Eric Johnson’s Lighting Design Brings the “Home” to
Contemporary Residential and Hospitality Architecture
by Lois I. Hutchinson | Oct 22, 2019 | WCLI Feature Article
Author: Lois I. Hutchinson
Eric Johnson credits his father, Merlin Johnson, with ensuring a thorough lighting education for his sons; his brothers all worked in the Bay Area lighting industry at some point. “My dad started his own lighting business in 1969 – when it was all learning on the job – designing and installing lighting. We were involved with the whole process, from layouts and drawings to modifying and customizing fixtures to create whatever lighting effects we were going for. It was a full, rounded education from the ground up.” The company also fabricated residential framing projectors (the Merlin Light) and specialized in highly integrated lighting and “seamless” artwork illumination, which brought in high-end Bay Area and international projects. “We got to be involved with some pretty incredible projects and lit some amazing art collections,” Johnson recalled.
The firm worked with some of the top designers of the day. Johnson mentioned Michael Taylor and Val Arnold: “Some were more on the modern side; some were highly traditional…. You would get the full mix of styles, but nobody wanted to see the lighting.” Ceiling apertures were minimal, and the Johnsons fabricated striplighting from festoon lamps to hide in coves and integrate into casework… [read more ]
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