Of Inspiration and Investments

Of Inspiration and Investments

By Jamie Waugh
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.

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.     


Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.