A special company in Paris

On November 3, 1958, a very special company meets in Parisian Restaurant Laurent on Avenue Gabriel. Earlier that day the new UNESCO building in the French capital was opened and the client invited all architects involved to celebrate. The main architects were Bernard Zehrfuss, Walter Gropius, and Pier Luigi Nervi, but thanks to contributions from various UN member states, large parts of the building and interior were drawn by the world’s best architects. Among them was Gerrit Rietveld who made the design for the ‘Press Room’. A place where journalists were able to withdraw to report on what was happening at UNESCO. Because Rietveld circulated the menu during the evening, with the request to sign it, we know exactly who his table guests were.

On the menu, in addition to Rietveld and the chief architects’ signatures, you will recognize those of Le Corbusier, Hans Wegner, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Isami Noguchi and Ernesto Nathan Rogers, among others. Remarkably, Karel Appel’s signature is also on the menu. He lived in Paris at the time and previously won the UNESCO prize.

Press Room Chair

De Press Room Chair is in 1958 ontworpen door Gerrit Rietveld voor het UNESCO gebouw in Parijs. Rietveld ontwierp de fauteuil als comfortabele lounge stoel aan de leestafel voor journalisten in de persruimte. Door het krappe budget en beperkte tijd, werd het ontwerp echter niet uitgevoerd en zag Rietveld zich genoodzaakt ze te vervangen door meubels die hij eerder dat jaar voor de Wereldtentoonstelling in Brussel had gemaakt. Gelukkig zijn de originele ontwerpen, tekeningen en maquettes bewaard gebleven waardoor de Press Room Chair in 2014 alsnog is uitgebracht.

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