Hervé Descottes


In 1993, Hervé Descottes founded the lighting design firm L’Observatoire International in New York City after eight years of design practice in Paris, France. Descottes personally creates the lighting concepts for all projects designed by L’Observatoire International and oversees project development through project completion.

Descottes has been recognized numerous times by the lighting design and architectural community. He has received awards from the International Association of Lighting Designers, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the New York City Illuminating Engineering Society, the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects, D&ADAD, the Municipal Art Society of New York City, and the GE Corporation. In 2008, Descottes was named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. In 2020, Descottes received Interior Design’s Best of Year Award for Best Lighting Designer.

Architectural Lighting: Designing with Light and Space, coauthored with Cecilia E. Ramos. Princeton Architectural Press, 2011. Ultimate Lighting Design: Projects by Hervé Descottes/ L’Observatoire International. teNeues, 2006.

Lighting Design in Architecture: A Conversation with Hervé Descottes and Steven Holl, USA 2021 In Praise with Shadows, in partnership with VCU and AIA Virginia Design Forum, USA, 2020 Friends of ESDA of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, 2019
Hervé Descottes in Conversation with Cindy Allen, Interior Design Innovation, New York, USA 2019
Belysning, Stockholm, Sweden 2018 Designing with Light, Chicago Architecture Biennial Symposium, Chicago, USA, 2017 Columbia CORE I Series, New York, USA, 2016
Foro Lighting en Site IES, Mexico, 2015 The University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2015 Using Light as Infrastructure, Chester City, UK, 2014 Ubuntu: Design Symposium, Sangmyung University, Seoul, Korea, 2011 OHNY, Friends of the High Line, New York, USA, 2010 Light and Theater, New York, USA, 2008 Art, Architecture, and Light, Athens, Greece, 2008 Making Light, IES Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, 2008 Evocative Luminance, IES NY, New York, USA, 2007 Rediscovering Columbus, New York, USA, 2007 The University of Waterloo School of Architecture, Canada, 2006 The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, The Cooper Union, New York, USA, 2006 Lighting Design Talk, Cedar Lake Theater, New York, USA, 2006 Center of Mediterranean Architecture, Chania, Crete, Greece, 2004 Hommages à James Turrell, Institute Franco-Portugais, Lisbon, 2003

The City Dark, directed by Ian Cheney, 2012