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House tour: a vibrant Sydney apartment by Jonathan Adler

The Property Addict / Distinct Dwellings

Feb 05 2016

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New York interior designer Jonathan Adler injects a Sydney apartment with his signature sense of joie de vivre. Photography by Sharyn Cairns; words by Leah Twomey; produced by Geraldine Munoz. Having designer Jonathan Adler decorate your home must be fun. He refers to his clients as "dudes", describes his elegant, modern, bold conceptions as "cas" (read casual), and is as witty as, one imagines, New York interior designers come. "It's a treat to see my work come together to create an eclectic vibe, and yet know that it's all by me, me, me!" he says with a wink. Pictured are vintage Scandinavian glass vessels from End of History, New York, which echo the blues of Slim Aarons' 1961 photograph Boating in Antigua. HouseTour An Adler "Ë?Blakely' leather sofa in Lyon Camel with Adler "Ë?Brasilia' cushions is flanked by a gleaming polished brass "Ë?Hans Barbell' side table on one side and playful "Ë?White Horse Head' lamp on the other. Adler's "Ë?Brass Banana' objet d'art appears to recline on the vintage lucite and glass cocktail table, from a New York antiques fair. HouseTour2 In addition to his ceramics (he began his working life 20 years ago as a potter), that include collections such as canisters to hold everything "Ë?from sweets to sedatives' and surreal anatomical vessels in homage of his favourite artists' muses, Adler has designed furniture, fabrics, fashion accessories, menswear and linens. For this Darlinghurst apartment of British baron, entrepreneur and politician Lord Waheed Alli, Adler was recruited to sweep through and give the place a thoroughly modern makeover (the original design was classy, brown, beige and, dare we say, boring). "Waheed bought this modern apartment that had nice bones, but was quite simple," says Adler. "He loves what I make. He said, "Ë?Just go to town. Fill it with your stuff.'" An Adler "Ë?Reform Temple' lightweight aerated-concrete screen divides the balcony dining and lounging zones that take advantage of skyline views. A selection of Adler bowls sit on top of a table in an outdoor setting from Richard Schultz's 1966 Collection for Knoll. HouseTour3 The sense of place, here, seems to ft the coastal Australian lifestyle "â? a spectrum of blues, touches of golden and sandy hues "â? comfortable and comforting, yet luxurious, living. The dominant 1960s Slim Aarons photograph, looming large on the wall behind the dining table, denotes a retro sun-scorched day on the beach, something we know well in this part of the world. In the master bedroom, a textured and more subdued green, blue and caramel palette is matched with a painting by British artist John Goodison, above a vintage console from a New York antiques fair with Adler's black "Ë?Ceramic Rhinoceros'. The "Ë?Antwerp' foor lamp by Adler gives light for reading in the designer's "Ë?Ingmar' chair. The curtains are in Adler for Kravet "Ë?Acid Palm Surf' and the rug is "Ë?Blue Josef'. HouseTour4 The transformation, which took Adler just a few months, incorporated not only the injection of colour, in punches and splashes and pattern, but also the layering of materials "â? wallpapers and grass-cloth wall coverings, graphic chevron drapery, bold kilim rugs and the shiny pizzazz of metal in lamps, objet d'art and chandeliers. The master bed is Adler's "Ë?Templeton' design in jewel-coloured Venice Peacock cotton velvet, next to a "Ë?Santorini Alexandra' table lamp. HouseTour5 Part of Adler's success is his manifesto of happiness and indulgence. He's altogether contagiously optimistic. He frmly believes home should be a joyous place (so cemented in his Happy Chic book series) and has penned a few life rules that, while tongue-in-cheek, are authentic: "Ë?we believe in irreverent luxury; colours can't clash; and minimalism is a bummer'. A guest room or "Ë?sleeping nook' is lined with Adler's "Ë?Syrie' wallpaper, on which is hung one of his decorative African-style feather headdresses in blue above his "Ë?Templeton' twin bedhead. Cushions, including the "Ë?Disco Lady' pillow, "Ë?Zig Zag' alpaca throw and "Ë?Nixon' table lamp are all by Adler. HouseTour6 In another guest room, the walls are lined with "Ë?Grasscloth' wallpaper and the curtains are "Ë?Of Grid Marine' by Jonathan Adler for Kravet. To the left is a vintage 1970s abstract artwork. The Adler "Ë?Woodhouse' bed is dressed in the designer's "Ë?Alexander' coverlet and pillows plus "Ë?Zig Zag' pillows and a "Ë?Gio' duvet cover. An Adler "Ë?Pagoda' lamp on a vintage end table provides bedside lighting. HouseTour7 When asked where his credo stems from, Adler assures it is in no way a response to an unhappy past. If anything, he credits himself as a direct product of an artistically minded upbringing. "My dad was a lawyer, but he was also a brilliant painter and artist and he spent all of his time in his art studio. He was a rigorous modernist, and my mother had a tremendous sense of colour and craft. So, as much as I wish I could claim to be self-created, I am really just a direct product of my parents." HouseTour8 The most affecting thing about Adler is that, when he refers to his style and when he creates an interior that is "fun and happy", it is underlined with warmth. It is modern, but it is never, ever cold. "I do think that it should feel warm and layered and modern without being anaemic. I think, so often, modern design can feel sterile." Designing this Sydney base for Lord Alli, Adler seized the opportunity of his autonomy to carefully balance his aesthetic with a fair for sensing what would make his client feel at home. "I love to work with people I know because it's fun to channel their spirit into the stuff that we do. I think that, when you walk in your front door, you should feel happy and this place is a refection of that." HouseTour9 vogueliving



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