The Grill at the Seagram Building

L'Observatoire International was engaged by Aby Rosen of RFR Realty in collaboration with Major Food Group and designer William T. Georgis to develop a lighting scheme for The Grill and The Pool, formerly The Four Seasons restaurant at The Seagram Building in New York City.


This a midcentury landmark designed by renowned architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson was often called “The Tower of Light” due to the groundbreaking work of Richard Kelly, the pioneering architectural lighting designer. Since opening in 1959, the restaurant has been a shining example of New York modernism.

Upholding and respecting Kelly’s original 1959 lighting scheme for the space, as a foundation for L’Observatoire International’s lighting design strategy. The original concept and mood are preserved while simultaneously being refreshed with improved lighting technology, including the use of LEDs and a new, modern controls system.

With minimal construction or disruption, L'Observatoire added additional layers of light that provide accents to the space's historic architectural features. More control and precision are provided for settings between day and evening, allowing for dynamic lighting for events and special occasions, modernizing Kelly’s lighting design intent. New technologies and efficiencies build on the existing design while creating subtle enhancements and respecting the landmarked building's original character.

Hervé Descottes, Principal of L'Observatoire, enhances the intimacy of the dining experience by creating resonance between darker and brighter areas, highlighting table tops and playing with layers of light and shadow at The Grill, while keeping the original scheme lighting.


The lighting of The Grill celebrates the dining experience of today while preserving the beauty of the space’s legendary past.

Location New York, NY, USA
Date Completed 2017
Architect Mies Van Der Rohe
Interior Architect Philip Johnson
Interior Designer Renovation William T. Georgis
Architect of Record Richard H. Lewis Architects
Client Major Food Group RFR Realty
Type Hospitality
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leaders Jenny Ivansson Wei Jien
Project Team Elisa Forlini Thomas Mnich
Press Wallpaper, May 2017
The New York Times , Mar 2017
Architectural Record, Oct 2017
Photo Credits L'Observatoire International, Scott Frances courtesy of Major Food, Bill Georgis courtesy of Major Food