The United Nations Gets A Revamp, Just In Time For The General Assembly

The United Nations Gets A Revamp, Just In Time For The General Assembly

This week, as delegates descend on the United Nations for the 68th General Assembly, they just might be spending their free time in a brand-new lounge area. The renovation, officially opening on Wednesday, is an official gift from the Netherlands to the UN, so it’s only appropriate that it was masterminded by two of the most notable Dutch designers of the day — Rem Koolhaas and Hella Jongerius.

It’s been over 60 years since the United Nations HQ was completed in New York. The building itself was conceived by a veritable supergroup of (somewhat contentious) international architects, including Swiss stud Le Corbusier, Brazilian hotshot Oscar Niemeyer, and Big Apple heavy hitter Wallace Harrison. This new revamp is an overhaul of the original North Delegates’ Lounge.

Utrecht-based designer Hella Jongerius has been busy lately, having recently taken on the high flying task of overhauling the interior of KLM’s business class cabins, revamping everything from the reclining seat-beds to the upholstery in a colour palate optimised to look good en route. This UN project is a collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas, graphic designer Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester, and theorist Louise Schouwenberg, who worked together to maximise the expansive space for socializing — and checking out the incredible view.

In order to open up an view of the East River, a mezzanine level was removed, while the incredible knotted curtains — woven from hand-knotted yarn and 30,000 clay beads! — casts dappled natural light over the boho-modern decor.

Jongerius brought in some of her furniture greatest hits — hello, Polder sofa! — and made some new pieces specifically for the space. For example, the “Sphere Tables” allow for a bit of quiet reflection along the wall, while the “UN Lounge Chair” has wheels in front to make it easy to slide into (or out of) a conversation. Then there’s a menagerie of other seats that line the windows — for when it’s time to sit and reflect on world peace. [designboom]

Pictures: Frank Oudeman