Face-to-face. The Story of the Baltic Exchange by Salto AB architects Maarja Kask and Ralf Lõoke in collaboration with artist Neeme Külm.
The history of the Baltic Exchange goes back more than 250 years. The neoclassical building designed by Smith and Wimble was completed in central London in 1903, and has been ranked among the most beautiful examples of Edwardian architecture. In 1992, the Exchange building was heavily damaged in an Irish Republican Army bomb attack. After the attack, the building was dismantled stone by stone; the valuable parts were numbered and put in storage with the intention of restoring the building to its historical form. Instead, however, it was replaced by a new one – the 41-storey office building known as the “Gherkin” (by Foster and Partners), by now a London landmark.
In the research-project Face-to-Face exhibition, the fragments of the Baltic Exchange building, which has stirred a good deal of controversy in the Estonian public, make their first life-size appearance. The visitors could stand face-to-face with the historic building’s pediment, where a fragment of the building was at the disposal of anyone who wishes to subject it to their will. Look at the exhibition, one may have asked how do we develop emotional ties with architectural symbols and what role do such ties play as a means of exerting influence in society and politics.
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Video by Karel Koplimets, 2016.