Somewhere between MOMA and tripping along “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” Emory graduate Marc Adler’s thunderstruck bachelor pad is ahead of the curve. Adler chairs Macquarium, a multi-state consulting firm he founded that helps clients transform and grow their online businesses.
He also runs a distribution company in Texas. Adler, who is known as a thinker, dreamer and doer, uses his office building on Peachtree Road for civic causes such as loaning his 75-seat stadium style theater to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival for screenings. Blocks north on Peachtree is Adler’s double condo, double master bedroom and double home – second to his equally fabulous Houston digs.
When asked how he became an art collector, Adler says, “As an only child, I was ‘dragged’ to museums and galleries where, despite my consternation, I picked up knowledge via osmosis. My pedigree extends to my great uncle, who had an art gallery in NYC and served as Picasso’s ‘world agent.’”
Adler is a master of detail, beginning outside the unit with the extended “hand-le” on the front door. Enter Adler’s imaginative, eccentric tour de force.
Jaffe: What kind of feelings did you strive to evoke in your décor?
Adler: I like each room to make a statement and have its own character; but I primarily focus on the practical use of the space. In a condo, views and natural light are a necessary consideration given they are such a significant contribution to the overall environment. I also enjoy living with art, but don’t want to live in a museum – a typically sterile atmosphere. Art should complement the ambiance and bring additional life to a room without dominating it.
Jaffe: How did you go about selecting your art and furnishings?
Adler: I designed everything to capture a bit of my personality. I was actually a member of the American Institute of Architects about 25 years ago, when I was doing renderings for virtual reality environments and feature animation sets, so I have experience with space planning. As a hobby, I travel to art fairs and furniture shows around the world like Art Basel in Hong Kong, Maison & Objet Paris, and Salone del Mobile in Milan, where I find gems that can really make a room magical.
Jaffe: What are your favorite pieces of furniture?
Adler: My B&B Italia chair designed by Gaetano Pesce in 1969 is fun and surprisingly comfortable. It has expressive shapes based on a metaphor of the female figure. I also have some other anthropomorphic seating in the kitchen, the Him & Her chairs from Fabio Novembre. They’re derivative of the classic mid-century modern Panton chair, but evolved with a contemporary twist. It always makes me smile when I see someone sitting in it from behind.
Jaffe: What’s the most unusual thing you have?
Adler: My friends focus on a sculpture entitled “Frauenkiste” by a Swiss video artist, Marck. It looks like a woman trapped in a crate, complete with subtle sounds of scratching and tapping on the glass. The woman in the video is actually the artist’s wife. I use the installation as a cocktail table. Opinions differ along gender lines, but it’s definitely a conversation piece!
Jaffe: Whom do you collect?
Adler: Such a tough question. My taste is very diverse, but there are some artists for which I’ve been fortunate to find multiple pieces that really connected with me. These include Deborah Butterfield, Sam Gilliam, Chun Kwang Young, Jaehyo Lee, Julian Opie, and Patrick Hughes.
Jaffe: If you could wake up tomorrow and find one piece of art here, what would it be?
Adler: A unique work from Haring, Magritte, Basquiat, Koons, and many others would be truly spectacular, but at the moment I have a particular fondness for George Condo. I’m not a fan of all of his work, but some of his figurative paintings are masterpieces. I could stare at them for hours and never tire of how they playfully capture the subject’s spirit.
Jaffe: Does the décor here mirror your home in Houston?
Adler: The bones of each of my residences are different, so I initially let that dictate the style. My condo here has floor-to-ceiling windows but lower ceilings. The high ceilings in my Houston home afford me the ability to do things with light fixtures that I don’t have the opportunity to do here. Lighting creates mood and aesthetics with beam direction, brightness and color temperature. I built a cloud light above my bed entirely of ping-pong balls and adorned a 65-foot hallway with thousands of fiber optic strands illuminating various frosted discs.
Jaffe: Did you collect anything from your travels?
Adler: When I get away for fun, I typically travel internationally and seek out interesting chess sets that are germane to the culture of the country. They don’t need to be particularly valuable to feel special, they just need to be engaging and distinctive.
In Houston, I designed a chess room where the sets are displayed. I have a set from Africa with ebony people versus ivory animals; one from Spain, where each piece is created from pages in a famous book; one from Russia with Matryoshka dolls of U.S. versus USSR leaders from the Cold War era; one from India, where gold pieces include soldiers riding elephants; one from France composed of antique fragrance flasks; and other unique sets from Egypt, Hungary, Peru, Qatar, China, Italy, Amsterdam, and the Czech Republic. One of my favorites is from Mexico – a handmade set from the surrealist artist and furniture designer Pedro Friedeberg with hands in different poses for each piece.
Jaffe: The next time I visit, please let the woman escape the box!