Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's Jonathan Adler's World Now

Here is a  story that sells furniture and accessories in an upscale mall near my home.  It is named for the company's founder, who looms large in the design world of the moment.

Jonathan Adler was raised on a New Jersey farm.  His great enthusiasm, from an early age and through college, was making pottery.  Upon graduation he held several jobs from which, he cheerfully admits, he was fired.  Then, the story goes, he sold a line of his pottery pieces to Manhattan's very trendy Barney's store.

He has not looked back since.  The first Jonathan Adler store opened in Soho in 1998, and there are now at least 25 others, all of which appear to be doing quite well.

His company's mission, described on its website is this:

We're a design company.  Our philosophy: 
Build a timelessly chic foundation, 
then accessorize with abandon. 

Not everyone knows what to make of the guy.  

A New York times writer profiled Adler and his work in 2012, calling him the "jaded naif of the housewares department" and describing "his careful balancing of cynicism and sincerity -- cyniserity, for short . . . . " 

Adler's interior designs (which are much studied) illustrate his creative approach.  It includes repeating geometric patterns in rugs and pillows and upholstery, groupings of bright colors that in an earlier time would seem to clash, clusters of furniture from very different eras and many unexpected accent pieces in any given room.

Elements of these looks have been popping up in other decorators' work.  Not many designers (or clients) buy the whole exuberant Adler package, but there are somewhat more muted iterations -- bright colors, fabrics with round- and square-shaped patterns, groupings of different furniture styles and one or two (but perhaps not 10 or 20) unexpected accent pieces in any given room.

Several years ago, Adler released his "10 Commandments for a Happy Chic Home."
A few are below.

        Thou shalt embrace maximalism.

        Thou shalt mix fancy with frisky.

        Thou shalt honor the funsters of yore.

        Thou shalt not be afraid of orange.

Now you can find Adler creations everywhere.  Here are several I found in a few short moments on the internet.

A vase at Bloomingdales

A comforter set at JC Penney

A bottle stopper at Nordstrom

An umbrella at Barnes & Noble

A sandal from the Jonathan Adler for Toms collection

Men's stockings

There are many, many more. 

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