Photographs courtesy of Jonathan Adler
Above: Live luxe with color and metallics
With his undulating vases, geometric prints and sharp modern furniture, Jonathan Adler injects fun into home design. Starting with pottery, Adler’s collections have grown in breadth and for every part of the home. We spoke with him about design, his creative process and what’s in store.
WHAT IN DESIGN CURRENTLY EXCITES YOU?
The fact that we live in an “anything goes” world. People mix inspirations, eras, colors, patterns. There are no rules, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
WHAT ALWAYS MAKES A ROOM CHIC?
When it has metallic elements. I’m partial to brass—it sparkles and makes you look even more glamorous than you already are. A chandelier that is bigger than you think you need, and more expensive than you think you can afford, never hurts either.
WHAT SHOULD A HOME OWNER NOT BE AFRAID TO DO WHEN DECORATING?
Choosing décor that tells your guests that they are dealing with someone formidable and eccentric. Whether it’s a two-foot tall brass finger or a giant Lucite nose (we make ‘em both), fill your home with pieces that are sublime, surreal and provocative. Life’s too short to look back and see an endless haze of beige.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
My holy trinity of fashion heroes is Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo. Paul Smith is a lovely person, and he’s the model for someone who’s managed to create a company in which he stays completely true to himself and totally normal. He’s unimpeachably chic and cheeky at the same time. Vivienne Westwood has kept her punk rock attitude the whole time and Rei Kawakubo is…Rei Kawakubo. She’s a visionary. Those three have built big companies but managed to keep them from becoming corporate—the founder’s creative vision is crystal clear. Oh, and my mom. Her ebullient sense of color inspires me to this day.
WHAT SPARKS CREATIVE THINKING?
The creative impulse is so hard to define, so difficult to harness and explain. My muse visits when my muse visits and I have little control over that impulsive little sprite. I often have some quality time with my muse when I’m in Capri, one of the most mind-opening places in the world. Capri is dreamy and surreal and gorgeous. When I was in Capri a couple of summers ago I was eating a gelato and realized that an ice cream cone would make a nifty and surprising vase. The inspiration, the idea is the easy part. Making it look great is the hard part.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE?
My dining room. It is bright and sunny, which is not always easy to find in New York, and has fantastic double-height
ceilings, which is nearly impossible to find in New York. It’s dramatic and glamorous and even makes eating my daily bowl of granola a five-star experience.