Thanks to a group of leading Dutch designers, NYC's United Nations Building has a bright and airy new Delegates’ Lounge. The Dutch Majesty Queen Máxima, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans unveiled the renovated space just yesterday, and the character of the new lounge is decidedly open and transparent, with tall windows, even higher ceilings, and loft-like floor space for international representatives to mingle in. Dutch designer Hella Jongerius led the redesign project with the help of a team made up of architectural firm OMA, artist Gabriël Lester, graphic designer Irma Boom, and theoretician Louise Schouwenberg.
To create the large, airy lounge, one of the design’s most significant alterations was the removal of the mezzanine. This allowed the design team to restore the open character of the original space and have unimpeded views of the East River. The UN walls opposite from the windows are now adorned with large mural paintings hanging over a large section of seating.
The original UN Building was first constructed in the early 1950s and after being an epicenter of international policy for over 60 years, the aesthetic of the space was in dire need of a redesign. In 2010, Netherland representatives decided to adopt the lounge and handle the renovation themselves by asking four design teams for proposals.
The lounge is just one of the first of a series of renovations to be finished. Located just a few feet away, the General Assembly Hall, which has seen historic arguments like the discussion over the invasion of Iraq, is also in the midst of a facelift.
Images © Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken