AT Interview: Jonathan Adler

AT Interview: Jonathan Adler

Rebecca Orlov
Mar 27, 2009

Yesterday we posted part 1 of our interview with Jonathan Adler and we hoped you enjoyed learning more about how his career in design has evolved, his "muses" and what makes Jonathan's own house a home. After the jump, check out the 2nd part of our interview to find out about the first pot Jonathan threw, his divine makeover of the Barbie Dream House just a few weeks ago and Jonathan's own trendcast for design in 2009.

YOU BEGAN YOUR CAREER AS A POTTER. TELL US ABOUT YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR FIRST POT YOU EVER CREATED?

JONATHAN ADLER: I created lots of pots before the first pot I ever created. Let me 'splain. When I was a pottery student at RISD, my pots reflected the teachers' sensibilities rather than my own. I was working in an academic pottery idiom ( I know that sounds ridiculous to those of you who ain't in the pottery world, but it exists) rather than expressing myself.

When I got a studio in New York when I was 26 I decided to forget about my teachers and make the stuff that I wanted. So, when I think of my first pot I think of this very groovy teapot I made that was modern and minimal but painted with a very Pop harlequin motif that was so not what RISD pottery was about. It was great. I wish I still had that pot.

OH, TELL US ABOUT DESIGNING THE BARBIE HOUSE? WE SAW SOME PICS AND IT LOOKED DIVINE!

JONATHAN ADLER: Designing for Barbie was such a treat! It was a kind of meta project, creating a life-sized dollhouse that had to be chic but dollish. My approach was to make it very self-referential, making furniture from Barbie dolls (like a giant sunburst mirror made out of 100s of Barbies) or a giant traditional chandelier but made out of Barbie hair or adding playful dressmaker details to furniture like putting a tutu on the back of a chair.

The most important thing was that it had to be fun and pink and memorable.

Real life clients can be such a drag, all about storage and practicality, so Barbie was a breath of fresh air. She was all about cupcakes and hair and silliness and it was a blast. And, luckily, there was no husband around to rein in the glamour or tone down the pink.

WHERE DO YOU SEE DESIGN TRENDS HEADING IN 2009?

JONATHAN ADLER: The exciting thing about this time in design is that we live in an anything-goes world. I am starting to think that Eclecticism, the buzzword for the last few years, is too weak a word to describe the amped-up style du jour---I prefer Aggressive Incongruity. Our eyes have been trained to understand a mix of styles so, to make an impression and feel new, visual juxtapositions need to be jarring. I consider myself a Maximalist designer and, as a Maximalist, I combine styles with abandon and a sense of fun. Maximalism is life-affirming and Minimalism is gloomy. We're only here for a short time and I want to look back at my life and remember the zest of an orange lacquer cocktail table, the fun of a powder room wallpapered in a lime-green brocade pattern, or the excess of a giant vase filled with hundreds of peacock feathers--it's the over-the-top things that stay with us and mean something.

Thanks, Jonathan! We appreciate you chatting with Apartment Therapy!

Click here to read part 1 of our interview with Jonathan.

And click here to check out Jonathan Adler's site, featuring his fabulous home design products, colorful musings and a peek into his work as an interior designer.

[Photo of Jonathan by Dan Wilby]

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