Q&A: Jonathan Adler
Famed designer Jonathan Adler has lent his talents to the iconic Flamingo. The artist created new retail items, including an exclusive lamp that will be installed in newly renovated rooms, inspired by the resort’s namesake bird. Adler also created stunning artwork for the new Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse, a custom hand-beaded flamingo piece (pictured above). Las Vegas Magazine’s Kiko Miyasato recently asked Adler about his relationship with the property and his artistic contributions.
How did your relationship with the Flamingo come about?
When the Flamingo calls, you pick up the phone. It’s such an iconic part of Vegas, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to design this collection, and to play with the Flamingo iconography.
How does it feel to have your very own artwork and design pieces inside such an iconic Las Vegas hotel?
It’s all very surreal. When I first started out as a potter, my main vision of my future included me hawking my wares at a rain-soaked craft fair. Everything that has happened beyond that, including this partnership with the Flamingo, has exceeded my wildest expectations. My career has an unbridled creative odyssey, and I wouldn’t change a minute of it.
You’ve put your own twist on the iconic flamingo—where did that design inspiration come from?
A lot of the inspiration came from the flamingo itself. Flamingos are so stylized that they’re a treat for any designer. God hit it out of the park and did a lot of work when he designed the flamingo. I just took that iconography and ran with it.
You spent more than 100 hours on that piece. How do you have the patience to spend that much time on a creation?
Oh, bless you—I’m not beading it myself. I’m lucky enough to work with some amazing artisans; I travel around the world to find the best craftspeople. In India, I found this dude who literally sees the world through beads. He can add dimension and an unexpected soul to any motif through his beading. Each piece he makes is hand-beaded on linen ground and takes nearly 100 hours to create.
Can you share with us a little of your thought process and creative process when designing a piece?
I’ve been sheltering on Shelter Island in New York for six months, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more inspired by nature. I often hop on my paddleboard for a long aquatic adventure and just let the inspiration come to me. I wish I had a better answer, but the truth is that creativity is an unpredictable sprite who visits when it wants to visit.
Have you been a frequent visitor to Las Vegas over your life? When you’re in town where do you like to go? What do you enjoy experiencing?
The thing I love most about Las Vegas is it has a real sense of place. It doesn’t feel like anywhere in the world except itself. When my husband, Simon Doonan, and I visit we always stay at the Flamingo (natch) and just soak in all the high-octane glamour.
Click here for your free subscription to the weekly digital edition of Las Vegas Magazine, your guide to everything to do, hear, see and experience in Southern Nevada. As part of your subscription, each week via email you will receive the latest edition of Las Vegas Magazine, full of informative content such as restaurants to visit, cocktails to sip and attractions to enjoy.