The current headquarters of the International Union of Railways (UIC), located at 16, rue Jean Rey in Paris’ 15th district, and near the Champs de Mars, was inaugurated in 1963. It is UIC’s third headquarters building, having previously been located at rue Bizet and rue de Prony. One particularly interesting initiative deserves a mention here: when the current headquarters was being built, the majority of the association’s member companies offered contributions in kind such as works of art, traditional objects from their countries, or other fittings later installed in meeting rooms or communal areas. These objects and gifts, some of which hold significant artistic value, add to the international feel noticed by visitors when entering the building.

Among these member donations, the following are particularly striking:
French Railways
Large Jean Lurçat wall hanging in one of the main groundfloor meeting rooms (known today as the “List” meeting room). The hanging illustrates the move away from steam to electric traction.

German Railways
Furniture, wall cladding and fittings for large meeting rooms (Deutsche Bundesbahn)
Two large Meissen porcelain vases (Deutsche Reichsbahn)

Railways of Austria, Belgium, Spain, United Kingdom,
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Bulgaria, Romania
and Yugoslavia
Full set of fixtures and furniture for the meeting rooms, offices of the Chairman and Secretary-General (Chief Executive), coffee area and cloakroom, etc.

Railways of Greece and Italy
120 tonnes of raw marble (Greece) for the main entrance steps, entrance hall, and walls and pillars in the basement 200m_ of marble slabs (Italy) for the wall coverings in the entrance hall

Hungarian Railways
Large wall mosaic by Victor Vasarely in the UIC entrance hall, inaugurated in 1976 in the presence of the artist himself, wall hangings

Indian Railways
Beautiful miniature reproduction of the Taj Mahal on a carved silver plate, on display in the UIC entrance hall

Canadian National Railways
Stylised Eskimo sculpture, on display in the UIC entrance hall

People’s Republic of China Railways
Two porcelain vases

Iranian Railways
Large ornately patterned carpetIsraeli Railways
Large mosaic inspired by a 6th century work of art discovered in Israel, inlaid into the paving of the entrance hall

Japanese Railways
Ornamental porcelain vase and a Japanese sailing junk

Lebanese Railways
Original clock-shaped gong mounted on cedar wood

Luxembourg Railways
“International Union of Railways” in stainless steel lettering over the main entrance of the UIC building

Dutch Railways
Large ceramic ornamental design in the mezzanine bar area

Polish Railways
Vases, sculpted wooden statuette and decorative fabrics from Poland

Swiss Railways
Two ornamental precision clocks (SBB) and decorative objects (BLS)

Syrian Railways
Engraved copper plate

Czechoslovakian Railways
Brightly-coloured crystal glass set into the walls of the entrance hall

Turkish Railways
Traditional handcrafted carpet

During the inauguration of the UIC headquar ters in May 1963, the then Secretary-General Louis Armand acknowledged in his speech
the sentimental and symbolic worth of these various contributions:
“…but we’ve tried to give it some feeling, and since feelings should cost nothing, we’ve sim ply asked that contributions take the form of
gifts. All the beautiful objects you see in this building are gifts which, thanks to patient and ingenious designers, have been blended in such a way that coloured Czech glass lights up white Italian marble, Hungarian fabric matches the décor of the Belgian room and a Lurçat wall hanging brightens up the German room… A little feeling, a little heart and soul brings everyone together, and is another way of being productive.”