F5: Lighting Designer Hervé Descottes Shares His Lockdown Cocktail of Choice

07.16.21 | By
F5: Lighting Designer Hervé Descottes Shares His Lockdown Cocktail of Choice
Hervé Descotte headshot

Photo courtesy L’Observatoire International

In 1993, Hervé Descottes co-founded the lighting design firm L’Observatoire International in New York City after eight years of design practice in Paris. As Principal, he personally creates the lighting concepts for all projects, overseeing them from development through completion. Hervé has been recognized numerous times by the lighting design and architectural community. He’s received awards from the International Association of Lighting Designers, the Illuminating Engineering Society, the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects and D&ADAD among others. In 2008, Hervé was named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. And in 2020, he received the Interior Design’s Best of Year Award for Best Lighting Designer.

L’Observatoire International is an award-winning, leading global lighting design firm that collaborates with the most renowned architects and design firms in the world. Their client list is lengthy and impressive, counting selected projects that include the British Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hudson Yards Master Plan, Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Alice Tully Hall and Juilliard School, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Columbus Circle and the Boom Boom Room at the Standard Hotel.

We’re happy to share Hervé’s Friday Five picks with you today!

after dinner table

Photo courtesy L’Observatoire International

1. Omen
A place I like to go to reflect/enjoy fabulous meals and share an amazing time with my friends is Omen in New York. Every time I go there, I feel the love and serenity around me through the the minimal and calm environment. Everything is in order like a beautiful house in Japan, carefully placed. Even the art on the wall is perfectly selected.

cover of Arthur Rubenstein's The Chopin Collection The Noctures

Photo courtesy L’Observatoire International

2. My Playlist
Playing with my personal music playlist – between classical, modern, African, Brazil and France. I love to travel the world through music. I always feel extremely inspired by music from West Africa and Mali, and love to hear when people sing in Brazilian Portuguese. I love the words. In French music, I love the lyrics when they sing about dramatic love.

table of people in a restaurant posing for the camera

Photo courtesy L’Observatoire International

3. A Negroni with Jean-Georges
Meeting with my friend Jean-Georges for a great Negroni. During the first few months of the pandemic, we were doing Negronis remotely and having the best Negronis on FaceTime. I also love when friends select a burgundy wine, because I’m from Burgundy. I love to select the best one to match with our meals.

man and young child sitting on motorcycle on city street

Photo courtesy L’Observatoire International

4. Motorbike Rides Through Manhattan
Driving through Manhattan with my motorbike, especially in the East Village or Times Square. Going down Broadway and feeling the energy coming off the big advertising screens is a thrill.

illuminated art gallery with two box-like sculptures

Photo courtesy L’Observatoire International

5. Museums
Spending two hours in a single gallery looking at one art piece. I spend a lot of time going through museums – more and more my passion focuses on a single piece or gallery during a museum visit. I used to go to museums and visit the whole museum in the afternoon, but now I concentrate on one gallery or one painting so I can really enter it. I love when you stand for a long time at a painting and at some point the painting opens up to you and reveals details visible or suggested. The more you stare the more it opens up and reveals a secret invisible or visible.

Lighting Projects by Hervé Descottes:

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial \\\ Photo: Halkin Mason Photography

The High Line at dusk

The High Line \\\ Photo: Halkin Mason Photography

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.