Estonian Embassy in London
Margit Argus, Margit Aule, Kaur Käärma
44 Queens Gate Terrace, Kensington, SW7 5PJ London
Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Estonian Embassy is situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, an area of London that has a long and a distinguished history. The embassy building is a townhouse from end of 1850s at the Queen’s Gate Terrace. The surrounding area has several other embassies, and the Buckingham Palace is no more than 2 miles away. Characteristically to a Victorian era building the embassy has rigorous neo-classical design with most of the original details still intact. The State of Estonia acquired the building to be the new embassy in 2007 and it was renovated between 2014 to 2015. The renovation project was compiled by Pelle-Sten Viiburg and the interior was designed by KAOS Architects.
In the new interior design all the original details – cornices, decor, fireplaces, doors, etc. – were incorporated into the new. Through finishing most of the interior in white the heavy interior was given a lighter and brighter atmosphere. This bright decor now functions as a neutral canvas to all the other elements that were added to the environment during renovation – the furniture, the light fixtures, textiles, etc.
The new interior solutions set out o create something primal and characteristic to Estonia in the middle of the bustling metropolis that is London. For that reason, Estonian bogs, forests, and lakes were made the centerpieces of the design. The nature photos of Arne Ader have found their way onto the floorcoverings, furniture, and the printed glass. In the design of the furniture and other interior elements the architects relied on the Northern European sober and pragmatic way of thinking – all the objects are frank in the choice of materials and functional in their design. The plan of the project is long and narrow stretching through five floors, all connected by a narrow staircase. The consulate rooms are in the basement, the reception is on the ground floor, the first is for representative events and the last two floors are filled with offices.