Organised by the Estonian Association of Designers at the Rotermann Quarter, Tallinn
Tallinn is known for its medieval quarter of picturesque period buildings, Hanseatic past and Soviet era giant cobblestones. Integrating the past with the present and making the city more easily accessible to visitors of all ages, languages and abilities presents many challenges. The matter is urgent because in 2011 Tallinn becomes European City of Culture.
Each year the Estonian Association of Designers organises a week of activities to raise the profile of design through city-wide exhibitions of Estonian innovation and design.
The focus this year was the Tallinn for All project. Estonian designers, design students and their French counterparts from the École Supérieure d'Art et Design in St Etienne were mentored by international experts on inclusivity on a set of 10 challenges - from better street mapping and signage to sidewalk improvements and information technology solutions - for disabled people.
Senior Research Fellow Julia Cassim led two groups in partnership with graphic designers, Kristjan Mändmaa and Hannes Seeburg. The aim was to create a consistent graphics and signage system for Tallinn. Two popular tourist routes were selected: from the bus station to the Viru Shopping Centre and from there to the Old Town Square.
Each group walked the route with two design partners - one visually impaired and the other with mobility difficulties - documenting the difficulties they encountered in terms of wayfinding, street furniture, public toilets and interfaces with public information and transport systems.
Working in empty shops in the Rotermann Quarter shopping centre, the designers created maps of each route that highlighted problem areas and simple design interventions that could dramatically improve the status quo.
Since then, an additional workshop on visual communication by Hannes Seeberg was held at the Academy of Arts and on 8 November 2010. The results of both workshops were presented to the Chamber of the Disabled People and the Tallinn Transport Department. The latter have confirmed the next steps for new solutions on visual communication and service design changes to their public transport network.
The results are planned for exhibitions in Estonia and in France.