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The Morgan maps out a garden of enchantment

Plan calls for colourful beds, outdoor antiquities and a lighting scheme to showcase the museum’s architecture

A rendering of the Morgan Library & Museum's planned lighting scheme Courtesy of Tillett Lighting Design

Long overlooked since Renzo Piano’s 2006 expansion moved the main entrance to Madison Avenue, the Morgan Library and Museum’s southern façade will become the focus of a light show under a $12.5m project to enhance the building’s exterior. The museum says that its current landscaping, essentially a simple lawn, does little to engage the public: today it unveiled plans to introduce a new garden that would draw visitors onto paths of bluestone patterned after the library’s floor. In a scheme overseen by the landscape designer Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, the Morgan plans to introduce beds of periwinkle flanking the library’s loggia and brightly hued herbaceous beds. A Roman sarcophagus, a Roman funerary stele and two Renaissance corbels drawn from the museum’s holdings will add to the contemplative atmosphere. But the show-stopper is the illumination from Tillett Lighting Design Associates: the museum promises to create an “enchanting, moonlit nocturnal environment” that will throw features of its palazzo-like façade into relief.