New WIPO Conference Hall Offers Grand Setting As Nations Gather 24/09/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)At the outset of its annual General Assembly this week, the World Intellectual Property Organization inaugurated a state-of-the-art new conference hall which has already drawn attention for its prominent position overlooking the Place des Nations in Geneva. An inauguration celebration was held on 22 September, with two world-known musicians performing to the delight of WIPO member states, staff, and a number of observers to the General Assembly. The annual WIPO General Assembly is being held from 22-30 September. Kicking off the inauguration, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said the room holds 900 seats and offers a good metaphor for innovation as it embodies openness and connection. He referred to the building connecting what is known as the WIPO “old building” (the landmark glass tower) and the “new building,” completed a few years ago. The room facing the UN plaza in Geneva, he said, reaches out to the outside world and its large windows provide a flow of natural light. François Longchamp, president of the Council of State, Republic and State of Geneva, remarked on the particular shape of the conference hall, which he said follows a tradition of WIPO’s buildings standing out. This one, he said, seeming from the outside to be floating in equilibrium. Stefan Behnisch, the architect responsible for the project said the decision to build the new conference hall was taken as the WIPO new building was not yet achieved and there was not much room to work with to fit a new construction between the two WIPO buildings. Wood was chosen as the primary material for the conference hall for a variety of reasons, he said. According to WIPO, the new conference hall is the first wooden conference hall of its size (1600 m2). Its floor is oak, its wall fir-clad, while the foyers are paved in sandstone. The conference room ceiling is scattered with some 1,400 small lights, along with six large “chandelier-like” spheres, partially hiding cameras and loudspeakers, according to a WIPO brochure. “Chandelier-like” spheres Jean-Michel Jarre, a prominent French composer and president of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, called for adequate remuneration of authors and said the current system was under threat, before introducing the two performers of the evening: Susana Baca, a Peruvian singer, and Ismael Lô, a Senegalese singer and guitarist. For passers-by trying to take in the sheer futuristic geometry of the building hosting the conference hall, WIPO explains in its brochure that the geometric shape of the building, “based on the interconnection of four separate, box-shaped elements,” was born out of the image of “a floating sculpture” linking the two previous WIPO buildings. According to the progress report [pdf] on the New Construction Project and the new Conference Hall Project, the total estimated cost of the New Conference Hall Project would be at most 75.2 million Swiss francs. The outside of the building, as it took shape, may have spurred some speculation from the public at large, but the inside of the room had been kept secret so far. WIPO delegates had a preliminary taste of it earlier this month for the Program and Budget Committee meeting, and this week was the formal inauguration. Image Credits: Catherine Saez Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."New WIPO Conference Hall Offers Grand Setting As Nations Gather" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.