“Heather Carson’s lights were in my garden. Well, that’s my interpretation. Heather Carson’s lights were an installation at the American Academy in Rome, and my bedroom happily overlooked them. Each night a slight blue reflection danced into my window. The lights were, as most of the beautiful things in life are, absolutely simple. Squares of neon blue surrounded the periphery of more than a dozen fruit trees. The rows, when lit, had the symmetrical fascination of a Balanchine ballet. In fact, I always thought at any moment those trees would begin dancing in line like the best corps de ballet. Heather Carson’s lights gave the garden both classical order and esprit.

Carson’s background is as a theatrical lighting designer. I have always thought that theatrical lighting designers are the most interesting people in my field; almost more than playwrights, they have an innate sense of what needs to be heightened and what’s best to be left alone. Like Josef Albers, they understand the emotionality of color—how it subtly changes everything. From the view of my garden in Rome, it’s clear that Carson brings her theatrical training to her art. The blue light creates a night almost like that in a Rousseau painting. The square peripherics resonate to the walls of an ancient city. The garden becomes like the ultimate stage set. The stars above and the blue-lit trees below await the romance of lovers and the serenity of sleep. My garden lights designed by Heather Carson at the American Academy in Rome have made me put three things on my permanent “to do” list: 1) Renovate a villa in Rome. 2) Hire Heather Carson to create the most elegant light in my summer garden. 3) Call whomever it is who provides starts every night.”

playwright Wendy Wasserstein
Garden Design

October, 1999

 “A small orchard becomes a garden of ethereal blues”, says poet Mark Strand of Carson’s creation.