Name Games

The pioneer of dining-as-sensory-adventure dishes on his past, what’s in the pipeline and all those crazy pet project names.

Jordan Mozer lounges in his iconic Johnnie wing chair in Zaharoff Luxury Menswear’s flagship store on Oak Street.

Pudgy! Skinny jeans! Creature! Hug hearts! GooseGuss! Pitcher plant! Leg warmer! Hoodie! Frankie and Johnnie! No, this isn’t a Pictionary dictation. Call it a compilation of “pet names” for Jordan Mozer’s projects all over the world. The interior designer and product inventor’s furniture-as-sculpture schemes are all inspired by memories past, present and future (“I was punished in high school and sent to take ballet lessons with the girls... The leg warmers they wore have haunted me ever since”) and reflect the mood Mozer was in when his pencil hit paper (“We were experimenting with heart imagery for the Rolling Stones’ set designs in ’97. I wondered what ‘yin-yang’ would look like in three dimensions, and came up with two hugging hearts”).

Often, it seems that mood is mystical, mythological even, and the pieces that are randomly scattered throughout his River North studio—small and large sculptures, chairs, tables, lamps and most recently, jewelry—are almost always remnants from hospitality gigs around the world. Before, Mozer admirers could only count their own candid photos at restaurants like Scoozi, Vivere, Bob San and The Cheesecake Factory as momentos of the designer’s work. However, the Chicago-based triple-threat has now joined forces with Zaharoff (the new Oak Street men’s apparel hub that Mozer also happened to design) on a museum shop selling his smaller-scale works. The second floor outpost boasts necklaces with his “hugging hearts” motif, Frankie and Johnnie wing chairs, Creature side tables and more.

This retail concept is one of many recent “spottings” of the notoriously private Mozer (including a surprise appearance at a recent Pecha Kucha presentation), who has also begun branching out (a local philanthropic project is in the works with Rush Hospital). Guess the guy that has given us so many memorable evenings out is still giving back.

MOZER’S HOTS
Natural small-batch handcrafted localisms, American zeitgeist pop-in-the-gut culture, comfortably solid Chicago authenticity

MOZER’S NOTS
Massively reproduced committee diluted off-shore knock-offs, scholar-sterilized high culture, pristine veneered pretention