Jonathan Adler is an internationally recognized designer, best known for his fashionable products for the home and as the author of four books on the “Happy Chic” philosophy. His growing empire encompasses over 20 stores, a thriving e-commerce site, and a wholesale business with over 1,000 locations. The signature Adler aesthetic is influenced by Mid-century modern style, art, and pop culture. His products are whimsical, elegant, and fun to own.
UA: Your big break came in 1994 with an order from Barneys New York, then the orders poured in. How has your aesthetic evolved
JA: Today, as then, I want everything I make to add style, craft, and joy to your life. My aesthetic may evolve as I expand into other categories but it always keeps the same spirit of irreverent luxury.
UA: What is the difference between designing a piece of pottery and other products?
JA: Everything I make starts in the pottery studio—it’s where I work out all my ideas. When I design I am problem solving, not just creating a beautiful object. Whatever I make has to work, so there is always a set of welcome restrictions when designing.
UA: What advice would you give a passionate artist who also aspires to be financially successful?
JA: My entire career has been an improbable adventure. When I started, I was the most scatterbrained, impractical, carefree craftsperson ever to walk the face of the earth and somehow I managed to make it. If I did it, you can too.
UA:What designers from the past have you been most inspired by?
JA: My holy trinity is Bonnie Cashin, David Hicks, and Alexander Girard.
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