Designer Jonathan Adler is known for his “Happy Chic” style that features bold colors and striking designs. Originally known for his pottery, Adler creates fun, playful, and functional products for the entire home. Born in 1966, Adler grew up in the southern New Jersey community of Bridgeton. Adler’s career was influenced at the early age of 12, when he encountered a potter’s wheel. Within a year, he had convinced his parents to buy him a wheel as well as the kiln oven used to fire ceramics.
In 1993, he started making vases and other wares, in mostly black and white shades, with a signature vertical-stripe design. His first break came when Aero, a home design store in SoHo, began selling his work, which was followed by an order from Barneys New York, the high-end retailer.
Celebrities were soon attracted to his works, including French film star Catherine Deneuve, and fashion designers from Geoffrey Beene to Cynthia Rowley. In 1998, he opened his first store in SoHo and by 2000, he was earning more than $2 million annually. In 2002, Adler introduced a furniture line under his name, and also began taking interior design jobs for private clients, which led to larger-scale hotel-renovation projects. One was in Palm Beach, the wealthy Florida enclave, and another followed in the California desert resort of Palm Springs.
By 2005, Adler presided over a home décor empire, with seven stores and a full line of accessories for the bed, bath, and dining room. He still made the occasional ceramic piece, with his higher-end wares sold under the “Couture” line of limited edition works.
His inspiration, as always, came from somewhat unusual sources, such as the architecture of synagogues. “I have always been driven by and fantasized about moving into those synagogues, ” he told New York Times writer Jennifer Steinhauer.
Adler has partnered with many companies to design products including Lacoste, 7 For All Mankind, Lifeguard Stationery, Steuben, Larson Juhl, Robert Abbey Lighting, and HSN. During Christmas 2010, he collaborated with Starbucks to create a limited edition Ceramic To-Go Cup and Gift Card that benefits (Red) and The Global Fund to improve the lives of those living with HIV.