Today, on October 14, Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand opened the new building of the Estonian Embassy in the Kensington and Chelsea district at 44 Queen's Gate Terrace.
Foreign Minister Kaljurand stressed in her speech held at the official opening ceremony that the opening of the Embassy is an important event for the Foreign Ministry, but also more broadly for all Estonians. One of the main reasons, why the decision was made to move to a new building, was the need to provide better consular services to the citizens living and working in the United Kingdom. "I am delighted that the larger rooms make consular reception much easier and faster," the Foreign Minister said.
The new Embassy building has an important role in promoting bilateral relations between Estonia and the United Kingdom. "Although relations between the two countries are very good, close and constructive, I still hope, that the more spacious and functional rooms will provide a better opportunities to introduce Estonia and make it even more visible in the United Kingdom," Foreign Minister Kaljurand remarked.
Estonia's Ambassador to London, Lauri Bambus said that the genesis of the Embassy building began in 2007, when the Foreign Ministry purchased the building. Pending budget availability, renovation work began in the early summer of 2014 and by August of 2015, the work was completed. According to the Foreign Minister and the Ambassador, a very large number of people were involved in the renovation and transformation processof the Embassy building. "We would like to sincerely thank all those who have contributed to the creation of this small piece of Estonia in the centre of London, which now exists in the form of this beautiful building," the Foreign Minister Kaljurand and Ambassador Bambus emphasized.
Photos of the opening of the new Embassy building: https://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/
The street where the Embassy is located was constructed between 1851 and 1855 and the house itself was built in 1857. Queen's Gate Terrace was one of the streets in a new neighbourhood built for the world exhibition in London in 1851. The neighbourhood was developed by William Jackson. The house represents the Neo-Classicist style of architecture characteristic of the mid-19th century and is under heritage protection. Many of the details in the house, such as the cornices, decor, fireplaces and doors have been restored to their original splendour.
The Embassy’s interior design has been inspired by nature. Estonia is a land of swamps, lakes and forests. Primal nature is without a doubt the purest force, which binds us together and unites our origins. The Embassy is a tiny piece of Estonia in the middle of London and its rooms are adorned with indigenous landscapes like letters sent from home. The marshes and bogs on the walls, chairs and rug; thickets, and birches hidden in chandeliers are the Estonian language, which does not need translation.
The building’s renovations were carried out by MY Construction & Carpentry Ltd. The architectural layout was courtesy of Pelle Sten-Viiburg of the architectural firm Doomino Arhitektid OÜ and Margit Argus, Margit Aule and Kaur Kaarma of the firm KAOS Arhitektid OÜ were responsible for the interior design. The lighting designer was Priit Tiimus of Tipriit Valgusdisain OÜ and the building’s decorative chandeliers were created by Margus Triibmann of Keha3 OÜ. The photographs used throughout the interior designed are the work of Arne Ader of OÜ Loodusmees. Until end of June 2016, a series of abstract paintings by Sirje Runge entitled "Arhitektoonid" (1989) will be on display in the Embassy's hall. Contrabass player Siret Lust, who is studying in London, will perform at the opening.