Our Philosophy

The connection between food and place is a powerful one.

If you ask people why certain meals hold such special memories in their lives, they rarely limit their reasons to food
itself. Where they were, the people they were with, and the occasions that they were celebrating – these all contribute
to one-of-a-kind experiences that can stay with us for life. The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry understands this
dynamic relationship between food and place- the emotional connection between what we eat and where we eat it.
For over 25 years, The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry has brought this philosophy to their work, across the country,
in over 500 projects; each one unique, each one a stage setting for a lifetime of memorable experiences.


Our People

Anita Summers, AIA

Associate Principal


Anita’s genuine warmth is felt by The Johnson Studio clients and suppliers alike as she builds trusted relationships across the hospitality, building and design industries. She orchestrates a natural harmony between interiors and architecture and oversees lighting design for the studio.

Anita grasps the powerful emotional appeal of a well-lit space. Often partnering with artisans to create exceptional, custom pieces, she transforms a status quo restaurant into a warm and intimate dinner party, causing hushed admiration for the love on the plate and the company at the table. She can equally set a room aflame with bright bursts of sparkly energy that make the possibilities of one evening seem endless. It’s all about the drama. The trick is subtlety, and at this, Anita excels.

Anita has spent her 25 year career working with Bill at The Johnson Studio, where she began her journey as an architect. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State University.

To see and feel Anita’s talent, visit the rich Rathbun’s, cozy Krog Bar, and opulent Ecco in Atlanta; dramatic Legal Sea Foods in Boston; and luxurious Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.

Anna McGrady

Interior Designer, NCIDQ, ASID


Anna lends her gift to the hippest restaurants across the country through The Johnson Studio. Her knack for artfully marrying modern and historic elements becomes immediately evident upon meeting this young lady with an old soul. Recent accomplishments include designs for the intimate Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans, La., chic Lumen lobby bar in the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and gorgeous steakhouse, The Royce, in the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Calif.

Anna joined The Johnson Studio in 2007 and holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in Interior Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her passion for historic architecture led her to join the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Annie Bryant

Office Manager


Annie keeps The Johnson Studio humming as an incredibly efficient and team oriented office manager. She assists our entire staff daily to help update and coordinate projects worldwide.

Annie joined The Johnson Studio in May 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a French minor from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Ashley K McCaul

Interior Designer, NCIDQ, ASID


Ashley introduces The Johnson Studio clientele to the art of texture with her distinguishing eye. She mirrors a chef’s combination of palate pleasing textures by creating inviting, multi-layered spaces with fabrics, woods, metals and glass. Her portfolio includes the cosmopolitan Bistro Niko in Atlanta, Ga., sophisticated Brennan’s in Houston, Tx. and modern Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Boston, Ma.

Ashley’s early experience in fashion merchandising ignited her passion for design. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2005, she managed visual merchandising for Gap, Inc., focusing on increasing sales through eye-catching merchandise layout. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Consumer and Textile Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from American Intercontinental University.

Bill Johnson, AIA

Associate Principal


Bill grew up surrounded by the architectural beauty of Charleston, one of the oldest cities in the nation and famous for its hospitality and entertaining. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that he has carried that joie de vivre into his profession.

Opening his own business in 1986, Bill earned his position as one of the foremost hospitality designers in the nation by concentrating on the finer details that make a restaurant outstanding: great lighting, authentic materials, and a creative, well-crafted layout.

Bill believes a great space gives something back to the person who enters it. It should feel as comfortable as a home, but add that intangible “more” to make a guest feel welcome, alive, and unburdened. Each of his concepts is unique to the client. The measure of success lies in marrying the concept to the personality of the chef, the quality of the food, the type of clientele, and above all, creating the “wow” factor that sets a restaurant above its competitors.

Bill received his Bachelor of Science in Building Construction from The Georgia Institute of Technology. He still serves as a visiting studio critic and public speaker. He and The Johnson Studio’s creative work have been featured in numerous national and local publications.

Bo Arner

Senior Project Manager


Bo carries a deep understanding of how to balance form, function and fashion within a restaurant. He, has, after all, had every job imaginable in the restaurant business. His accomplishments with The Johnson Studio include at the sleek Cibo Matto, glamorous rooftop bar, ROOF and urban STATE and LAKE, all located in Chicago’s The Wit Hotel.

Having risen from waiter to general manager at a popular restaurant in Atlanta, Bo offers authenticity and practicality to restaurant design. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 1998, Bo led his own contracting firm exclusive to the hospitality industry. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech.

Brian Finkel, AIA, NCARB

Associate Principal


Brian joined the Studio in 1992 after spending the first 10 years of his career in hospitality, historic renovations, commercial and retail centers. An Atlanta native, Brian obtained his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

With registrations currently in 25 states as well as the District of Columbia and the Federal Registration, Brian reviews the architecture and production of all projects. His skills are very helpful in the conceptual design phase, but on many projects he is involved from conceptual design through construction documents, construction, and closeout. In addition to leading the architecture group, he manages allocation of manpower and handles many of the financial aspects of firm management.

Brian’s architectural expertise in integrating design and architecture are apparent in such challenging projects as Nan Thai Fine Dining in Atlanta, GA, Strip Steakhouse in Atlanta, GA, Roof at The Wit Hotel in Chicago, IL, and 360 at the St. Louis at the Ballpark in St. Louis, Mo.

David McLean

Architect, AIA


David is a versatile architect with a keen gift for recycling spaces and materials to bring new life to what is old. His designs for The Johnson Studio are displayed in the vibrant Del Frisco’s Grille in Atlanta, Ga. and high end Cache in Little Rock, Ar.

Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2012, David led residential and adaptive re-use projects such as the Firestone Building and Oak Park 4th Lofts in Sacramento, Calif. The Lofts won the AIACV 2009 Merit Award. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Juliana Kerschen

Interior Designer, NCIDQ


Juliana converts bare industrial to refined coziness for The Johnson Studio with the simplest of details like a warm lamp or patterned rug. Her unique blend of modern simplicity and rustic European influence make discovering a new restaurant feel like a homecoming. Her craft is showcased at the sleek Cibo Matto and glamorous rooftop bar, ROOF, both located in Chicago’s The Wit Hotel and the comforting Manzanita at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

Juliana’s love of art and her travels through Switzerland, Italy and France have left an indelible impression on her creativity. She has concentrated her 13 year career on restaurant design, focusing on fast casual dining prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2006. Juliana holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Western Michigan University.

Karen Teske Blue, NCIDQ

Director of Interior Design


Karen joined The Johnson Studio in 1999 with 5 years’ experience designing boutique and nationally known hotels, including brands such as Hyatt Regency, Hilton, and Crown Plaza. She also created interiors for riverboats and cruise ships.

As Director of Interior Design, Karen manages the daily operations of the interior design department. Karen provides leadership and guidance to each design team and supervises all phases of a project, from conceptual design through construction. Karen believes that the best spaces are created when architects and interior designers collaborate. As an alumna of AIU, formerly the American College for the Applied Arts, Karen was placed on the Alumni Wall of Fame for her achievements as an interior designer in the industry. She continues to give back to the design community by participating in career seminars about restaurant and hospitality design for colleges, universities, and trade shows.

Karen has worked on some of our most prestigious projects, including Aria and Jöel in Atlanta, GA, Manzanita at The Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, Fearing's at the Dallas Ritz-Carlton, The Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas, and Cypress in Charleston, SC.

Keith Schutz, AIA

Associate Principal


Keith joined The Johnson Studio in 1995 with a background in hospitality, corporate and educational design. In addition to his role as a project architect, Keith handles studio workflow and manages the architectural staff. With more than 25 years of experience and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee, Keith contributes his strong technical detailing expertise to maintaining the quality our firm’s work.

Cypress, in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of Keith’s most distinctive projects. He contrasted the historic brick structure with a chic, modern design and incorporated a three-story wine wall that always impresses guests. Some of his newest projects include the luxury suites at Philips Arena and Lumen at the downtown Ritz-Carlton, both in Atlanta, Carmine’s in Las Vegas, NV, Manzanita at the Lake Tahoe Ritz-Carlton, Fearing’s at the Dallas Ritz-Carlton, TX, and TrU in Chicago, IL.

Kenny Syverson

3D Graphic Artist


Kenny enables The Johnson Studio team to conceptualize its creativity through his realistic and dynamic 3D renderings. His contributions include the renderings and designs for the electric Del Frisco’s in Washington, D.C. and nostalgic Polaris at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

A technology whiz, Kenny independently learned to transfer his drawing skills to the computer through three-dimensional digital design programs such as 3D Studio Max, Luxology Modo, VRay, and Maxwell Render. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2012, Kenny worked as a 3D Graphic Artist for 12 years at architecture and design firms.

Kevin Bailey

Architect, AIA


Kevin is a master at magnifying a building’s inherent beauty. His creations for The Johnson Studio, even when brand new, somehow seem like they’ve always existed. Kevin’s skill is displayed at the elegant Kevin Rathbun Steak in Atlanta and fabulous Lobster Bar Sea Grille in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Kevin’s passion for photography encourages him to study the playful movements of light and shadow. He is also a “gadget geek,” constantly teaching our team the latest technologies for building and construction. Kevin has specialized in restaurant design in his 17 year career and joined The Johnson Studio in 1996. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech.

Kimberly Baker

Purchasing Director


Kimberly sources and coordinates warehousing, transportation and delivery of all our materials . No item is too scarce or bulky for her to unearth, allowing The Johnson Studio to complete stunning designs within precise budgets and timelines. Notable purchasing projects include the glamorous rooftop bar, ROOF, in Chicago’s The Wit Hotel and gorgeous steakhouse, The Royce, in The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Calif.

Kimberly offers a fashion background and global mindset to her work. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2001, she worked for Elle magazine. Originally from South Africa, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Technology from Durban Technical College. Always eager for an adventure, Kimberly has lived and traveled worldwide.

Michelle B Hanna

Interior Designer


Michelle adds a cultured, cosmopolitan vibe to The Johnson Studio. Her remarkable ability to realize the full potential of a space with vibrant, dazzling details is evident in her projects worldwide. In addition to design, she draws beautiful hand-crafted architectural renderings. Michelle’s designs can be experienced at the sparkling Urbano in Dubai, luxurious Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton Dallas and comforting Manzanita at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

Michelle has pondered restaurant design ever since she can remember, as her family works in the business. She was raised in Boston surrounded by art, music and the hustle bustle of city life. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2002, Michelle began her career at several boutique, hospitality design firms in Boston. She holds a Bachelor’s of Interior Design from Chamberlayne School of Design.

Natalie Lieberman

Interior Designer, NCIDQ, ASID


Natalie showcases the intrinsic connection between food and love in her designs for The Johnson Studio. Her effortlessly elegant style is incorporated into the snug PRATO in Winter Park, Fla., welcoming KR SteakBar in Atlanta, Ga. and peppy 360 Rooftop at The Hilton in St. Louis, Mo.

Raised in a family that celebrates food, Natalie’s perfect evening involves a sizzling pan in one hand and a glass of Cabernet in the other. She draws inspiration for her designs by visiting the hottest restaurants and hotels, scouring flea markets for unique finds, and watching movies. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2005, Natalie spent several years in hotel design. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from The University of Memphis.

N Caroline Roberts

Business Manager


Caroline effortlessly leads our core business functions of strategic planning, human resources and tax planning. Her industry connections and negotiation savvy are critical to keeping results high and overhead low at The Johnson Studio.

Caroline shares more than 20 years of invaluable experience in accounting and management support for architectural service firms, furniture importers/exporters, and warehousing operations. She joined The Johnson Studio in 2005 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management from Oglethorpe University. An insatiable reader, Caroline dives into classic novels set in the English countryside and mystery whodunits in her free time.

Randall C Miller

Senior Architect, AIA


Randy is a seasoned and skilled architect with both a gut instinct and a trained eye for aesthetic pleasures. His portfolio for The Johnson Studio includes the bold Commander’s Palace in Destin, Fl., distinctive One Flew South in Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and sophisticated Brennan’s in Houston, Tx.

Randy lends 25 years of experience in national and boutique architecture firms for diverse industries including hospitality, healthcare and custom residential. He joined The Johnson Studio in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University. Randy is registered in Georgia, Colorado and Montana.

Sean Hackett

Intern Architect


Having joined our team in the fall of 2014, Sean brings a unique approach to his role at The Johnson Studio. His design background integrates modern sensibilities with historic architectural solutions for enhanced quality and aesthetic principles. Sean has provided technical drafting assistance on a variety of projects throughout the country including Del Frisco’s Grille Cherry Creek in Denver, CO, The Varsity in Winder, GA, Atlas at the St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta, GA, Slate in Orlando, FL and Il Mulino Trattoria in Nashville, TN.

Sean spent several years in the hospitality industry during his architectural studies. His experience and eye for detail contributes to an informed design. He graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and holds a Masters of Architecture from Virginia Tech.

Sharon Severance

Marketing, Public Relations,
Executive Coordinator


Sharon, as Executive Coordinator, assists Bill Johnson and the firm’s management team and liaises between the client and the project team through all phases of design. Sharon partners with each client’s public relations team, developing announcements and features centered on the studio’s custom spaces.

Sharon gained an avid appreciation for the diversity of culture, art and cuisine around the world through travel. Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 1997, Sharon spent several years working in art museums and managing galleries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Emory University and an Associate of Arts Degree from Oxford College of Emory. Sharon strongly believes in the importance of community and has been an avid participant and board member in several professional and civic organizations, such as the Fairlie Poplar Task Force, Central Atlanta Progress, the Atlanta Press Club, Atlanta Hospitality Alliance and charitable organizations such as Share Our Strength.

Thanh Dang

Senior CADD Operator


Thanh is a collaborative explorer- brainstorming with The Johnson Studio designers and architects, building upon a concept and demonstrating the range of possibilities through his honed skill of CADD drafting. His talents are demonstrated in the fun family-style Carmine’s in Las Vegas and edgy Legal LX3 in Boston’s Millennium Place.

Prior to joining The Johnson Studio in 2011, Thanh served healthcare clients in the U.S. and spent 10 years as an architect in Vietnam. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the College of Architecture in Saigon, Vietnam.


Our Studio(s)

The Johnson Studio is now part of Cooper Carry.

"Over the past 25 years, our firm has built a reputation for producing some of the most forward-thinking
restaurant designs. This collaboration with Cooper Carry, one of the nation's most respected hotel
designers, provides a platform for future services that we feel will be unparalleled."

Learn more about Cooper Carry


Our Praises


At This Restaurant, The Bacon's on the Wall

April 2015
Atlanta Magazine

A Fine Art

March 2015
The Atlantan

Atlas Opens at St. Regis Atlanta

January 28, 2015
FSR Magazine

Atlas Opening Jan. 26 with Picasso, Van Gogh and Chagall Art, and More Dining News

January 20, 2015
AJC Blog

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Goes to Washington

January / February 2015
Restaurant Development + Design

With a Farm-Fresh Take on Resort Dining, Highball & Harvest Opens at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

September 8, 2014
Eating Orlando

Peek Inside Legal on the Mystic at Assembly Row

September 3, 2014
Eater Boston

First Look: Polaris

August 14, 2014
Creative Loafing Atlanta

Deep Dish

August 2014
Food Arts

This Old Warehouse

August 2014
Hospitality Design Magazine

Look Inside Revolving Restaurant Polaris,
Now Reopened Atop the Hyatt Regency

June 10, 2013
Eater Atlanta

Restaurant Juniper & Ivy Brings Glamorous
Decor to an Industrial Space

June 4, 2014
Architectural Digest

Iconic Polaris Restaurant Atop Hyatt to Reopen June 10

May 1, 2014
Atlanta InTown

Full Circle

May 2014
Atlanta Magazine

Restaurant R'evolution Expands to Mississippi

April 23, 2014
The Times-Picayune

Reason to Celebrate

March 21-27, 2014
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Review: Juniper & Ivy Lives Up to the Hype

March 21, 2014
UTSanDiego.com

New Launch for Spaceship-Like Lounge

December 30, 2013
USA Today

Architects Talk the New Polaris

November 6, 2013
Eater Atlanta

Architects Promise The Polaris Will Retain Its Retro Cool

November 4, 2013
Curbed Atlanta

Grabbing Life by the Lobster Tail

October 31, 2013
SouthFlorida.com

Hyatt's Polaris to Start Renovations Soon

September 10, 2013
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Online Exclusive: Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman

August 6, 2013
Hospitality Design Magazine

Historic Charmer

August 6, 2013
Jezebel Magazine

Get Lost Inside the Mammoth Carmine's

July 18, 2013
Eater Las Vegas

Hawks Ready to Show Off Luxury 'Micro-Suites'

July 12, 2013
Atlanta Business Chronicle

 

Restaurant R'evolution Revving Up

May 30, 2013
Gambit Best of New Orleans

The Best Restaurants, Bars and Hotels for the NHL Playoffs

May 20, 2013
Sharp Magazine

Hawks Add Seven All-Inclusive Loge Boxes to Philips Arena

May 6, 2013
Sports Business Journal

Johnson: Atlanta Restaurants' Designing Man

May 6, 2013
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Bill Johnson Has Set the Stage for Atlanta's Most Iconic Restaurants

April 1, 2013
Atlanta Magazine

Steaking New Ground

March 26, 2013
The Atlantan

First Bite: KR SteakBar

February 22, 2013
LuxeCrush

A Look Around KR SteakBar

February 19, 2013
Atlanta Magazine

The Early Word on Restaurant R'evolution in the Quarter

July 20, 2012
Eater New Orleans

Meet the Minds Behind Restaurant Design: Bill Johnson

May 1, 2012
Hospitality Design Magazine

Made to Order: Why Architect Bill Johnson is on Every A-List Restaurateur's Speed-Dial

January 15, 2012
LuxeCrush

The Top 10 Best New Restaurants

January 1, 2012
Los Angeles Magazine

Visual Stunners

December 2011
Epicure Magazine

Esquire's Best New Restaurants 2011

November 2011
Esquire Magazine

Haute Legal

September 14, 2011
The Boston Globe

Wine + Design

April 30, 2011
Sommelier Journal

Legal Goes to the Next Levels

April 14, 2011
The Boston Globe

100 Best Restaurants of 2010: Aria

July / August 2010
Jezebel Magazine

100 Best Restaurants of 2010: Bistro Niko

July / August 2010
Jezebel Magazine

100 Best Restaurants of 2010: Chops Lobster Bar

July / August 2010
Jezebel Magazine

100 Best Restaurants of 2010: Nan Thai Fine Dining

July / August 2010
Jezebel Magazine

100 Best Restaurants of 2010: Rathbun's

July / August 2010
Jezebel Magazine

Grazing the Roof

July / August 2010
Food Arts

This Way Up

July / August 2010
Wild Blue Yonder

Summer in the City

May 10, 2010
Hearth & Home Magazine

Kevin Rathbun Steak's Modern Décor Eschews the Status Quo

March 17, 2010
Nation's Restaurant News

 


The Johnson Studio is now part of Cooper Carry. Visit us there!

191 Peachtree Street, Suite 2400Atlanta, Georgia 30303404.525.5400info@johnsonstudio.com

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