1 Põhjala Factory (Põhjala tehas) / Marati 5 / Aivar Tõnso
Põhjala Factory is the former centre of Estonian rubber production. Its majestic hangar complex was originally built for ship building. As that industry declined during the interwar period, the rubber production from a small Kopli workshop moved into those iconic concrete hangars of Bekker Shipyard. Now it is developing in a vibrant area combining culture, young enterprises, bakery and coffee roast, and soon also some special apartments offering space for permanent residents.
The Kopli Peninsula was once the main recreational area for the inhabitants of Tallinn, but since the end of the Czarist era it has been subjected to industrial interests. When the first Estonian Republic succeeded in making the region livelier again, the Soviet era set it back. Now the potential of the region has been rediscovered and is rapidly becoming more human friendly. The Põhjala factory symbolises all these changes. After the collapse of the large-scale naval industry, the factory premises were given new content, which succeeded, but it backfired during the Soviet era.
The factory premises now face a similar challenge. Although the future looks bright and there is more interest in Kopli, it is still a land of many opportunities. I have always been fascinated by situations where it is possible to be in the middle of nowhere. Even if it is just an illusion, it gives the environment a sense of sensitivity that allows for dialogue and creative intervention and interpretation. In a way, it would be good to keep it that way, but since things are constantly changing, it is not conceivable and something will get in the way.
But in this whole process, the moment of the turn is important. The fading process is complete and the new reorganisation has not yet reached new frames.
Aivar Tõnso is a musician, sound artist and curator of cross-cultural events. He has studied Information Science (BA) at Tallinn University and is currently studying a Master's degree in new media art at the Estonian Academy of Arts in order to connect and enrich his previous experience in music and sound art with various art practices. As a musician, Aivar Tõnso is known primarily as a creator of electronic music through projects such as Hypnosaurus, Kulgurid and Kismabande, and as a curator of cultural events, his most prominent projects include festival Hea Uus Heli and record label Ulmeplaadid. Currently he focuses on organizing Üle Heli festival, which links music and sound art with other fields of art. In the creative sphere, Aivar has recently become more and more interested in site specific multichannel sound installations.
Photo by Maria Aua in Kopli quite near to the Põhjala factory.