Jonathan Adler’s Dreamland

Here in North America, we’re about to spring forward. While Daylight Savings Time goes into effect on Sunday and will mean longer light in the evenings—a welcome first step out of this snowy, dark winter—it also means that an hour of the night will vanish. One less hour of sleep. Those of you accustomed to travelling between time zones will know just how pesky the loss of an hour can be. It’s just enough to be disorienting; just enough to temporarily throw your circadian rhythm off-kilter. Monday morning, most of us will be groggily opting for two espresso shots instead of one.

Since we can’t magically gift our readers with an extra hour of sleep, we’re marking Daylight Savings 2020 with one designer’s whimsical take on Dreamland.

This installation is the result of a partnership between famed designer Jonathan Adler and luxury quartz brand Caesarstone. Here at KHACHILIFE, we’ve long been fans of Adler’s self-termed “modern American glamour” aesthetic. Gold and brassy finishes, dramatic geometric shapes, playful bursts of colour that draw the eye; Adler’s creations are luxuriously, beautifully fun.

In an exclusive interview in 2018, we were offered a window into the designer’s unique sensibilities. He fell in love with pottery as a child; something spiritually stirred in him the moment he touched clay. “There’s something primordial about clay,” he told us. Today this continues to be an important aspect of his craft. In fact, his office is located between an in-house pottery studio and a kiln. He’s also, we learned, a stickler for exact language. And with good reason; so much of design is about communication, and Adler chooses his words with a sharp precision that could cut diamonds. His least favourite word? “Banal, and that’s because the thing I hate most is banality.”

There was nothing banal about Dreamland.

On display at the Toronto Interior Design Show this past January at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Dreamland marked the fourth annual collaboration between Unique Store Fixtures and Caesarstone. Unique Store Fixtures is a millwork services and fabrication company that specializes in stone, metal, wood, and glass. The company’s commercial portfolio includes projects for the likes of Burberry, Holt Renfrew, Rolex, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., and more.

This particular project is part of Caesarstone’s Designer Program, which invites interdisciplinary designers from around the world to get creative with materials. The challenge of this installation, faced by Jonathan Adler, would be to turn the hardness of Caesarstone into something that was quintessentially soft.

For Adler, a self-professed lover of linguistics, that softness seems to have connoted visions of a dream world—after all, where else does hard become soft quite like when the sharpness of reality slips into fuzzy, transmutable dreams?

Jonathan Adler’s unique approach to quartz illuminated the versatility of the material while transporting visitors into an otherworldly space. “I wanted to create heaven in Caesarstone,” he shared via press release. “I wanted to create a dreamscape fantasy land of ethereal cloud-like fluffiness using a hard surface.”

Dreamland was constructed in less than 4 weeks. 75 slabs of Caesarstone (each a staggering weight exceeding a thousand pounds) were constructed by Unique Store Fixtures and installed by a team of 30. The elaborate transformation of the materials in such a tight time frame was a challenge to which Unique Store Fixtures expertly rose. Specialized metalwork and custom lighting made this photogenic installation a popular hub at IDS.

“Although every project we do is Unique,” said Marco Corrente, VP at Unique Store Fixtures, “this one is especially unique because of the creativity behind the project and the collaboration of our teams coming together as a single unit with the tight timelines and different materials to really push and get the show open on time, ready for visitors.”

That timeline was not without hiccups. Unique Store Fixtures knew that key to the project would be the use of light. It had initially planned to use neon lights, but these were found to be too harsh—the exact opposite of softening. Unique Store Fixtures problem-solved with beautiful, coloured LEDs to create the soft glow of the dreamy space.

“Clients like Caesarstone give us the freedom and carte blanche to create as much as we can without interfering with design intent, and we’re able to showcase all of our products and talents,” said Ferro Corrente, COO at Unique Store Fixtures.

The result was a can’t-miss installation that felt something like a playground for grown-ups. It was a fantasy land populated by the stuff of our childhood dreams; ever wish you could float amongst the clouds? Reach out and touch a rainbow? See lightning up close? Perch on Olympus? Jonathan Adler created a world that softened the lines between the second and third dimensions with flat clouds and rainbows, Greek ionic columns, floating celestial bodies, sheets of illuminated rain, and a shiny 2D thunderbolt. It was the content of our childhood colouring books.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the work of Jonathan Adler if it didn’t house some lavish furniture—this was a fantasy land for adults, after all, and design-savvy adults at that. The white sofa backs mirrored the silhouettes of fluffy clouds, a motif carried through to overlapping coffee tables with transparent legs, which created the illusion that these tabletops were suspended in air.

Finished with vases of feathers and colourful glass objets d’art in the shape of open hands—hands that seem, as graphics on nearby pillows suggest, ready to catch the end of the rainbow—Dreamland was truly a cheerful slice of whimsy in the dark month of January.

Looking for more playful, optically daring interiors? Check out this Escher-inspired hotel in the heart of Guilin. Loving this soft marriage of colour and light? Read about this creative Vancouver condo.


Photos via v2com
Photographer: Alex Lukey