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Edible Design

It's a potato AND a typeface.

By Aileen Gallagher

Jean-Georges's $40,000 Light Makes You Look Like a Million Bucks

When Jean-Georges Vongerichten retooled his namesake restaurant, his lighting designer Herve Descottes wanted, in his words, “to bring a little bit of attention to the center of the room” — and boy did he! The Frenchman spent six months and over $40,000 working with Seattle firm Neidhart Lighting to create a steel fixture that looks like a shitake mushroom and is also “a little bit sensual.” Each lamp is trimmed with reflective gold leaf. Three 35-watt halogen bulbs are controlled by a computer, with different settings for lunch, early dinner, and post–8 p.m., when the light is softest because there’s no competing sunlight. Installing the arms wasn’t exactly a breeze: “They were dancing a little bit,” says Descottes. It looks like they still are — but then maybe that’s just the Mouton buzz.