All-star Dutch design team works on United Nations New York headquarters

Dutch architecture and design group OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas, has worked with a consortium of designers on the development of the North Delegates Lounge at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Looking from bar to entrance
Looking from bar to entrance

OMA has worked as part of a team including 3D designer Hella Jongerius, graphic designer Irma Boom and artist Gabriel Lester.

According to an OMA spokesman the project is, ‘A gift to the United Nations from the Dutch government’.

He says the consortium was invited with four others to a closed competition by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs  and tasked with redesigning the space, which is ‘a meeting point for diplomats and a space to work informally’.

Entrance with information desk, original signage and clock
Entrance with information desk, original signage and clock

The lounge has been used since 1952 by policymakers and diplomats from UN member states and is located by the General Assembly with a view of New York’s East River.

To enhance this view OMA has removed a mezzanine which was added in 1978.

Bar
Bar

An information wall, new reception desk and coffee bar – formed from cast black resin – have also been designed.

Furniture is to be reappropriated and new pieces brought in including Rietveld chairs, which are now made 10 per cent bigger then they were in the 1930s to allow for the growth in people’s size.

Rietveld Peacock chair
Rietveld Peacock chair

Hans Wegner Peacock chairs, Eames lounge chairs, Knoll chairs and Harrison & Abramovitz lamps will all be re-used in the space.

Art donated by member states already hangs on one of the two largest walls. These will be re-hung with an aluminum cladding behind each one ‘to give them more depth and make them look more curated,’ says the OMA spokesman.

Internet tables
Internet tables

A team including Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer and Wallace K. Harrison designed the original  building. The new space will be completed next year.

Latest articles