Going Dutch

Hella Jongerius, Rem Koolhaas, and Irma Boom redesign the Delegates’ Lounge at the renovated United Nations building in New York City.

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The other window wall, facing north and tilted inward at about 15 degrees, was given over to Boom, who created a set of gridded shades that hug the glass. (The room’s original drapes hung vertically, creating a large pocket of wasted space and obscuring one of the room’s few architectural flourishes.) Boom says she based the new shades on her surroundings—“Manhattan is all about grids”—and, during the dedication ceremony, marveled at their ability to turn everything outside, including clouds, into pixelated scenes. The visual artist Gabriel Lester, the fifth member of the team, took charge of the expansive south wall, home to four gigantic artworks (gifts from U.N. member states). Lester chose not to rehang the pieces, including a tapestry of the Great Wall of China, directly on the wall. Instead, he created metal frames  to support them about a foot away from the wall, as if keeping the vaguely kitschy tableaux at a distance.

The view from the entrance, toward the east window of the lounge. On the right are the Sphere tables Jongerius designed for the lounge. The artworks are hung about a foot from the aluminum-clad wall. 

Courtesy Frank Oudeman

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