Earlier this week, in the bustling heart of New York City, an evening of significance unfolded. Hervé Descottes of L’Observatoire International had celebrated a milestone: 30 years of lighting up the world. The grand event was held in the iconic Boom Boom Room, situated on the 18th floor of The Standard Hotel—a space that stood as a testament to Hervé Descottes’ masterful lighting design.
The view from the Boom Boom Room was nothing short of breathtaking. Spectacular vistas of the city stretched out below, with the High Line—another L’Observatoire masterpiece design—winding its way among the skyscrapers.
As attendees entered, they were greeted with an array of custom drinks: a vodka and ginger concoction, a refreshing Watermelon Tequila, and the ever-present flow of champagne that set the mood for the evening.
One of the notable attendees, Chris McVoy of Steven Holl Architects, had a lot to share. Chris and his wife also run an architectural firm, O’NEILL McVOY. Having done business with Hervé for 30 years, Chris offered insights into the state of the architecture market. He noted that things had picked up slightly, commenting, “Everything slowed down in the pandemic, especially with our institutional clients like universities, museums, and libraries. But as the economy stabilized, these institutions began to invest again.”
On the subject of how the relationship between architects and salespeople had evolved in the post-Covid world, Chris observed that face-to-face interactions were less frequent. “Many will email information and sometimes ship samples to the office,” he explained.
I asked about the importance of sustainability and its significance in modern design. Chris explained emphatically that it was urgent and that society is in trouble (although he used more colorful language) if sustainability is not incorporated into design. He stated, “The nice thing about lighting in the last 10 years since everything is LED is that the amount of energy lighting uses has dropped by 70-80%. It’s now much easier to manage lighting. It’s much simpler to power lighting with photovoltaics and renewable energy.” He went on to say, “We’ve always been huge proponents of natural light. We’ve often worked with Hervé on integrating natural lighting and electric lighting. That’s the best space. The sun is free, so use it.”
Then, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived. Hervé took the stage to a round of applause. He warmly addressed the crowd, “First of all, thank you to everyone for coming here tonight and sharing this incredible moment. It is very emotional for me. Everyone came from different parts of the world, and we tried to create a place and a company which could work everywhere on fabulous design. My friends are here. My family is here. My daughter is here. I feel very touched that you could make it tonight. It was great. I don’t have too many words because I wanted to celebrate with happiness and joy, in a beautiful place that I was a part of the design of about 15 years ago. It feels so good to be here. It is so warm. It is so touching. Thank you for coming, really, and cheers.”
The evening was a testament to Hervé’s dedication, talent, and the significant impact he and L’Observatoire International have made, and continue to make, in the world of lighting design.