By Tanner Saunders
November 16, 2019
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Cindy Ord / Stringer

Spotting a piece from one of Jonathan Adler’s home collections is like picking out the Empire State Building from the New York City skyline: simple. Creating fun and playful but chic and timeless designs, Adler has left his mark in homes and hotels around the world, and he’s just getting started; last year the New York-based designer led the charge to give the Parker Palm Springs Hotel a total facelift.

Inspired by his travels, Adler has created pieces that transport people near and far, but his latest creation is taking us to the Italian seaside just as the clocks change and the cold is knocking on our doors. In collaboration with Peroni, the popular Italian beer, Adler designed a limited-edition bar cart to bring “modern glamour and cool sophistication” into the home.

Travel + Leisure sat down with Jonathan at his ultra-glamorous NYC apartment to hear how the designer’s journeys influence his work, what’s on his travel radar, and why Peroni is his beverage of choice.

Travel + Leisure: Let’s start simple. Where do you like to travel?

Jonathan Adler: "I like to go to places that are singular, such as Big Sur. It’s the only place you can get that extraordinary view, or Palm Beach, which is like the epicenter of American glamour. Or my literal, all time favorite place on our planet, Capri, which is like Italian seaside luxury. It's like the lemon sorbet for the soul, and I love it; singular and aesthetically inspiring."

Anywhere else?

"The other one I'd throw in is Amangiri in Utah. I'm like, Dubai Schmubai, get your ass there."

Is there anywhere new you’re dying to visit?

"I'm dying to go on safari. That's where I'm dying to go, or New Zealand. There are a lot of places I'm dying to go. But really I just want to be in Italy. I go on safari in Italy and watch the Italians in their natural habitat."

What’s the one thing you can’t travel without?

"I hate traveling without my husband. I like to bring that little guy and luckily he's very, very… he's not the tallest person there, so I just sort of throw him in the upper compartment, it's very easy, or he fits under the seat."

Do you have any recommendations for LGBT+ travel?

"I would say, first of all, Palm Springs — where I designed the Parker Hotel — is like LGBT-friendly central, and it's great and you'd be mad not to go there. The place I actually have not been, but I am dying to go, is Tel Aviv, which is supposed to be like an LGBT haven. And obviously New York."

Speaking of New York, this was a really big year for the city’s gay community hosting World Pride. Did you get involved?

"I attended the parade and, you know, it was sort of a momentous year for me because it's the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, but way more importantly, and for some reason less celebrated, the 30th anniversary of me being in New York City. So for me it was sort of very meaningful because it sort of commemorated how far we've come as a community, how much progress we've made in the fight against AIDS, and reminded me how lucky I am to live in America where gays are free and we have our rights."

Where’s the one place everyone should visit in New York?

"You know what, it's tough. But I would have to say the Odeon is forever. Aside from the fact that it's classic and chic and glamorous, something about the lighting makes you look 20 years younger and 30 pounds thinner."

Courtesy of Jonathan Adler

Why did you partner with Peroni and what inspired the bar cart?

"I don't drink except for beer and Peroni in the summer. I love an ice cold Peroni and it kind of transports me to summer in Italy. So when Peroni started talking about this, I knew exactly what I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be fresh and stripy and capture the spirit of Italy, and I think we nailed it."

To buy: jonathanadler.com, $1,450

Like Italy inspired the bar cart, how does travel generally inspire you?

"Travel is actually probably the most inspirational thing to me, both in that when I go, I see things that trigger my imagination. I also design with locations in mind. Like I sort of imagined myself living in Capri or living in Big Sur and just think what I want my house to look like and then I counter it."

Note: This interview was edited for clarity.

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