In contrast to the brooding, striving grandeur of the Chamber itself, its Lobby is beautifully serene and calming, sparsely furnished with its prevailing stonework made golden by a simply squared glass ceiling (a feature repeated in the Assembly Hall and the Library).
The Lobby’s largest feature is a massive and evocative bas-relief in marble above the main entrance to the Chamber entitled The Creation of Man. The work is by the English sculptor Eric Gill and was donated to the League of Nations by the United Kingdom in 1938.
The sculpture is a triptych, with the central panel (2.3m x 9.28m) being inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco. The left panel shows Man’s Gifts to God, the right panel shows God’s Gifts to Man.
Much smaller but equally stunning is the Lobby’s centrepiece, a porcelain vase (The Blue Planet of Life) by Yasuhiko Shirakata, given by Japan to mark the UN’s 50 th anniversary in 1995. The vase, deep indigo blue on a white enamelled base, symbolises a world living in peace and respecting the environment.
Shirakata, born in Tobe, a town famous for it pottery and ceramics for more than 200 years, involved schoolchildren in the concept and design of the vase, which is two metres high, including its stand.