L'Observatoire International is a lighting design firm established by Hervé Descottes in 1993 in New York City. The firm works within a range of different spatial expressions including architecture, landscape, urban, and fine art projects.

L'Observatoire has become known for its innovative ways of applying light within the built environment, by merging the latest technologies with an aesthetic paradigm in order to most advantageously engage and reveal the program, space, and form.[1] The firm has collaborated with architects and designers including Steven Holl, Frank Gehry, Diller Scorfidio + Renfro, Jean Nouvel, Richard Meier, Peter Marino.[2]

Hervé Descottes

Herve Descottes was born and raised in Burgundy, France and moved to New York City in 1993 to establish L'Observatoire International. Descottes was first introduced to Lighting Design by the French lighting designer, sculptor and philosopher Philippe de Bozzi in 1989.[3]
He is the author of two books on lighting design, "Ultimate Lighting Design" (2005, TeNeues), as well as "Architectural Lighting - Designing with Light and Space" in collaboration with Cecilia E. Ramos (2011, Princeton Architectural Press).
Descottes has been the recipient of several honorific titles, attributed to his contributions to the spatial environment.

Recent Notable Works


Museum of the Moving Image Queens, NY, USA
Interior lighting of museum spaces and exterior lighting of building facade
Architect: Leeser Architecture

Cité du Surf et de L'Ocean Biarritz, France
Interior lighting of exhibition spaces and exterior lighting of landscape
Architect: Steven Holl Architects

Beekman Tower New York, NY, USA
76 story residential tower - Interior lighting of public spaces and exterior lighting of plaza
Architect: Gehry Partners, LLP

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond, VA, USA
Interior lighting for all public areas of the museum, including galleries, public lobbies
and circulation, museum café, educational facilities, and auditoria. Exterior lighting for landscape and site
Architect: Rick Mather Architects + SMBW


Taikoo Place Hong Kong
Interior lighting of public spaces and exterior lighting of plaza
Client: Swire Properties

Linked Hybrid Beijing, China
7 residential / mixed use towers
Exterior lighting, interior lighting of lobby, public spaces and apartments
Architect: Steven Holl Architects

Raffles City Chengdu Chengdu, China
Lighting design for development of 5 highrise towers totaling 195,000 square meters
Architect: Steven Holl Architects


The High Line New York, NY, USA
1.2 miles of former elevated tracks, Exterior lighting of elevated tracks
Architect: Diller, Scofidio + Renfro
Landcape Architect: Field Operations

The Standard Hotel New York, NY, USA
Interior lighting of restaurant, bar / lounge, hotel rooms and exterior lighting of public spaces
Architect: Polshek Partnership Architects


Newtown Creek Waste Water Pollution Treatment Plant Brooklyn, NY, USA
2,000,000 sq.ft. master plan
General exterior lighting and interior lighting of specific spaces
Architect: Polshek Partnership
Engineers: Quennel, Rothschild & Ptrs., Greely & Hansen, Hazen & Sawyer,
Malcolm Pirnie

The Pink Project Make It Right Foundation New Orleans, LA, USA
Lighting installation for the Pink Project, the inaugural event, fundraising for the 9th Ward
Architect: Graft
Founder: Brad Pitt

Novartis Basel, Switzerland Interior lighting of office building including restaurant, Lening Center and auditorium
Architect: Gehry International, LLP


2010: IES Illuminations award of Merit
Awarded to the following projects:
Newtown Creek Waste Water Pollution Treatment Plant, New York, NY
The High Line, New York, NY
Lincoln Center Redeveloment: Alice Tully Hall and the Juilliard School, New York, NY

2010: The Municipal Art Society of New York
Awarded to the following projects:
Lincoln Center Redevelopment: Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY
The High Line, New York, NY

2008: Chevalier des Arts et Lettres
Knight of Arts and Letters
Award administered by the Minister of Culture and the Government of France.

2008: ASLA Design Excellence Award
for Buffalo Bayou: Sabine to Bagby Promenade, Houston, TX

2008: Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
For Theory World Headquarters and Retail Flagship in N.Y.C., New York.

2008: Yellow Pencil Award from D&AD (British Design and Art Direction)
For Environmental Design/Installation for the Make It Right
Foundation’s Pink Project in N.O., Louisiana, with Graft as architect.

2007: Award of Excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects
For the Buffalo Bayou: Sabine to Bagby Promenade, Houston, TX

2003: Institute Honor from Collaborative Achievement in Design
American Institute of Architects (AIA)

2003: Award for Excellence in Design from the Art Commission of New York City
For the exterior lighting of the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City N.Y.C., New York [4]

Book Publications

Descottes, Hervé; Cecilia E. Ramos (2011). Architectural Lighting, Designing with Light and Space. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-56898-938-9. 

Descottes, Hervé (2005). Ultimate Lighting Design. Italy: TeNeues. ISBN 3-8327-9016-0. 


  1. Ultimate Lighting Design, Projects by Hervé Descottes / L'Observatoire International
  2. [1]
  3. [cite book |title= Architectural Lighting, Designing with Light and Space |last= Descottes |first= Hervé |coauthors= Cecilia E. Ramos |year= 2011 |publisher= Princeton Architectural Press |location= New York |isbn= 978-1-56898-938-9]
  4. [2]
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article L'Observatoire International, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Lucy Walker Search for "L'Observatoire International" on Google
View Wikipedia's deletion log of "L'Observatoire International"

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