Connect

Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to recieve the latest on our products, upcoming events, and what is happening in the world of Finn Juhl.

Subscribe
Projects | Grand Conseil, Geneva

The Transformation of the Grand Conseil - The Past Meets the Present at Geneva's City Hall

The transformation of the Grand Conseil in Geneva has been carried out by Bonhôte Zapata Architectes, who has overseen the rebuilding, since they won the project in 2011. The new design, created by Julia Zapata, Philippe Bonhôte and Mathieu Rouillon, should be perceived as a tribute to the building's rich history, while at the same time including the appropriate functions and architectural demands for a modern parliament.

The newly rebuilt Grand Conseil in Geneva. 
The wood panels create a warm and welcoming ambiance in the Grand Conseil.
The Grand Conseil features 158 FJ 51 Chairs.

The Grand Conseil has been rebuilt like a transparent jewelry box inside of the original building. The dome of wood and glass raises the height of the chamber with several floors. Skylights and glass panels make the space feel like a gallery, where the public and personnel of the Grand Conseil can follow the delegates' work from the other floors of the building.

The warmth from the wood panels, which is a dominant material in the design, conjoins with the light filled space and contributes to acoustic comfort. On the ground floor of the building two large green marble walls are not only an elegant addition to the Grand Conseil, but also have the function of hiding elevators and staircases.

The mission for the architects, has been to create an atmosphere which, despite its important political function, does not feel unnecessarily exalted. Instead, the overall design is indented to fuel constructive dialogue and conversation.

A Danish Chair with an International History

Analogously, the architects were shying away from the impersonal furniture commonly used for auditoriums, and where instead searching for a chair with a familiar feel to it. The chair's style and details should be on a par with the function of the Grand Conseil, while at the same time being light and comfortable to use for the delegates. The architects ended up choosing Finn Juhl's FJ 51, manufactured by House of Finn Juhl. The chair plays a central part in the interior of the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, which Finn Juhl designed between 1951-52. House of Finn Juhl manufactured and delivered new furniture for the complete renovation of the Finn Juhl chamber, including new FJ 51 Chairs in 2013, but the chair is not a permanent part of the Finn Juhl collection.

However, the purpose of the project convinced House of Finn Juhl to manufacture 158 FJ 51 Chairs for the Grand Conseil.

 

The dome of wood and glass has raised the height of the chamber with several floors.
Finn Juhl's original drawing of the FJ 51 Chair for the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Credit: Pernille Klemp, Designmuseum Danmark.
Large green marble walls are not only an elegant addition to the Grand Conseil, but also have the function of hiding elevators and staircases.
Two FJ 51 Chair photographed in the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.