Designer Interview: Adelaide Brown of Anthropologie

June 27, 2009 § 2 Comments

Introducing my friend Miss Adelaide Brown! Before I moved out here to illinois, I lived in Greensboro, NC working for a popular-but-not-to-be-named trendy computer company next door to a lovely Anthropologie store. I had the pleasure of meeting Addie a few times, and of course admiring her beautiful displays on my lunch breaks… read about what inspires her below!

Yes, she IS precious!

Yes, she IS precious!

who are you?
My name is Adelaide Brown, I have lived in quite a spectrum of places in my 27 years.
Born in Neptune NJ… Im a yankee at heart. Spent my high school years in West Virginia, and eventually ended up in Greensboro North Carolina to earn my degree in Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After graduation i headed back up north to work in New York City as an assistant interior designer, custom printing consultant, and finally got my foot in the door at Anthropologie. A few months later Anthropologie brought me back to greensboro as the Display Artist in the new store that opened in January of this year.

what inspires you?
I am inspired by the most unpredictable things! It could be a comic strip, a type of music/genre, an interesting typeface, a time period, architecture, color combination, or paper texture…ya never know where it’s gonna come from!
I am also inspired by the people in my life. I know some of the most creative and talented people; each bringing such a unique perspective on life, art, design, and the creative process. Just being around them inspires and challenges me the most.

what are your favorite resources?
i look at a TON of magazines. ID is one of my favorites as well as Dwell and Craft!
I will say it’s a shame that Domino went out of print cause that was one of my favorites!

how do you get started on a project?
I normally start by hunting down some images of anything and everything that coorelates with the concept i am working with. Then i get to sketching…

what do you think is your best work, at anthropologie and in your own home?
Its’ hard to say… I feel as if i am constantly growing and learning through each project! each one hopefully getting better than the last.
I will say my favorite project so far at Anthropologie has been the most recent window display! It was a pretty large scale project and extremely time consuming but i loved every bit of it! Now im looking forward to the next!

Addie's most recent display, featuring hand-dyed fabric swatches.

Addie's most recent display, featuring hand-dyed fabric swatches.

the beehive display

the beehive display

At home, my design style has changed a bit so i am working on integrating some antiques with some more streamline and rustic pieces i have. I would like to think im moving toward a French Country style but friends are calling it “granny”! haha but i dont mind i love antiques and old family photos! I used to be obsessed with more of a moroccan aesthetic with warm rich color and texture, but now somehow i’ve traversed into a more feminine, rustic, and antique using more neutrals and some cool blues and greens. It’s always a work in progress!

Flea market find!

Flea market find!

Great chair!

Great chair!

what’s the best place {in your opinion} to get inexpensive decor from?
I think West Elm is a great source for inexpensive decor, and i love love love thrift stores and flee markets! If you’re up for the hunt and you hit them at the right time you can get some great finds! Design Within Reach is also another pretty well known source for good design and it’s still fairly reasonable.
If you ARE able to splurge a bit, i would highly recommend Jayson Home and Garden. ( Based out of Chicago, it is one of my all time favorite stores for home furnishings!

at anthropologie, you tend to use a lot of unexpected material, and in bulk – what’s the best place to {i.y.o.} to get inexpensive materials from? where do you get those crazy ideas?
We do love to use unexpected materials! I try as best i can to reuse materials that were used for previous displays if i can break them down to their original form.

If reuse is not a possiblity, I have to get creative where i find materials so that’s when dumpster diving comes in handy. (not the most glamorous experience… but super fun!) I also like to take advantage of this major junk yard, DH Griffin, here in town… i found some amazing shutters and windows that were super inexpensive!

We do buy in bulk for certain items. The website came in handy for the bee hive window display i did in the spring! It’s a great site for cardboard tubes, plastic bags, and tissue paper amoung other things.

There is a lot of creative freedom in what we do with our store so it’s always an adventure!

what do you find beautiful?
Trees! Im obsessed! I love the texture and layers of lines they creative in clusters! winter trees are my favorite, the sillouettes that are formed against the sky will stop me in my tracks everytime!

do you read any design blogs? which ones? {you’re not obligated to say mine… haha 🙂 }
I do! i do! Im pretty religious about reading Design Sponge! Love it! And a friend of mine has a great sketch blog called An Open Sketchbook that i follow as well! Such great illustrations… always entertaining! There are so many more i dont think i can name them all…


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§ 2 Responses to Designer Interview: Adelaide Brown of Anthropologie

  • Leslie Carriveau says:

    You sound so much like myself. I am always trying to come up with new fun ideas for my store displays. Your displays inspire me qute alot. I am athe display mgr at the store I work for. I love what I do..& feel like I am playing all the time! Thanks for your inspirations!

  • Hi,
    I actually interned at Anthropologie for their visual merchandising and display.,,at a different location, but it was nice to read the interview and find out that Adelaide’s favorite project (the hand dyed fabric swatch window) was the one I also worked on. I agree with Adelaide, that is was really time consuming, but the results turned out amazing and it was a great experience. So thank you for sharing the interview!
    I also started my blog recently and I plan to share my photos from my visual display internship. My photo’s will show more of a step by step process of how the windows came together, so may be you would be interested in seeing them. My link is: Right now, I am focusing on trends for Spring 2010, so stay tuned.



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