds. Straight out of the oven, this hearty Estonian bread is a revelation!
Jaanus took us into one of the buildings that has yet to be restored. As we walked up the stairs, we glimpsed the scrawls of angels and demons. We made it to the rooftop, where he pointed out the first graffiti in Estonia. (Street art was previously frowned upon in Tallinn.) We had a brilliant view of the entire collective, including the bordering train tracks and Old Town.