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Jonathan Adler: Style Innovator

Jonathon Adler has always made bold choices that have won him the admiration of design enthusiasts around the world. From and early age, Adler had a passion for pottery and catpured the attention of Barney’s New York where his line later debuted.  Today, his glamorous furniture collection has become an international sensation and has expanded into hte lifestyle arena with lighting, tabletop collections, bedding and candles with locations in New York, LA, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and other major markets. An accomplished author and judge on Bravo’s popular show “Top Design,” Jonathon Adler is considered the consumate design guru, renowned for his unique “Happy Chic” style that combines Modernist forms with bold colors and a “Groovy” sensibility. He is one of the world’s most sought- after interior designers and the creative force behind the Parker Palm Springs Hotel, high roller suites at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, as well as the designer of the retro-glam “Real” Malibu Dream House interior which he created for Barbie’s 50th anniversary in 2009.

Adler Chair

Previews Inside Out Can you provide some tips for those embarking on the journey to bring “joy,” “irreverent luxury,” and “grooviness” to their living spaces? 

Jonathan Adler I believe chic should be accessible, and that the key to achieving accessibility is injecting your personality.  My antidote to tired tastefulness is to lay the foundation of good decorating and then punctuate with a dash of levity.  Just a dash!  Too much tastefulness is pompous and dull, but too much spirited fun is tacky.  For guidance, I offer the following failsafe formula, derived from  years of sociological inquiry and data crunching: 95% chic + 5% levity = 100% Happy Chic!

Previews Inside Out What new design spaces do you consider pure genius?

Jonathan Adler I love what Kelly Wearstler is doing.  She is designing monumental, strong spaces that are overtly feminine.  It’s unusual.


Previews Inside Out What do you consider the unforgivable design sin (if any)?

Jonathan Adler The relentless pursuit of tastefulness is a rather empty endeavor.  There’s a anonymity to it that I find distressing.  Where’s the fun?  Where’s the heart?  Where’s the joie de vivre?

Previews Inside Out Should there be any rules to design – or should we banish even the concept of rules altogether?

Jonathan Adler I think we should banish rules altogether.  If you love it, it will work.

Previews Inside Out If you could design a living space for Margaret Thatcher, Madonna or Liberace – Which would you choose and what would your vision for it be?

Jonathan Adler Liberace, of course!  Simon and I even named our terrier after him.  It would be maximalism, giddy, frothy and sparkly!

Previews Inside Out You are very committed to Aid to Artisans.  How do you see the increasing internationalism changing and evolving the face of design as we know it?  How can you create a modern rustic atmosphere in any home – even one with more traditional or period architecture?

Jonathan Adler Modern rustic can be achieved by mixing your furniture, textiles and soft goods like pillows, regardless of the architecture that is around it.  Think modern pieces that are made with natural materials.


We believe that your home should make you happy.

We believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right. Unless the husband is gay.

We believe in carbohydrates and to hell with the puffy consequences.

We believe minimalism is a bummer.

We believe handcrafted tchotchkes are life-enhancing.

We believe tassels are the earrings of the home.

We believe in our muses: David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Bonnie Cashin, Hans Cooper, Gio Ponti, Andy Warhol, Leroy Neiman, Yves Saint Laurent, and Madonna.

We believe in being underdressed or overdressed always.

We believe in infantile, happy emblems like butterflies and hearts.

We believe celebrities should pay full price.

We believe in rustic modernism: Big Sur, A-Frame beach houses, raw beams, and geodesic dome homes.

We believe in Palm Beach style: Louis Chairs, Chinoiserie, Lily Pulitzer, The Breakers circa ’72.

We believe our designs are award winning even though they’ve never actually won any.

We believe in Aid to Artisans.

We believe dogs should be allowed in stores and restaurants.

We believe in mantiques – suits of armour, worn Chesterfield sofas, heraldic tapestries.

We believe you should throw out your Blackberry and go pick some actual blackberries.

We believe colors can’t clash.

We believe in blowing your nest egg on our pots.

We believe our lamps will make you look younger and thinner.

We believe in irreverent luxury. 

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Jonathan Adler: Style Innovator

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