Often when you get up close and personal with something you’ve admired from afar, it falls short of your expectations. The Sydney Opera House is a lot smaller than I thought it would be – so is the White House. They say you should never meet your heroes for the same reason.
I beg to differ.
I was recently lucky enough, as part of the Modenus initiative BlogTourNYC, to meet Jonathan Adler, but even more excitingly (sorry Jonathan!), I got to see behind the scenes at Jonathan Adler HQ. I watched Mr Adler throw a pot, I saw his team shaping pots into recognisable forms, I walked around the studio and I chatted to the very happy people who work there.
I am delighted to report, that far for falling short of expectations, it was even more ‘Jonathan Adler’ than I had dared to hope. A few of my colleagues likened the experience to visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – and to a certain extent they were right. In your wildest dreams, you just wouldn’t imagine that it would be so, well, so ‘Jonathan Adler’.
Firstly, it was bright and colourful – as you might expect. It was just the right side of chaotic; brimming with creativity. There were pictures, and books and magazines everywhere. And more dogs than you could count – most of them little enough to snuggle up on the seats with their owners. People walked around with no shoes on. A little row of clay models, one of each dog in the office, sat on the windowsill of the pottery studio. Shelves were piled high with products and prototypes. Corners were filled with little room vignettes showcasing products. Top-secret floor-to-ceiling mood boards inspired new product development. It was exciting, it was inspirational, it was uplifting.
Not only did it not fall short of expectations, it added to my understanding and appreciation of Jonathan Adler products. They mean so much more to me now I know a bit more about the happy, crazy place they come from; and a bit more about a man who discovered a love of pottery aged 12 and has been hooked ever since.