United Nations UN North Delegates Lounge, Building New York, Architect, Offices

UN North Delegates Lounge, New York

1st Avenue Interior, Manhattan, United States of America – design by OMA

Dec 17, 2011

United Nations North Delegates Lounge

(UNO Buildings)
Location: 1st Avenue, New York
Design: OMA

OMA collaborates on redesigning UN North Delegates Lounge

A team of Dutch designers, including OMA, is reconceiving one of the most crucial spaces in the United Nations headquarters in New York: the North Delegates Lounge.

UN North Delegates Lounge United Nations North Delegates Lounge UN United Nations North
images © OMA

Located near the General Assembly and with a view of the East River, the lounge has been used since 1952 by policymakers and diplomats from the UN’s member states. OMA is working with an interdisciplinary team including designer Hella Jongerius, graphic designer Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester and theorist Louise Schouwenberg.

The team’s aim is to preserve the history of the space and activate the lounge as an informal and intimate debating chamber. OMA’s contribution includes removing the lounge’s mezzanine (an addition made in 1978) in order to open up the view over the East River. OMA’s design will also address the entrance and the bar, and introduce e-paper screens throughout the space.

Rem Koolhaas commented: “We characterize our intervention in the lounge, which has already been modified several times, as a ‘preservation of change.’”

The renovation also includes handmade bead curtains, new carpets, a mixture of old and new furniture including original Knoll club chairs and Eames lounge chairs, and a new installation of the artworks given by member states over the years.

The UN headquarters was originally designed by a team that included Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer and Wallace K. Harrison, who called the complex “a workshop for peace.” The result is a Gesamtkunstwerk born from collaboration and open debate. The interdisciplinary approach to the North Delegates Lounge seeks to continue this tradition.

The redesigned lounge is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and will be completed in 2012.

UN North Delegates Lounge images / information from OMA


Location: UNO Buildings, 1st Avenue, New York City, USA

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Dates built: 1947-53
Design: Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Sir Howard Robertson
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