The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, and Lawrence Wong, the acting prime minister of Singapore, on 5 June opened the Estonian embassy and a business hub at the heart of Singapore’s central business district.
The interior design of the premises, designed by the Tallinn-based architecture office b210, is inspired by Estonian nature and cultural heritage, and by Estonia as an innovative technological and digital nation.
“Our spaces tell the story of Estonia. A story intertwining primeval nature, long-standing cultural traditions, and technological innovation. The hub will provide an ideal opportunity for Estonian companies to establish business relationships, organise events, and promote Estonia to Singapore and partners in the region,” Johanna-Riinu Annuk, who leads the business hub, said in a statement.
Upon entering the centre, visitors are greeted by a wall covered with the bark of an Estonian aspen tree. The ceiling of the centre is decorated with felt, with embedded LED lights.
“This solution makes it possible to depict different natural phenomena in Estonia, such as snowfall, the northern lights, and sunny daylight. The pine needles covering the walls and ceiling of the meeting room create a special pine forest effect and also act as acoustic panels. The space also incorporates many Estonian design elements, such as handmade lamps, modular sofas, and benches made of mycoplastic, which is developed from the mycelium of mushrooms,” according to the premises’ designers.
Aiming to increase the visibility of Estonia
Prime minister Kallas said at the opening of the premises that Estonia and Singapore “have much in common”.
“Over the years, we have built a strong bilateral relationship with Singapore. Estonia and Singapore are both small countries with open economies. We are also one of the most advanced digital societies in the world, valuing innovation and technology as well as high-quality education. We have a lot to learn from each other and a lot to offer to the rest of the world,” she noted.
Priit Turk, the Estonian ambassador to Singapore, said that some Estonian companies, such as Wise, Guardtime, Funderbeam, ClamBeat, Cybernetica and Ridango have found their way to Singapore and the wider region – but for many businesses, the opportunities in South-East Asia, with the world’s fastest growth potential and a population of over 700 million, are yet to be discovered.
“The embassy and the business hub want to increase the visibility of Estonia and our companies in Singapore and the surrounding countries to help companies enter the local market and find partners, as well as to bring investments to Estonia – all the more so as Singapore’s financial firms are important global investors, especially in new technologies and science-intensive solutions,” the ambassador stated.
The embassy also provides services and consular assistance to Estonian citizens. “The number of Estonians living and working in Singapore is growing. Singapore is also located at the crossroads of several popular travel routes, and good connections with other countries in the region provide opportunities for consular services,” Turk noted.