Throwing Shapes… An Exclusive Interview With Uber Potter Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler has – to the joy of many a shopper – opened a brand new shop in Notting Hill. We chat to him to find out where the oodles of inspiration comes from.
Congratulations on the opening of your new store in Notting Hill. You’ve obviously achieved great success with the South Kensington store – why did this pocket of town to seem the logical place to extend into? 

When I’m in London Notting Hill is where I like to be, so opening a store here gives me an excuse to visit even more.  Portobello Market, Paul Smith – what’s not to like?

Tell us what we can expect from the new store… 

Notting Hill is the place to go if you need a gift.  The store’s Gift Bar has a selection of my favourite presents for friends and frenemies alike.  The brass bird bowls are my favourite.  They’re chic and shiny and you’d be mad not to have a brood of all three sizes on your console.

Your story has been inspiring, from your first collection at Barney’s in 1993 to your rapid expansion into home furnishings and now 26 stores around the world… what has been your proudest moment en route to where you are today?

I was in our first store shortly after it opened in 1998 andoverheard a woman gabbing on her phone.  I heard her tell her pal she was ‘at Jonathan Adler.’ I was officially a place, and it was magical.

Could you possibly have predicted how successful your brand would become? 

Never.  My entire career has been an improbable adventure.

There is a playfulness attached to what you do, and it definitely raises a smile… Why do you think that it so strikes a chord?

I’m deadly determined when it comes to design, but I also appreciate irreverence. It’s a misconception that serious design has to be… serious.

How would you describe your style in three words? 

Style, craft, joy.

Over the course of your career, you have authored several books… do you have plans to write any more? 

I never say never. Except when it comes to mauve.

You have worked on some pretty exciting collaborations over your career, including with both Starbucks and Barbie – can you tell us a little about those experiences? 

I’ll never say no to an intriguing collaboration (except for when a casket company approached me – too macabre as I enter my old age).  I love bringing my ideas to new products.

Is there anyone you are still itching to collaborate with? 

I’d love to design a car, inside and out.

With so much to juggle, do you still get your hands dirty on the potter’s wheel?

The pottery wheel is where I work out all my ideas.  I’m in the pottery studio every day throwing prototypes, making moulds, and experimenting.

What was it about pottery in the first place that had you hooked? 

The first time I touched clay when I was thirteen I was hooked; everyone should try it.  But don’t fall in love with the first thing you make: there’s a strong possibility it’ll explode in the kiln when you fire it. It’s a lesson that every potter has to learn the hard way.

Finally, what’s next for you?

This summer I’ll be spending as much time as I can out on Shelter Island with my adorable hubby.  It’s where we built our dream house, and it’s where we go to escape (and watch bad TV).

My plans career-wise can be described using three words: more, more, more.  More stores, more products.  The more I make, the more I want to make.

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