An interview with Jonathan Adler



The designer of covetable furniture and quirky homewares quit his day job in 1993 to pursue his love of pottery 

Jonathan and Foxylady with the designer’s Crawford reversible Peruvian flatweave rug

How has your style evolved over the years?

I first started my business as a hippy dippy potter covered in clay, and pottery is still at the centre of my life and my design.

I still have a craft-based design practice, and everything starts in my pottery studio. It’s the epicentre of my business.

The evolution of potter to fully fledged furniture designer was serendipitous. It was all about stumbling along as I went, and I think that’s the best way to roll. Creativity led the business.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

The mid-century American designer Alexander Girard is my design hero.

He was prolific, original, chic and playful – everything I aspire to be. He really should be a household name.

Luxury is…

Having other people do the stuff you don’t want to do.

What is your favourite building?

It’s our house on Shelter Island [at the far end of Long Island, New York].

My husband, Simon Doonan, and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to build a home on the water there. I love it.

Describe your dream home

The house on Shelter Island really is my dream home, but any place that contains Simon and our perfect angel mutt, Foxylady, would do.

What is the house like inside?

The interior design style, I’d say, is Modern American Glamour.

I believe everyone deserves a soupçon of glamour in every bit of his or her home.

What makes a home?

I’m biased, of course, but to me it’s husband, dog, remote control, roast chicken and apple pie.

How do you relax?

I need my hubby to make me at least four cups of mint tea and I need to never make his tea for him. Doesn’t happen, but that’s the dream.

What’s your favourite chair at the moment?

My velvet-covered Rider dining chair. It’s a play on an Empire Style dining chair. It’s petite and glamorous, but at the same time ultra-comfy.

What is Scotland’s greatest attribute?

Untouched, pristine natural beauty. And I say that as an untouched pristine natural beauty myself.

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