Jonathan Adler is an American potter, designer and author. Adler launched his first ceramic collection in 1993 at Barneys New York. Five years later, he expanded into home furnishings, opening his first namesake boutique in Soho, Manhattan. He now has 17 stores and runs an eponymous design business. Take a look below for 21 more fun and fascinating facts about Jonathan Adler.
1. After growing up in Bridgeton, New Jersey, Adler discovered an interest in pottery at summer camp when he was 12 years old.
2. This interest in pottery was further enhanced by his father’s own interest in pottery as a hobby he pursued in Philadelphia, while remaining in Bridgeton to practice law for a career.
3. When Jonathan later attended Brown University, he studied semiotics and art history, but spent most of his time at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design making pots.
4. His RISD pottery, including Chanel inspired teapots and Sevres inspired urns, reflected his interests in pop culture, early hip hop culture, contemporary art, and fashion.
5. His professor told him: “You have no talent, you need to leave and give up on your dreams and go become a lawyer.”
6. After graduating, he spent three years as an assistant in the entertainment industry before returning to pottery, despite his former teacher’s disapproval.
7. In 1990, Adler started teaching classes at Mud, Sweat ‘n’ Tears in New York City in exchange for free studio space. With those pots on hand, he cold-called the buyers from Barneys New York, received an order, and became a full-time production potter.
8. In 1993, he founded Jonathan Adler Enterprises LLC.
9. He started as a production potter, producing on his own for years.
10. He later worked with Aid to Artisans, a non-profit organization that works to help artisans in developing countries by connecting them with designers in America.
11. While in Peru visiting pottery studios, he was inspired by South American textiles and started designing pillows, throws, and rugs inspired by the work he found there.
12. Adler opened his first store in SoHo, Manhattan in 1998 and today his designs are sold in 30 stores and over 1,000 retailers.
13. Adler has handled the interior design work of several commercial and residential projects.
14. In 2004, he designed the Parker Palm Springs Hotel, the former Merv Griffin’s Resort and Givenchy Spa property in Palm Springs, California.
15. In 2016, he redesigned the hotel, extensively redoing the property including installing a seven-foot-tall bronze banana on the main lawn.
16. Other projects include 225 Rector Place, Abington House (on the High Line), multiple Related Property apartment designs and a 2015 overhaul of the rooms, hallways, and outdoor areas at Eau Palm Beach.
17. He speaks at design industry events and design-centric museums, such as IDS, IDS West, KBIS, and the Mint Museum.
18. He has appeared as a guest on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and several other national programs.
19. In September 2008, Adler married his partner, Simon Doonan, in California.
20. Doonan and Adler live in an apartment in Greenwich Village, and a house on Shelter Island.
21. Adler first publicly expressed his support for same-sex marriage in 2009. and works with various organizations to support LGBT rights.