U.N. North Delegates’ Lounge - RE-DESIGN
- Year: 2011
- Material: diverse
- Dimensions: diverse
- Commission: United Nations/ Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Production: Jongeriuslab
- Category: Industrial production
The re-design of the North Delegates’ Lounge pays tribute to the history of this crucial space within the United Nations’ headquarters in New York, while adding striking contemporary accents. Monumental architectonic interventions alternate with ample attention for material details, tactility and colors. Existing designs alternate with new designs, Dutch designs are mixed with international designs.
The U.N. headquarters were originally completed in 1952 and financed in part by donations from the member states. Between 2009 and 2013 the buildings are being renovated. The Netherlands have adopted the re-design of the North Delegates’ Lounge. After a selection process, in which four Dutch design teams competed with each other, the team assembled by Hella Jongerius was selected.
The design team is composed of:
Hella Jongerius Designer
Rem Koolhaas/OMA Architect
Irma Boom Graphic Designer
Gabriel Lester Artist
Louise Schouwenberg Theorist
Hella Jongerius: “The space was devoid of personality because it lacked attention for material detailing. Apart from monumental gestures, such as removing the mezzanine and re-positioning the artworks, we needed to address the physical experience of the space.”
The carpet consists of a duotone weave of dark brown and grey. It will ground a large variety of furniture: existing designs within the U.N., including the iconic Peacock chairs, alternate with new furniture: the RE-Lounge Chair, which enables flexible configurations for informal meetings, and the Bubble Desk, which creates privacy while working on the computer, due to its semi-transparant hood. A classic Dutch textile design was re-interpreted (Daphne, 1962) and will be used to (re-)upholster various old and new designs: Utrecht chair, Fauteuil Direction, the RE-Lounge Chair and the Polder Sofa. In front of the monumental windows two curtain designs will be hung: the Knots&Grid Curtain (North façade) and the Knots&Beads Curtain (East façade). The latter consists of 300.000 porcelain beads, which are handcrafted by Dutch craftsmen. They litterally bring a piece of the Netherlands to the U.N., while at the level of meanings they refer both to the United Nations and to the Netherlands.
In 1952 the 11 architects of the U.N. Headquarters, including Wallace K. Harrison, Le Corbusier, and Oscar Niemeyer, have cooperated to create a superb work. The Dutch team, aware of this tradition, has also worked together on all its plans. The various interventions are linked to specific names, whose voices were prevalent in the final designs. However, until the final moment all interventions have been open to debate and questioning by all the other members of the team. The result is a multidisciplinary Gesamtkunstwerk that offers both old and new perspectives on ‘A Workshop For Peace’ (the expression architect Wallace K. Harrison used to describe both the design process of the U.N. buildings and the global organization itself).
The re-design of the North Delegates’ Lounge is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and will be completed in 2012.