• Architecture & Design
  • News

Garden Comes To Life With Outdoor LEDs


Path lighting from Auroralight brightens a century-old garden. With lighting design inspired by a scene from Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Shakespeare Garden on the campus of Northwestern Univ. (NU), Evanston, IL, features LED path lighting from Auroralight Inc., Carlsbad, CA. For the first time in the garden’s century-old history, visitors can enjoy it after dark.

In 2015, The Garden Club of Evanston received a special gift of $100,000 from NU in honor of the club’s 100th anniversary and the centennial of the garden’s creation in 1915. The garden was originally established to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616. Now, 100 years later, NU’s generous gift allowed the club to make significant improvements in the garden as a multi-pronged project, including its first-ever lighting, a long-held goal.

“From the moment we heard acclaimed Chicago lighting designer Peter Hugh’s vision for the garden’s lighting plan, we knew we wanted that for the Shakespeare Garden,” said Claudia Lane, president of The Garden Club. “To create a magical scene at night, the lighting had to create a glow, with pools of illumination playing against the mysterious shadows in the space. But during the day, the lighting had to be unobtrusive and harmonious with the subtle palette of colors in our classic English garden. We are also a public space on the campus, so the lighting had to be durable and not require ‘babying.’ We are very happy with the choice of the beautiful solid brass and copper Auroralight fixtures,” she concluded.

Peter Hugh of Hugh Lighting Design, Oak Park, IL, drew upon his theater background for the lighting design. “I wanted to use lighting that was representative of the fairies coming out at night as seen in Midsummer Night’s Dream,” he said. “To make this vision a reality, I had to get the university to rethink what value fixtures are. Real value is seen in longevity, better performance, and less maintenance over time versus the lowest upfront cost,” he explained.

With the help of Andy Siegel, senior specifications at Archibald & Meek, a Chicago-based lighting representative, Hugh brought in samples of Auroralight’s Maglio LMG1-90s for LED path light use, and created mock ups that were also shared with the landscape architect, Hitchcock Design Group, Naperville, IL.

COPYRIGHT_CAM: Published on https://www.commercialarchitecturemagazine.com/garden-comes-to-life-with-outdoor-leds/ by George Evans on 2022-10-11T09:13:53.807Z

“We let the staff at Northwestern hold the fixtures in their hands so they could appreciate the quality in workmanship and the beauty found in the use of solid copper and brass,” explained Hugh. “They loved the look of the Maglio and when I talked about its outstanding performance, use of energy saving LED technology, and the lifetime warranty, they were completely on board with our choice of Auroralight!”- Peter Hugh of Hugh Lighting Design

The Maglio LMG1-90 fixture is powered by a single, 2 1/2-W, high-performance LED in 2,700, 3,000, or 4,500 K (80 CRI). Its light output is profuse, yet allows the designer to manage direction for a glare-free presentation with the use of its rotational glare shield and dimming capabilities.

The contemporary luminaire is manufactured from solid copper and brass, offered in four finishes, and assembled with stainless-steel hardware and hermetically sealed with silicone O-rings. It is a popular choice for path lighting because of its sleek silhouette that seamlessly blends into the surrounding landscape. The luminaire comes standard in 12-, 18-, and 22-in. heights with a wide variety of mount options.

Hugh also specified four of Auroralight’s LMWL LED micro well lights to highlight the focal points of the garden’s fountain and sundial. At only 3 W, the diminutive luminaire provides the designer with a variety of inspired options to ensure the desired effect. It is available in three beam spreads–10-deg. narrow, 25-deg. medium, or 40-deg. wide–and standard color temperatures of 2,700, 3,000 or 4,500 K (80 CRI).

The LMWL also dims to less than 10% and is compatible with standard TRIAC dimming systems. Machined from solid brass, it provides six faceplate selections, including brass, stainless steel, round, and square. It’s also rated for interior and exterior use, making it possible to illuminate a diverse range of architectural features to create design continuity throughout a project.

Overall, the 70 x 100-sq.-ft. garden features 40 path lights, 4 well lights, and another LED fixture mounted on a tree by a tree strap to create a moonlight effect illuminating a statue of William Shakespeare and the fountain.


“Using Auroralight was an easy choice for me,” said Hugh. “We have peace of mind knowing that if something goes wrong, we are working with a company that will take care of it and that means a lot to us.”

Seigel also appreciated how the fixtures speak for themselves during client presentations. “Their light distribution, color temperatures, adjustability, versatility, and sustainability are all major factors in why I try and get them specified whenever I possibly can,” he commented.

Claudia Lane added, “We feel that Shakespeare himself and the original landscape architect Jens Jensen, along with the ‘ladies of the club’ who founded the garden 100 years ago would be happy, too. The garden, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is now ready for its second century with the ‘dream’ of illumination achieved!”

Share: Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

About The Authors

George Evans

George Evans - George Anderson, an exceptional architectural designer, envisions and brings to life structures that transcend the realm of imagination. With an unwavering passion for design and an innate eye for detail, George seamlessly blends form and function, creating immersive spaces that inspire awe. Driven by a deep appreciation for the interplay of space, light, and materials, George's innovative approach redefines the possibilities of architectural design. His visionary compositions leave an indelible mark, evoking a sense of wonder and transforming the built environment. George Anderson's transformative designs and unwavering dedication continue to shape the architectural landscape, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and inspiring generations to come.

Recent Articles

No articles found.