Interior designer and retailer Jonathan Adler is known for creating objects and home décor that are bright, whimsical, and even a bit risqué. But when he travels (which he does, a lot), he prefers hotels that value simplicity and function—much like he does in his pottery.
“I spent my ‘pretty’ years—my twenties—making mugs, and a mug needs to feel like you just want to pick it up and use it,” Adler says. “It’s always about function first—and that’s so important in a hotel experience. A room has to feel super functional.”
With this in mind, AC Hotels recently teamed with Adler and fashion designer and television personality Tan France to create custom products that solve common challenges faced by travelers, as well as add beauty to the hotel experience.
Design is often driven by problem solving, and Adler’s biggest travel irritant is a lack of adequate charging outlets. “This sounds like a really banal contemporary problem, but in [some] hotels there’s nowhere to charge my device,” he says. “If there’s not a plug handy, it drives me insane.” AC Hotels, by contrast, “gets it right all the way down to the outlets,” he says. But we’re moving ever closer to a wire-free world, so he and France collaborated with AC Hotels on a wireless charging device—even better, one that doesn’t look like a flattened rubber hockey puck.
Adler said the team wanted the charger to reflect the “natural, harmonious, and honest materials” and soothing color palette that AC Hotels favors in its interiors.
“The minute I open the door at an AC Hotel, I’m just like, ahhh,” Adler says. “The color scheme is very calming. As a business traveler, I need that. I’m typically a very colorful guy, but when I travel, I need it to be more chill.”
The shape of the wireless charger mimics wave-softened pebbles; Adler says the final result is “an ornament for your coffee table that you can also plop your phone on and know it’s charging.” And that’s no small thing for creative businesspeople whose mobile devices are, essentially, their home offices. “When my device is at 80%, my mind is at 80%. I need my mind at 100%, so I need my device at 100%.”
SWEATING THE DETAILS
Another sanity saver for Adler? The hotel bar. Adler prefers an open work space that also functions as a comfortable meeting place—and the AC Lounge ticks both boxes. Getting from appointment to appointment as a business traveler can be “maddening,” he says, which is why hotels must eliminate as much friction as possible. During the day, he feels the spirit of collaboration from others around him. Then, “as the day wears on and I’m a little worn out from work, I like how [the AC Lounge] transitions from more of a coworking space to a bar,” Adler says. “I can chill, have a drink, and chat with other guests.”
Adler and France wanted to add a special touch to the AC Lounge: a coaster to keep ice-cold, sweating glasses from sliding around on the bar. “My pet peeve about coasters are [the ones] that your drink picks up,” Adler says. “So, we’re working on a coaster that won’t stick to your drink.”
Through color and design, the set of four coasters will capture the spirit of different cities that are home to AC Hotels. While a coaster may be a tiny detail, Adler believes features such as these are what make travel and hotel experiences special. In fact, he says, the coaster sets they created function not only as barware, but also as collectibles; mementos of a happy trip for travelers who want to remember their stay.
For Adler, the coasters represent just one small thoughtful detail in a hotel that’s already made sure to put guests first in every decision from color scheme and furniture choice to room layout.
“At AC Hotels, the chairs are where you want a chair to be, the lamps and switches are where you want the lamps and switches to be; everything is just where it’s supposed to be,” Adler says. “And that’s what I need when I’m on the road and in an unfamiliar place. Creativity and inspiration come from being in a place where my mind can wander, a place where I can be free of distraction.”
Created for and commissioned by AC Hotels by Marriott.