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commercial lighting

Industrial Lighting Harkens Back to Historical Roots of Brewery Building

When the brew masters behind Watauga Brewing Company started planning to expand their growing business, they had all the right ingredients. Great beer, enthusiastic patrons, and an old building in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee just waiting for a renovation.

Under the talented direction of Rothe Architecture + Planning, the renovation transformed the historic building into a three-level tap room, restaurant, and sky bar.

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“The idea was to create a cohesive feeling between the beauty of the historic elements and newly introduced elements,” says Andrea Russell, associate designer and project manager with Rothe. “The use of greys and earth-toned elements works well with the exposed brick and heavy timber in the space. The materials and fixtures give a minimalistic and industrial style to the space.” As Andrea considered lighting for each level of the building, design and customization options were of utmost importance.

“Lighting can often act both functionally and as art, creating interest and conversation,” she explains. “It should draw attention as a unique feature of the space and lead people to appreciate it as such. Being able to make the design of the fixture work to the rest of the design is a great incentive. And having something that is American made is always a great bonus.”

Andrea found the combination she was looking for with Barn Light Electric. Our array of easy-to-customize, American-made fixtures offered plenty of options for each unique space of the brewery.

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Working with FSA Lighting, one of Barn Light’s commercial representatives, Andrea started with the first-floor tap room which houses all of the brewing equipment, a long bar, plus tables and chairs. Andrea chose to highlight the bar with six Loma Pendant Lights customized with generous 16″ shades. The shades are finished with a Black powder coat exterior and a Raw Brass interior.

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“The Loma Pendants are a simplistic beauty. The ability to customize the exterior and the interior with different finishes allows it to flow well with other elements and still be visually captivating,” she notes. “The black exterior keeps it from competing with the dominant brewery system, while the brass interior allows for strong light distribution and an element of interest while sitting beneath them.”

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For the second floor restaurant space, Andrea chose the Downtown Minimalist Cord Pendant to provide illumination and a subtle design element that would not overpower the space. These pendants are customized with a Raw Brass cup and black cloth cords.

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“Being able to see through the pendants keeps the dining space feeling open and allows patrons to appreciate the historical beauty of the space,” Andrea says. “The beauty of the brass gives the fixture some interest. The fixtures themselves are simplistic, beautiful, and match the historical style of the interior space.”

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Heading up to the rooftop via the stairs, the narrow space is lit by Flush Mount Guard Sconces. These compact, guard-and-glass fixtures feature a Black powder coat finish and clear glass. The stairs act as a transition to the very different voice of the rooftop bar, and the sconces are just a hint at what’s above.

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“The rooftop bar is all new construction and has its own identity,” Andrea explains. “The design has a modern urban feel unlike the historically influenced floors below.” Andrea chose to highlight the bar with Industrial Guard Stem Mount Pendants customized with a powder coat Black finish, clear glass, and 24″ stems.

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“The stem mount pendants give a fun, modern vibe to the open-air space,” she says. “While the rooftop has its own identity, it still has some cohesive design elements to ensure the branding continues into that space. The accents of black are part of that design concept that carries into the rooftop space.”

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The rooftop walls are also accented with Streamline Industrial Guard Sconces. These rugged wall lights feature the same Black finish and clear glass as the nearby pendants.

“These work well with the pendants and are complementary in style. They help bring the urban modern identity to the space,” Andrea notes. “Being a ‘guarded’ sconce ensures that it is less likely to be damaged.”

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With as much creativity put into the design of the space as goes into every glass of Watauga beer, the combination is a sure winner.

“We love the lights’ unique designs,” Andrea says. “They aren’t just functional lamps but interest pieces. Seeing a guest make note of them or converse about them makes them feel more like art than just another light fixture.”

Photos by Social House Photography

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