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

XVI Tallinn Design Festival international conference:

The international conference SOS Design, which will take place within the framework of the Tallinn Design Festival on Thursday, September 23, has this time focused on the crisis topic. The conversation will revolve around the crucial role of design in resolving changes and crises in society. In the context of the pandemic, the role of crisis planning is more important than ever. In addition to the pandemic, there are other global problems that require urgent intervention: the economic crisis, global warming, the energy crisis, poverty, and also the mental crisis.

The conference will feature emergency experts such as Ubaldo Spina; health care specialist Ain Aaviksoo and Alessia Buffagni, who will talk about the need to bring emergency design into design education and Dario Donato with his presentation of a vision of the future spatial experience. We will also hear examples from Mask Architects to alleviate the intolerable climate in Dubai, Paul Mendieta’s presentation on sustainable water management, industrial designer Helene Steiner’s demonstration of products for biotechnology and Henry Glogau's talk on portable solar distiller.

Register HERE!



10.00 Gathering with coffee

10.15 Introduction

Ilona Gurjanova

Moderator / Founder of Tallinn Design Festival / President of Estonian Association of Designers

10.30 “Towards a Resilient Society: Bringing Design for Emergencies into Design Education”

Alessia Buffagni

Ph.D. candidate in Design Sciences / Research Fellow and Teaching Assistant at Istituto Universitario di Architettura Venezia / Research interests in in gerontechnology and design for health and wellbeing.

11.00 “VaccineGuard. How to marry Covid certificates and dignity?”

Ain Aaviksoo

Chief Medical officer / Healthin OÜ / Guardtime OÜ

11.30 “CONTAIN - Rapid-response testing and sequencing labs”

Helene Steiner

Biotech Research Park t/a OpenCell / MDes Bauhaus University, MA Royal College of Art

12.00 Lunch

12.45 “From Design to Live to Design to Survive: Scenarios, Projects and Visions”

Ubaldo Spina

Researcher / Industrial Designer / Design Page Coordinator at "Il Giornale dell’Architettura"

13.15 “Rendering Tomorrow’s Spatial Experiences”

Dario Donato

Founder and Design Principal of Spatialconnection(s)

13.45 Abu Dhabi challenge competition: "I-Breathe Just" for emergency apparatus for Covid cases and “Artificial Breathing Palm Structure in Dubai”

Öznur Pınar Çer, Danilo Petta

Mask Architects

14.25 ArtsThread Graduate Competition. “Deploy - Access to Water”

Paul Mendieta

Imperial College London / Royal College of Art / Deploy Tech Ltd

15.00 ArtsThread Graduate Competition. Portable Solar Distiller
Henry Glogau
Architect at GXN, the green innovation unit of 3XN

15.20 Panel

Moderator Ubaldo Spina

Clothing Design Show D_O_M – "DESIGN IS IN FASHION"

During Tallinn Design Festival an exceptional event of presenting clothing design D_O_M – DESIGN IS IN FASHION takes place. The audience will be part of a spectacular show that opens up brand concepts.

Through attractive and conceptual show D_O_M there are presented clothes that are worked through in the same manner as design products generally. Garment, the closest layer to our body, determine the health, freedom of movement, safety, general wellbeing of a person. Estonian designers always seek for the best innovations and strive for quality in every aspect. Designed apparel is something that lasts, is worth to repair and devise.

D_O_M production
Piret Mägi


Fennecfit focuses on producing durable, sustainable, ethical and long-lasting activewear with an outstanding design. Clothes are made by analysing and following the needs of an active woman: style, functionality and endurance.

The brand is determined to choose recycled fabrics, biodegradable and recycled packaging. The ethical production of the clothes takes place in Portugal and Italy with our excellent partners.

Founder of Fennecfit Birgit Kool: "The people I relate to, and the surroundings inspire me deeply. Throughout time I’ve gotten ideas and inspiration from life around me."

Special thanks to the family, Nicolai, Robin and the Fennecfit family around the world!



“Instead of focusing on her race, age or occupation we visualise a woman who strives to become the best version of herself, keeping her head held high based on her own life values.”

Human Highness is a luxury sustainable womenswear brand that started its journey by creating empowering capes for women - believing in elegance with a touch of a super heroic upliftment.

Being handcrafted and painstakingly tailored in Estonia, collaborating with other female artisans, using natural or deadstock materials, produced by demand with slower pace and off season production. Their handwoven wool fabrics are made by talented women of Kango Textile..

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Merle Saal, Julia Shashkina, Mai-Liis Sipria, Vivika Sopp, Nataliya Sukhorukova, Rita Assor and many others who have helped the Human Highness brand.



Excitingly imperfect, sustainably beautiful and consciously wild: the Cervo Volante brand turns the residual leather of carefully regulated and sustainably hunted red deer from Switzerland and Estonia into unique and durable products. The hides are treated according to the strictest ecological criteria and traditional handicrafts. Thus, they are completely breathable, anti-allergic and always smell good. Their leather is one of the few in the world that is treated so consistently ecologically. Each product carries a commitment to style, nature and heritage. Scars, skin folds and scratches on the skin are like wabi-sabi - traces of wildlife and a sign of authenticity.



It is a matter of choice to make a difference – re-create and re-use instead of waste.

BalticSeaBlue collection is created by upcycling post-consumer textile waste from the hospitality sector. Each piece has been sorted carefully. The fabrics were dyed in different shades inspired by the Nordic sea's greyish blue palette.

Xenia: "I dream that all of us could appreciate the work of others: like the work of the farmer who harvests the cotton, and appreciate the water used to produce fibre. I dream that we learn not to exploit but to collaborate. Not to waste but to create. Not to pollute but to clean instead. I dream of BalticSeaBlue."

Textile: "I am not wasted, I am beautiful."

Shoes of the show by Kira.

Many thanks to Katri Link, Tallink!



Creative director Piret Mägi

Co-organizer Karin Järvet

Staging Anni Zupping

Lighting artist Reelika Palk

Sound artist Kenn-Eerik Kannike

Visual artist Carmen Seljamaa

Backstage manager Anne Rinne

Videos Ernesto Redondo Vergara

Beauty makers KEVIN.MURPHY and Couleur Caramel

Welcome drinks Mionetto and Haage Water

Thank you Woola and Biopakid



Design Talk "I am a designer"

Already for the eight time, led by the
Estonian Designers’ Union, a spirited chat night "I am a Designer" will take place as part of the #Disainiöö  where the beloved creative minds will introduce their work and ways of thinking as well as share their experiences, both good and bad, as it may prove to be valuable knowledge for others in the field.

The evening will be filled with surprises, new faces and fascinating stories!

The creative minds that will perform are:
Kriss Eglite
Karl Joonas Alamaa
Kersti Mikkov
Anna Chirkova
Raili Keiv



XVI Disainiöö / Tallinn Design Festival "SOS DESIGN"
20.09 - 26.09 2021


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"
SEE Full program


Tallinn design festival main partners