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

Light fixture

No, thats not the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Photo: Melissa Hom

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 post8 p.m., when the light is softest because theres no competing sunlight. Installing the arms wasnt exactly a breeze: They were dancing a little bit, says Descottes. It looks like they still are but then maybe thats just the Mouton buzz.