For those who still haven’t been to the premises of the old Helios Cinema, the design exhibitions on display there give a great opportunity to do that until 27 September. The old and a bit messy cinema is a great place for all design objects. It seems that they were meant to be together and they even encourage us to fall in love with the unusually beautiful place. However, I do not want to emphasize only this compatibility of both elements, I must mention the atmosphere in the Helios Cinema as such – it completely disconnects everyone from their other thoughts, and invites one to concentrate on the curators’ ideas, which, to be honest are pretty interesting to say the least.
There are 13 different exhibitions at the cinema in total. You can find everything; starting with unusual jewellery sets and ending with everyday objects in their most common forms that might even not be seen as design objects at first. Moreover, the exhibitions offer an opportunity to become acquainted with the works of Estonian design students, and also take a look at the designers and exhibitions that have already gained international recognition. One of these well-known exhibitions is the one set up by Belgian curator Oscar Lhermitte. His exhibition No Randomness is displayed in the great hall, and most probably it is not only the best-known, but also the biggest and most interesting exhibition of all. It presents a collection of 19 types of objects, some of which are much older than the oldest guest, but most of them widely known and used. However, the story behind the exhibition tells the exact reasons why they look the way they look. For example, have you ever noticed that all glass bottles have metal caps with exactly 21 grooves on them? Have you thought why it is so? Is that a matter of a designer’s will? The exhibition will answer this question by indicating how small and almost invisible details are given to objects to perfect their functionality. I learned and saw a lot, but the most important thing that I took with me was a different perception of the field of design – I no longer associate design only with a beautiful approach to prettify the environment around us, instead, I also see it as a scientific approach to things, where design elements complement the applicability of the object.
Even though No Randomness captured my heart immediately and definitely occupied a lot of my thoughts afterwards, the other 12 exhibitions are equally worth seeing. Once the guests are done with the big exhibition in the audience hall, they are invited to discover smaller rooms, which most probably were closed to the guests of the Helios Cinema while it still operated. Some of the exhibitions proceed with the popular recycling topic in design, some display traditional Estonian designs, and some come back to design as an element in the production process that renders objects more accessible and comfortable for the entire society. All very interesting! However, when leaving the venue, don’t miss the small staircase leading to a room that probably used to be located behind the screen. In that room, one can see works of well-known Nordic designers, most of whom seem to be inspired by nature.
In conclusion, it’s a must see! Where else can you discover 13 design exhibitions in a perfectly fitting and unobtrusive environment for free?