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EVENT REPORT

Botanic Garden Benefit Gets Glowing Lucite, Cellophane Clouds

Photo: Tay Kaune

It's been a rainstorm-heavy month, but planners weren't particularly concerned about the weather when it came to the Chicago Botanic Garden's summer dance on Friday night. The fund-raiser followed a formula that's been in place since it began seven years ago: After alfresco cocktails on the esplanade, guests headed to a decked-out tent for dinner and dancing.

“The garden is stunning rain or shine,” co-chair Stephanie Harris said in an email. “In case of rain, we would have used more of the beautiful indoor space that already exists at the Botanic Garden, in addition to the fantastic tent.” But ultimately, the only clouds on Friday were of the Heffernan Morgan-designed variety.

Bill Heffernan said his design scheme was intended to look “contemporary, fresh, and clean.” In the tent, clear Lucite chairs framed custom white lacquer tables, and illuminated centerpieces held color-blocked bunches of orchids.  For the crowning touch, Heffernan used thousands of sheets of cellophane and chromed lightbulbs to design 16 cloudlike chandeliers. As night fell, a pink lighting scheme gave the floating fixtures a raspberry-hued glow.

Ultimately, “we wanted to keep the traditions that were set out in years past, but add a bit of a younger, modern edge to [the event],” said Harris, whose fellow co-chairs included her mother-in-law, Caryn Harris. The event drew 406 guests and raised nearly $425,000 for the garden's conservation, education, and research programs.