hella jongerius + rem koolhaas: UN north delegates' lounge
hella jongerius + rem koolhaas: UN north delegates' lounge hella jongerius + rem koolhaas: UN north delegates' lounge
sep 20, 2013

hella jongerius + rem koolhaas: UN north delegates' lounge

hella jongerius + rem koolhaas: UN north delegate’s lounge
image © frank oudeman






the united nations (UN) buildings in new york, date back to 1951, erected six years after the global organization was founded. often referred to as ‘a workshop for peace’, the complex was designed by a team of architects which included le corbusier, oscar niemeyer and wallack k. harrison.


in 2009, the UN launched a large-scale renovation project to renew its north delegates’ lounge. at the request of the dutch ministry of foreign affairs, hella jongerius, together with rem koolhaas, irma boom, gabriel lester and louise schouwenberg, have redesigned the space, bringing it into a new era. the renovation was a gift from the netherlands to the UN.


the team wanted to realize a space that encompassed both comfort and professional informality. in maintaining the historic characteristics of the space–retaining some of the original scandinavian designs and offering a new perspective on the works of art already on display. the biggest reconstruction of the original architecture was the removal of the mezzanine that was blocking the view of the east river.




the updated color palette offers a professional but comfortable space
image © frank oudeman




for the interior, jongerius designed two new pieces of furniture, the ‘sphere table’ (see designboom’s coverage of the work desk here) and the ‘UN lounge chair’ both produced by VITRA; as well as the ‘knots and beads’ curtain–a textile of hand-knotted yarn and 30,000 porcelain beads made from dutch clay by royal tichelaar makkum— suspended along the east facade. jongerius was also responsible for rejuvenating the color palette, and selecting the furniture and designing the cradle-to-cradle grid carpet.


the UN north delegates’ lounge officially opens on september 25th, 2013 by queen of máxima of the netherlands, and the dutch minister of foreign affairs, frans timmermans, in the presence of ban ki-moon, secretary-general of the UN.




hella jongerius’ ‘sphere table’ lines the back wall of the space
image © frank oudeman



image © frank oudeman




image © frank oudeman




arrangement of UN lounge chairs
image © frank oudeman



image © frank oudeman




sun filtering through the east is muted by a large ‘knots and beads’ curtain designed by jongerius
image © frank oudeman




images © frank oudeman

  • This is a funky care home for the elderly, right?

    SJS says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,379 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample