SISU “Welcome Stranger!” summons experts, academics and practitioners to take a look at the wider picture

From 1-3 June the Estonian Association of Interior Architects has summoned field experts – both theoreticians and practitioners – to the 3rd International Interior Architecture Symposium SISU “Welcome Stranger!” to discuss about the globally pressing issue of nomadism and its impact and demands on space.

“SISU is the most important event for the field of interior architecture in Estonia and its purpose is to gather experiences and young professionals who are dealing with space, to get involved in the processes taking place in the world today,” says Urmo Vaikla, president of the EAIA and adds:

“SISU is an invitation – a call to action – to get out of our comfort zones and routines of doing client work and to look at the wider picture for those three days.  We want to acknowledge our roles and opportunities as interior architects, designers and architects and take part in finding solutions.”


The opening lecture will be given by Marco Steinberg, curator of the Finnish Pavilion at the XV Venice Architecture Biennial.  Their project is looking for solutions to the crisis of asylum seekers through architecture.

“Europe is experiencing an unprecedented surge in asylum seekers, challenging the very concept and values of Europe. While some would like us to think that this poses a threat to the union, could addressing the needs of asylum seekers actually be an opportunity to design or redesign better solutions for all? How do we provide housing in a way that puts people on a long-term path toward integration?” Steinberg asks.

Steinberg’s strategic design office Snowcone & Haystack advises governments and leaders in innovation.

His presentation titled “From Border to Home” will introduce the

2015 international architecture competition, which was organized by the Museum of Finnish Architecture to seek alternative solutions to the refugee crisis. The projects are also on view in Venice.

SISU will also offer a presentation by Renaud Haerlingen from the internationally renowned architectural office ROTOR, which has among other things represented Belgium at the XII Venice Architecture Biennial in 2010 and curated the Oslo Architecture Triennial in 2013. ROTOR is interested in material flows in industry and construction, particularly in relation to resources, waste, use and reuse. They have curated projects for Prada and Rem Koolhaas, among others.

Other multicultural examples of nomadic lives will be brought to SISU by renowned theoreticians and practitioners from Holland, Belgium, France, Turkey, Australia, Finland and Estonia. We will hear from the Estonian Academy of Arts’ PhD student and artist Eva Sepping about her expedition to the homes of Estonians of Russia; the (interior) architects Gerrit Schilder and Hill Scholte will talk about the dialogue between local materials and western intelligence in creating a community centre in Bangladesh. Australian exchange student Monica Knoll from RMIT in the EAA Interior Architecture department will tell about a study trip to Palestine, and Laura Linsi will present her Master’s thesis conducted at the Delft University of Technology about redundant collective farm architecture, which has found new use through her creative approach. Tallinn University lecturer and Japanologist Alari Allik will talk about the mobile home and nomadic lifestyle of an ancient Japanese tribe, and Eva Storgaard from the University of Antwerp will discuss how to create a sense of home in the temporary abodes of students. Master’s student Helen Oja and architect Raul Kalvo will tell five stories about their work experiences in Singapore.


SISU continues to offer a film programme selected by visual artist and filmmaker Ingel Vaikla. This year’s films will include a poetic documentary “Home” by New Zealand director Thomas Gleeson, and two films depicting architecture with political history — “Anna Pina Teresa” (2015) and “E24” (2015) — accompanied with a presentation by artist and director Cynthia Madansky.


The SISU international tour will be completed with a presentation of films and discussions by Cyril Gauthier from FREAKS freearchitects in Paris. Although most of their current built projects are located in France, FREAKS’ partners have lived and experienced a wide range of working contexts, such as San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin, Mumbai, Singapore, Istanbul…

Those sometimes chaotic urban surroundings drove them to integrate into their practice a rich and confident vocabulary of urban scenarios and architectural aesthetics. The office is deeply involved in reacting to the image and representations of architecture/architect in a cynical and playful way.

SISU offers an opportunity to participate to visit the graduation works show of the university, opening on 2 June at 6pm at the future academy building at Kotzebue 1.

SISU is organised by the Estonian Association of Interior Architects in collaboration with the Department of Interior Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts.

SISU invites creative people – theoreticians, practitioners and students — as well as people connected to and interested in the field. The symposium programme is also open to those among the broader public who are curious about (interior) architecture and design, the living environment and the social changes affecting it. Welcome Stranger! Welcome friend!

View the full programme at

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For more information, contact:

Solveig Jahnke
SISU Communications
Tel +372 5626 4949

Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla
SISU Curator

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