Thursday, 12 February 2009

In Conversation with Jonathan Adler

In Memoriam of Mr. Greg Young

Jonathan Adler

IVAN MEADE - What was your first experience with design?

JONATHAN ADLER - I was twelve when I first tried pottery at summer camp and have been passionate about it ever since. In everything I do, I am obsessed with fusing serious craftsmanship with happy iconography.

Lantern Bowl by Jonathan Adler

Bull by Jonathan Adler - Menagerie Collection

IVAN MEADE - Who or what has influenced your style?

JONATHAN ADLER - I am madly, deeply, truly, and passionately in love with Hans Coper. His forms and finishes are perfection and he has been a huge influence on me. I am also mad for Bjorn Wiinblad and Stig Lindberg, both mid-century Scandinavian designer/potters whose work is simultaneously gorgeous and cheeky. I try to make pots that are unimpeachably chic and infectiously joyous and Wiinblad and Lindberg both pulled off that combination magnificently.

As for designers, I absolutely adore David Hicks. Obviously his graphics and color sense are worthy of worship, but what I particularly love about his work is the way he mixed styles, pairing traditionalia with modernism with classicism with whatever he felt like and always did it with a sense of boldness and confidence. I don't believe in strict adherence to any particular style -- I believe that you should surround yourself with the stuff you love and you should do so with confidence and I think David Hicks showed how mix and match with panache.

Interiors by Jonathan Adler

Interiors by Jonathan Adler

IVAN MEADE - You are infamous for having fun with design and creating your own style. How would you describe your style?

JONATHAN ADLER - I consider myself a Maximalist designer and, as a Maximalist, I combine styles with a sense of abandon and fun. Maximalism is life-affirming and Minimalism is gloomy. I want to look back at my life and remember the fun of a powder room wallpapered in a lime-green brocade pattern, or the excess of a giant vase filled with hundreds of peacock feathers -- it's the over-the-top things that stay with us.

IVAN - Do you have any specific design philosophy or mantra?

JONATHAN ADLER - Our company motto is "If your heirs won't fight over it, we won't make it". I have an aversion to buying things that are just okay or that will do for now -- everything we make is the result of passion for design and commitment to quality.

Interiors by Jonathan Adler

IVAN MEADE - Name 5 things you can’t do without...


1. My bloke, Simon Doonan

2. Our beloved Norwich terrier, Liberace

3. My pottery wheel

4. My squillions of handcrafted tchotckes

5. My ping pong table

IVAN MEADE - What should every room have in it?

JONATHAN ADLER - The hanging chair. Every house should have a hanging chair. There is a constant battle over who gets to sit and swing.

Interiors by Jonathan Adler

IVAN MEADE - Where do you see design going in the next ten years? Do you feel it’s important to follow trends?

JONATHAN ADLER - The exciting thing about this time in design is that we live in an anything-goes world. I am starting to think that Eclecticism, the buzzword for the last few years, is too weak a word to describe the amped-up style du jour -- I prefer Aggressive Incongruity.

Claridge Teadrop Lamp designed by Jonathan Adler

IVAN MEADE - We really enjoyed seeing you as a judge on the reality television competition “Top Design”, do you plan on any more television appearances?

JONATHAN ADLER: If I follow what Gore Vidal said -- "Never pass up the opportunity to have sex or appear on television…

Interiors by Jonathan Adler

IVAN MEADE - Your line has expanded to include furniture, rugs and lighting....what’s next for Jonathan Adler?

Caprice Dining Table designed by Jonathan Adler

JONATHAN ADLER: I've opened new stores, one on the Upper West Side and one in Santa Monica. I’m always designing and trying to find time to work in my pottery studio.

IVAN MEADE - Lastly, you have created a stunning body of work in a multitude of mediums – what would you like your legacy to be?

JONATHAN ADLER: My lifelong mission is to meld happiness with chicness, and to take over the world with my vision of “happy chic”.

Interiors by Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler Bio.-

Since receiving his first order for pottery from Barneys New York fifteen years ago, Jonathan Adler’s eponymous company has grown to become an internationally recognized lifestyle and home furnishings brand offering tabletop, bedding, bath accessories, furniture, rugs, pillows and lighting.

Jonathan Adler is known for a design aesthetic which pairs modernist forms with bold colors and groovy graphics. The company motto, “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it”, reflects Jonathan’s commitment to impeccable craftsmanship and panache.

Jonathan Adler has seven company-operated stores nationwide as well as a thriving consumer website.

Through its wholesale division, the company sells its groovy home décor in over 1,000 locations worldwide. Additionally, Jonathan Adler is one of the country’s leading interior designers, working on luxury residential projects as well as large-scale commercial projects, including the celebrity hot spot Parker Palm Springs hotel.

Jonathan is the lead judge on the Bravo television series, Top Design.

I invite you to discover Jonathan Adler work at his website:

Ivan Meade is a local designer and principal of Meade Design Group, a multidisciplinary interior and graphic design studio in the heart of downtown Victoria BC

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011


Unknown said...

Maximalist... I don't think I've heard that before. I love that! Great interview! I just found your blog and I love it.

katiedid said...

OK....I'm a groupie. Great conversation!

Dale at Hospitality Design Inspirations said...

Wow that was amazing. Jonathan Adler has always been a favorite of mine. Great interview!

Anonymous said...

"aggressive incongruity"! I'm going to fit that into as many conversations as I can from now on! Love it.

Maria Killam said...

I love his work. It's just so happy! Nice to meet you and hang with you this week Ivan!

qerat said...

Love this interview.
Jonathan is a great designer. I love his sense of humour that he introduces in his work and even in his comminications (his pictures even) He will have a legacy that will long live for generations to come. He has made "over the top" look elegant

Fargerike Dagny said...

Great interview! J.A. is just so likeable! Love the lamp with the oversized lampshade, it's stunning.

Anonymous said...

I love love love Jonathan Adler's work and sense of humour. He makes everything fun and happy - his pieces, his blog, his pictures, his intereiors - everything!

Great interview :)

christian barnard land studio said...

Great Interview again Ivan! where can I find that over sized reading light?

Michelle said...

A great interview Ivan! Potters have such a gift for design...maybe it's working so intimately with 3d objects.

I loved those first "heart" vessels, and think he has handled his career amazingly. A stylish inspiration!

I can see why Greg was smitten.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, I love Jonathan so much! Your blog is great!!

YHBHS said...

nice interview!

Michelle said...

oh I loved reading this so much! I have a few of his things, my favorite is a giraffe lamp, I love it, I named him Murphy.

Lena said...

Those hanging chairs are gorgeous. Anyone know where they can be bought?