Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Places & Faces

In His Words: Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler is arguably one of the world’s most exciting and celebrated designers. He is a man I have admired for a number of years, first on my radar with his debut collection for Barneys in the US in the 1990s. Now with over 1,000 stores around the globe, to say I’m excited that the full collection has finally hit Australian shores with Coco Republic is an understatement. The potter, author and designer is celebrated for his signature irreverent luxury and spirited style. There really isn’t another designer like him on the globe. From across the hemispheres, I caught up with Jonathan himself to ask him about the brand’s distinct ethos and his design influences.

Q – We know your passion for pottery began in your early teens, what was it that inspired your fascination with ceramics?
I was at summer camp when I tried pottery for the first time.  I’m not a spiritual person, but I immediately felt a connection.

Q – Have you still kept your first creations? 
No, I’m not a collector. Whatever I made most recently is my favorite.

Q – When starting the Jonathan Adler brand, did you look to anyone as a mentor or muse?
My design heroes are Alexander Girard, Bonnie Cashin, and David Hicks. But  really, I was rebelling against my pottery professor in college who told me I had no talent and should be a lawyer.

Q – How did the brand grow from a ceramic collection into a global success  story? What has made you so successful? Well, thank you. I don’t really have a plan and just make what I want to  make. My entire career has been an improbable adventure.

Q – Can you tell us about a ‘wow’ moment in your career to date – an important moment that stands out?
I was in our first store shortly after it opened in 1998 and overheard a woman gabbing on her phone.  I heard her tell her pal she was “at Jonathan  Adler.” I was officially a place, and it was magical.

Q – How would you describe the Jonathan Adler aesthetic in just a few words?
Style, craft, and joy.

Q – What are some of your favourite pieces that Australians will see in store at Coco Republic?
I love the Scalinatella tables – they’re named after my favorite hotel in Capri  and they’re simple, surreal, and sculptural.  The Lampert sofa is also one of  my favorites.  Swanky and cozy, it exudes Hollywood glamour.

Q – Australia as a country has quite a relaxed lifestyle and we are fortunate enough to have large homes. Do you design with a particular lifestyle in  mind now that the brand is global?
I design what I like and hope that people love it all as much as I do.

Q – Your sofas are made in fabric as opposed to leather. What do you look for in upholstery?
We offer leather, too. But I think fabric has to be as comfortable as it is luxe, as durable as it glamorous.

Q – Deep buttoning also features heavily in the collection which is a   timeless style, do you ever look to trends for a collection knowing they might be seasonal?
I don’t pay attention to trends. I think everything we make is forever.  It’s  very eco-friendly design – I make stuff I think no one will ever want to get rid  of.

Q – Beautiful brushed brass recurs throughout the new collection at Coco Republic. Where did you draw design inspiration from?
I’ve always loved brass. It’s warm, it’s twinkly, it’s jewelry for your home.

Q – Do you have a favourite colour scheme?
Orange and blue always makes my chakras tingle.

Q – What is next for the brand – any exciting collaborations or new lines?
I’m working on a hotel in Florida – hundreds of rooms, one more fab than the next. Other than that?  More, more, more.  More stores, more products.  The more I make the more I want to make.

View more of the exclusive collection for Coco Republic below…

Anthony Spon-Smith

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