Interior Design: Jonathan Adler

by Editorial

Breaking: The Georgetown store is finally open, and Adler talks inspiration with Washington Life.

By Stephie Hass

Jonathan Adler's Regent chairs. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler Enterprises)

We have been eagerly anticipating the opening of Jonathan Adler’s newest store since the rumors began circulating in May that he was finally coming to Georgetown. The “happy chic” designer seemed a perfect fit for the area, and as of today the wait is finally over. Adler’s storefront at 1267 Wisconsin Ave. NW opened this morning, just in time for the busiest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. Washington Life got the scoop from Adler himself on why he came to Georgetown, his personal favorite pieces and his dream home.

Washington Life: Can you describe your aesthetic? What makes it a good fit for Georgetown?

Jonathan Adler: The words I use to describe my work are style, craft, and joy. Georgetown’s style is WASPy Chic – traditional meets modern, and fresh, fresh, fresh. I think of classic American style with an updated twist, which my collection perfectly captures.

WL: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve designed? Why?

JA: My Dora Maar vase is one of the pieces I am most proud of. It’s good from any angle! I believe good design should look as though it’s supposed to be that way, like it’s always been there and it’s been uncovered rather than created. I think I achieved that with the Dora Maar vase.

Jonathan Adler looks quite "happy chic" himself. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler Enterprises)

WL: Do you have someone particular I mind when you design?

JA: My brilliant husband, Simon Doonan, wrote a book called “Eccentric Glamour,” a sort of call to arms for living a fabulously stylish and idiosyncratic life. When I design I think of an Eccentric Glamourpuss.

WL: Tell me a little about getting your start in the design world.

JA: I started as a potter and I had no idea what I was getting into.

WL: Is there anything you would have differently?

JA: Every day I am shocked by my business. When I decided to become a potter, my idea of success was hawking my wares at some rain-soaked craft fair. Everything that has happened in the 18 years since I started my business has been a shock and a delight. It all happened in an uncalculated way. My only regret is that I didn’t have a more debauched youth. I believe that everyone in their 20s should live a kinda wanton life.

WL: What would you consider your key to success?

JA: I make what I want to make and I try not to listen to what anyone tells me.

WL: What materials interest you the most?

JA: Everything I make starts in the pottery studio; it’s where I work out all my ideas. Right now I am obsessed with brass. I’ve been making lots of brass sculptures – I love the warmth and shine of brass.

WL: Where would your ideal home be and what would it look like?

JA: My bloke Simon and I built our dream home on Shelter Island, so I am probably one of the few who actually does sit down in my dream home at the end of a long week. I feel so lucky – it’s part modernist fantasy, part rustic beach retreat, and there’s nothing better than being there with Simon and Liberace, our Norwich Terrier.

WL: What is your favorite piece in your fall collection?

JA: I’m sorta obsessed with my new Glass Menagerie collection of pottery, particularly the fox. I love it.

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