United Nations North Delegates' Lounge
by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

| 14 comments
 

Designer Hella Jongerius and architect Rem Koolhaas have renovated the North Delegates' Lounge at the United Nations buildings in New York (+ slideshow).

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Working alongside a team of Dutch creatives that included graphic designer Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester and theorist Louise Schouwenberg, Jongerius and Koolhaas have reconfigured the layout and added new furniture to the lounge - one of the key spaces in the complex designed during the 1960s by a team of architects including Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Koolhaas' OMA began by removing a mezzanine that had been added in 1978, opening up a view towards the East River. Hella Jongerius then added a bead curtain made from hand-knotted yarn and 30,000 porcelain beads.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Furniture is arranged so that one end of the lounge accommodates formal meetings and the other is more suited to coffee and drinks. Jongerius designed two new pieces for the space - the Sphere Table and the UN Lounge Chair - which are accompanied by original Knoll chairs.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

A new bar is made from black resin, while the existing information desk is retained and repositioned alongside the original clock and signage.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Jongerius was responsible for the colour palette, adding an orange carpet alongside the purple, blue and green upholstery.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

"The renovation and redesign of the lounge is a gift from the Netherlands to the UN," said the designers.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Dezeen recently filmed a series of interviews with Jongerius discussing her latest projects and why she chose to relocate to Berlin. Watch the movies »

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

See more stories about Hella Jongerius »
See more stories about Rem Koolhaas »

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Photography is by Frank Oudeman.

Here's a project description from Jongeriuslab:


New interior for United Nations North Delegates' Lounge (New York)

More than sixty years after the opening of the UN North Delegates' Lounge, Hella Jongerius has redesigned the lounge in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas, Irma Boom, Gabriel Lester and Louise Schouwenberg.

Their aim was to create a space of both comfort and professional informality. The team carefully edited the history of the space, retaining some of the iconic Scandinavian designs and creating a new perspective on the works of art already on display. They removed the mezzanine that had blocked the view of the East River, restoring the open architectural space.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Jongerius designed two new pieces of furniture for the lounge: the Sphere Table and the UN Lounge Chair, produced by Vitra. For the East Facade Jongerius designed the Knots & Beads Curtain, with hand-knotted yarn and 30,000 porcelain beads made from Dutch clay by Royal Tichelaar Makkum. Jongerius was also responsible for revitalizing the colour palette, selecting the furniture and designing the cradle-to-cradle Grid Carpet.

The UN buildings in New York date from 1951, six years after the foundation of the UN. Referred to as 'A Workshop for Peace', the complex was designed by a team of architects including Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer and Wallace K. Harrison. In 2009, the UN launched a large-scale renovation project, which is now nearly complete. At the request of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hella Jongerius formed a team to redesign the lounge and bring it into a new era. The renovation and redesign of the lounge is a gift from the Netherlands to the UN.

The lounge will be officially opened on September 25, 2013 by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, in the presence of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

United Nations North Delegates Lounge by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas

Year: 2013
Material: Various
Dimensions: Various
Commission: United Nations/ Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Category: Industrial production

  • 9732

    Wow, horrendously ugly.

  • Samù

    I like it! djeez, this Dezeen crowd is so full of people who all claim to do it better all the time, every time.

    • davvid

      And most of them just want to see white plaster walls with some Thonet chairs sprinkled throughout.

  • Prole

    What’s the point in the privacy screens around the computers? Obama’s already hacked them all.

  • henk

    Wow – didn’t she say “why design another chair…”? And, here is a new one! Seriously full of c#*p…

  • Outcast Editions

    Looks like the rec lounge in a retirement home.

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    Looks like the rec room of an IT company – minus the ping-pong table.

  • Marcos

    Apart from the ugly furniture, it’s nice. Hella, it’s better you concentrate on fabrics…

  • tony

    …oh my goodness! This truly is horrendous! I get it: it wants to be informal and cool and all that but boy oh boy this is pure tack! Niemeyer and Corby are sure to be stirring in their graves (and this coming from somebody who tends to love most things posted on Dezeen).

  • r.

    I must say that this is fairly disappointing. I know that Koolhaas, as most architects, is enamored by the United Nations, and he has gladly put his mark on it. However, its a shame that this time-capsule of a space, one that had effective remained unchanged for the last sixty-two years (with the exception of the balcony addition in 1978) be rendered into such a kitsch and non-hierarchical set of sparsely arranged furniture, that seems to have little relation to the lounge’s former history.

    Preservation is difficult, especially when confronting something as recent and delicate as modernism, but I find this renovation somewhat disturbing. Koolhaas, an architect with such an interest in history should have considered preserving or resurrecting some of the elements of the past interior before fueling his ego with the need to make his mark, be it with previous furniture, or former elements: such as the large bar from the original design, or the long linear planters from the second iteration, or included some proposed items, such as an updated version of Buckminster Fuller’s Mini-Earth that would project a real-time display of the Earth’s resources in place of the large projection of the world.

    Hopefully, there will be some reconsiderations of this design in the upcoming years. This project is an important case-study in how to deal with the preservation of mid-century modernism. Its certainly not easy to do, but when renovation of the very historic is necessary, it should be done as well and as sensitively as possible, not simply treated like the renovation of an airport hotel lobby.

  • vertigo66

    It is very difficult to interior design a large open space using only furniture elements. However, it is not impossible and this is a poor job, it is akin to the “burolandschaft” office design of the 50s, lacking any organising principle to create a comfortable, legible space. The quality and craft of the individual components is OK, but the overall disposition of these components looks random and pointless.

    It would benefit from some variety of floor finish and some screening or taller elements to define areas. Also some large scale focal points to provide landmarks/orientation. It looks too much like a temporary design exposition hall. All in all disappointing use of a spectacular space with a rich design legacy.

  • Natasha Barrault

    Stunning.

  • Natasha Barrault

    Stunning workspace.

  • Julie G

    I like the analogous colourways of the furniture, and the effect of the beaded curtain is stunning in the way it diffuses the view of the city beyond in a pointillist fashion. However, I agree with the other commenters that relying solely on the arrangement of small furniture elements causes a lack of definition to the space. And the furniture!

    The silhouettes are so juvenile. They remind me of my childhood Tinker Toys. Maybe that’s the point – keeping world leaders in a childlike frame of mind may help them revert to an innocent time of life where they would want to strive for peace above all else. It could be stunning with some larger elements defining the space and adding cohesion, but I think it’s a miss.