United Nations North Delegates Lounge
A team of Dutch designers headed by Hella Jongerius, OMA Architects, Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester and critic Louise Schouwenberg, won a competition organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the renovation of the Delegates Lounge, next to the plenary hall of the General Assembly UN in the emblematic building of Le Corbusier, Niemeyer and Harrison in New York.
The original UN building was built between 1950 and 1952. After 60 years was a thorough renovation needed for the next 50 years. The building was partly achieved at the time by donations. The UN continued this tradition and asked Member States to donate money for the renovation. The Netherlands ‘adopted’ the Delegates Lounge.
The most important change was the removal of the mezzanine, whereby the original monumentality and spaciousness of the lounge were restored. The original open character of the area restored and enlarged views of the East River.
There is also added new information desk, and e-paper screens where information can be read, about meetings and feeds from various media. The interior is characterised by openness and transparency. Handmade beaded curtains, new carpets and a mix of old and new furniture, including the original easy chairs from the ’50s, describes the rebuilding. AVL Workbench tables are used as cafe tables and coffee tables. The new furniture is partly reinterpretations of old designs.
The completed renovation of the Delegates Lounge gave an excellent opportunity to present the Dutch design, architecture and visual arts on an international stage in 2013. This is also an opportunity to create new economic opportunities for the Dutch creative industry, a sector that accounts for 280,000 jobs.
The Netherlands underlines simultaneously the value of this project that the government attaches to the UN and multilateral cooperation.