The building of the Office of the President of the Republic, designed by architect Alar Kotli, was completed in summer 1938. As the building was spacious, also the Office of the Legal Chancellor and the administration of the Committee of Decorations moved in. Today, the building has several functions. It houses the Head of State’s working office and audience rooms, the Office of the President of the Republic, and the President’s official residence.
The palace garden was and still is used for ceremonial purposes as much as our brief simmer allow it. In early summer, the President receives the best school and university graduates here.
The stately entrance leads to the ground floor foyer, whence corridors lead sideways to the President’s residence in the north wing and the Office of the President in the south wing.
The foyer has a coffered ceiling, and its walls are covered with yellow and red fake marble and so-called Vasalemma marble. The two floors of the house are connected by a round, well-lit stairwell.
From the ground floor, a set of bow-shaped glass doors opens to the garden, where a solitary oak tree, a survivor of the oak grove that stood here once, has been witness to crucial events in Estonia’s history for the last four centuries.
The first floor houses the President’s workspace and representational rooms: the State Council Hall, the President’s Working Office and the Ambassador’s Hall. During a renovation Carried out in 2002, in addition to the aforementioned, also the foyers, the side corridors on the ground floor and the round stairwell were restored to their original shape.
Bronze portraits of Estonian heads of state Jaan Tõnisson and Konstantin Päts, and of diplomat Ernst Jaakson upholder of the continuity of the Republic of Estonia, decorate the first floor foyer.
Architect Alar Kotli himself designed the State Council Hall. Richard Wunderlich designed the elegant art déco furniture. The original furniture is still in use.
Following a competition in 1939, a tapestry to the design by Aarne Mõtus, depicting a scene of agreement conclusion between Estonian elders and a Vikings’ envoy, had been commissioned for the southern sidewall.
During the occupations, the tapestry vanished. The back wall of the State Council Hall was initially to be covered. With a tapestry featuring the national coat of arms, which was never completed. At present, a tapestry featuring the national coat of arms decorates the hall. Textile artist Peeter Kuutma made it according to the design that in 1939 had won the original competition. Under the old Constitution, if the President chaired Government meetings, the latter took place in the State Council Hall. Today, the hall is the venue of several public law procedures, and here the President meets delegations from abroad.
The President’s working office, or the Big Office, was designed by architect Olev Siinmaa who in many respects followed the advice of Konstantin Päts. President Päts wished the office to have an ethnic flavour. Yet in Estonia, this would have meant heavy, rustic furniture, which would not have matched the chandeliers and Oriental rugs. The outcome, an art déco design seasoned with ethnic motifs, is somewhat touching in its roughness. Behind the President’s seat, there was a large wall hanging with the national coat of arms woven by Kodutütred, the Defence League girls’ organisation. From 2004 on, the wall is decorated with a copy of a tapestry (made in Peeter Kuutma Carpet Studio) designed by Adamson-Eric that at the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris was awarded an honorary diploma.
The Ambassadors’ Hall (originally office of the 1st Aide-de-Camp) is nowadays used as a ceremonial room. Here, in front of the president’s flag with the image of the national coat of arms, the President receives the credentials of the ambassadors accredited to Estonia. Interstate agreements on presidential level are also signed at the Ambassador’s Hall. When the President decides to hand over state decorations at Kadriorg, the festive ceremonies are held in the Ambassadors’ Hall.