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Meanwhile, inside the city, it is worth checking the Culture Factory Polymer. A former Soviet-era toy factory, Polymer was closed in 1994. A couple years later, a group of Tallinn musicians set up their rehearsal space inside the factory. Now musicians fill the 3,000 square meter space with music during the daily rehearsals, the building houses two concert halls, and Polymer has become a member of the Trans Europe Halles network of independent cultural centers. Every year in August, the residents of Polymer organize their own festival, the Culture Factory Festival. During the two-week festival, artists open their doors of the studios; the festival also features exhibits, concerts, film marathons, and dance performances.

The events at the Old City galleries Draakoni and Hobusepea are also worthy of attention; these contemporary art galleries are now focused on the newest in Estonian art, or “art right now.” This is also where very young Estonian artists find a home for their exhibits.

Design Map

In order to get a comprehensive idea of the latest in Estonian design, the best guidebook will be the yellow Design Map of Tallinn, with 56 stops along the way—shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes, exhibitions halls, and objects in the urban environment. Yet the most current address right now is undoubtedly the Estonian Design House, the new home of Estonian design, which just opened its doors. The building at Kalasadama 8 is the only public place where you can view and purchase the best examples of Estonian design, all in one place. Here you’ll find the café/creative club Oot-Oot Lounge. Also, definitely visit nu nordik, an authentic Estonian design shop with a contemporary form, and NAiiV, designer Liina Viira’s unique knitting design salon in the Old City, offering a modern presentation of Estonian clothing traditions.

Don’t miss the colorful vintage hooligan Fankadelik, which has displayed in its shop windows gold and silver mirrored-glass dresses, created in a futuristic style by Estonian costume design supernova Liisi Eesmaa.

Another place you should stop by is the SfääR shop/café in the lively Rottermann Quarter, which has trustfully placed its 20th century brick and typical Estonian dolomite industrial structures in the hands of courageous architects. Experiments by these contemporary architects have placed trapezium-like, black glass constructions on the boring warehouses buildings, and hemmed the facades of the buildings with a materials reminiscent of rusted metal. Here you’ll find a wealth of exciting stores, cafes, restaurants, and art galleries.