6 Things We Learned about Jonathan Adler

AH&L chats with the prolific potter-turned-product designer and design mogul on the eve of the opening of his new Buckhead Atlanta boutique, one of his largest stores to date.

By Elizabeth Ralls

1.    “More, More, More, More!” That’s what Jonathan Adler’s necktie reads during our interview (in repeat)—and it’s also his unofficial motto. Perhaps that’s why, in the past few months alone, we’ve seen his signature modern-glam stamp on everything from countertops (think a lacquered linen pattern with Formica) to upbeat, graphic rugs and fabrics with Kravet. (Look for him to curate the new, to-the-trade virtual design resource CuratedKravet later this year.)

Adler’s new Buckhead Atlanta showroom

2.   Dream commission: Cars. Adler’s lent his signature happy-chic design aesthetic to practically every design frontier, from the glam interiors of Mattel’s Barbie to Starbucks to preppy-chic activity trackers for Garmin, but there’s one industry that’s still in dire need of his signature stamp: Auto. (Side note: I inform Adler that Mercedes-Benz is moving its headquarters to nearby Sandy Springs, so he asks me to “put in a good word with Mr. & Mrs. Mercedes.”)

3.   Which brings me to the next point: A sense of humor is key to any and all success. A creative match made in heaven, Adler is married to fashion guru and bon vivant Simon Doonan, the creative ambassador at Barney’s (“We’ve created this bizarre bourgeois life,” he laughs). And, despite the stylish pair’s professional adulation—which they’ve each rightfully earned—Adler jokes that his best piece of advice to his 20-year-old self is to “marry rich.”

4.   It’s all about optimism. “It’s got to be glamorous,” says Adler, who considers his lifestyle brand a uniquely American phenomenon in that every piece is designed to capture our innate sense of optimism—as well as his signature modern glamour.

5.     “There’s never been a better time to be a designer,” says Adler, who got his start in 1993 with a debut collection at Barney’s. “When I first started, it was just me and a lump of clay. There was not all this technology, and new materials to work with … It’s a very collab-y world. And I’ve taken full advantage … I say yes to everything.”

6.   “I’m still a potter, P.S.” Adler still relishes his time spent in his studio, with said ball of clay, despite the fact that the fruits of his never-ceasing labor (make that empire) dictates that he practically lives on a plane. We eagerly await his next collections and collaborations.

Jonathan Adler moved his Westside showroom to Buckhead Atlanta this month. Visit jonathanadler.com to view the collection online, or pick up our May issue, on newsstands now, for information on the new store. Follow AH&L on Instagram for more behind-the-scenes peeks at what’s new in design.