Of Inspiration and Investments

Brooklyn's current wave of modern furniture designers is not a spanking-new phenomenon, if we stop to remember the man who invented modular seating. Harvey Probber was born in Brooklyn just after World War I, designed a sofa when he was 16, and—at the close of World War II—recognized the need for flexibility in interior design.

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He is the craftsman's modernist: His tools were luxuriant fabrics and rare woods rather than sterile tubular steel. A pair of cane-backed chairs he designed (above) recently showed up at what is perhaps Williamsburg's friendliest outpost for fine interiors, Modest Design.

The chairs embody the East Coast mid-century, with their sumptuous fabric bottoms, rosy-wood cane backs, and nod to the Old Country. As for Modest Design, it's a venue of which Probber the Brooklynite would be proud, with its collection of uber-fine and understated antiques that scream of ingenuity, freshness, and timeless resplendence. Read: It's not full of the same chairs and tables you see everywhere. It's the place of signature pieces and splurges, inspiration and investments that, once purchased, will last a lifetime. In the meantime, everything else you own look will bask all the more beautifully just being in the presence of genius.     

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