His belief that your home should make you happy, inspired Jonathan Adler to establish his namesake in 1993, creating quintessential pieces in celebration of Modern American Glamour.
When and how did your journey as a designer begin?
I was fortunate to grow up with two very creative, artistic parents. My father was a lawyer who spent every spare moment painting, and my mother’s ebullient sense of design inspires me to this day. But it probably began at summer camp when I was 12 and tried pottery for the first time.
What made you choose pottery when there are so many other materials to work with?
I’m not a spiritual person, but from the moment I first touched clay I felt a connection. Pottery is the still the core of my business – I am, most authentically, a potter – but I now work in myriad materials from acrylic to brass to wood to vellum to textiles.
What / who do you draw inspiration from?
Paul Smith is a lovely person and he’s the model for someone who has 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, so he’s like my hero. Vivienne Westwood has kept her whole punk rock attitude the whole time and Rei Kawakubo is amazing. They’re all incredibly mature brands where a single person’s creative vision is crystal clear.
What are / have been your biggest challenges in your career?
Logistics. Any time your business is based on shipping large, heavy, fragile things around the globe, there will be logistical nightmares to deal with.Important lessons along the way?
The best advice I ever got was my from my father, who told me not to listen to advice.
The favorite part of your job?
Spending every day surrounded by hilarious, talented people. We call our office the Fantasy Factory after Warhol’s factory, and it’s true – it’s a fabulously creative and inspiring place.
What is the best thing about being a designer?
Being able to make the pieces I want to surround myself with.
Tell us about your own decorating style and who decorated your home?
I use three words to describe my company and my aesthetic: Modern American Glamour. And I decorated my homes, of course.
Key pieces you cannot live without?
My husband Simon Doonan and our rescue mutt FoxyLady. The rest is just stuff.
How do you solve / negotiate difference in taste between yourself and your partner?
I don’t need to. He’s perfectly happy letting me do what I want.
How important is it to accessorize?
I think you should start with a chic foundation and then accessorize with abandon.
Is there a right and wrong when it comes to decorating? Please explain.
No. If you love it, it will work.
How does one keep things modern without having to break the bank?
Buy what you really want from the start. Don’t waste your money on things that are “almost” as good.
Do you also believe in repurposing dated pieces or should one just shop for new ones?
If you don’t like it, get rid of it. If you like it, keep it. It’s easy.
Describe yourself in three words.
Potter, designer, author.What do you do for fun?
Paddleboard, read, and watch TV (not all at the same time).
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have become?
A failure? I had no other choice.
Tell us about your partnership with luxury online marketplace 1stdibs?
I love 1stdibs, even though they’ve basically ruined my life because all I do all day is obsessively scour the site. Their customers are the smartest, most design-savvy folks around and I’m so thrilled to have my favorite pieces there.
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