The North Delegates’ Lounge inside the United Nations was designed as a place for informal meetings. The casual setting was furnished by leading designers of the time including Hans Wegner, Peter Hvidt, Jacob Kjaer, and Nanna Ditzel. The interior was the pinnacle of postwar / modern design splendor reflective of the era. It was refined, clean and handsome. But decades of wear and tear not to mention various additions tarnished its luster. Enter Rem Koolhaus and Hella Jongerius. The Dutch masters were selected to redesign the lounge as part of UN’s nearly $2 billion plan to renovate the entire building. Artworks and some of the lighting and furnishings were preserved but for the most part, Jongerius transformed the lounge into a colorful, casual, and dare we say fun environment. The renovation and redesign was a gift from the Netherlands to the UN.
Redesign of the North Delegates’ Lounge, United Nations, New York, by Hella Jongerius and Rem Koolhaas, Photography © Frank Oudeman