A two-year project to refurbish the North Delagates’ Lounge at the UN Headquarters in New York—a vast meeting space for the leaders and representatives of the United Nations—has been completed, with the results making a splash this week. A Dutch creative team—headed by furniture designer Hella Jongerius, and including architectural firm OMA; and graphic designer Irma Boom—undertook the task of remaking the space, with the ethos of “openness and transparency” in mind. And, gauging from the photos, both openness and transparency are quite literally on display.
A mezzanine in the 1950’s-designed lounge was removed, creating an uninterrupted space and restoring expansive views of the East River through floor-to-ceiling windows. But what impresses is the contemporary, colorful, very nearly playful, expressiveness of the lounge, distinguished by three prominent, site-specific designs created by Jongerius—UN Lounge Chair; Sphere Table; and ethereal Knots and Beads window curtains—and the surprisingly joyful color scheme of blues, greens and purples. Jongerius’ Polder Sofa plays a prominent role amongst the various seating areas, as do time-honored Dutch classics, like Gerrit Rietveld’s Utrecht chairs, resplendent in bespoke colors. The only question is weather or not they—and the rest of the designer lineup—are conducive to spirited discussions about world peace.