The Birth of The Modular
A novel idea won Harvey Probber his seat in the modernist pantheon.
On the cover: Louis XV Goes to Sparta chair.
Sink Into An Iconic Sofa
IF THE FLAT-ROOFED house revolutionized architecture, the sectional sofa did the same for seating. And, according to most accounts, we have cult designer Harvey Probber—a New Yorker who died in 2003—to thank for importing this outré couch concept from Europe. Mr. Probber designed his first sectional in the 1940s and achieved what could well be its apotheosis with his improbably sumptuous 1970 Deep Tuft model. Its rows of distinct marshmallows seem to defy the laws of upholstery, if not quite physics, and would have been impossible without Mr. Probber's proprietary non-sag Proberon foam.
Typical for its era, the Deep Tuft manages to be both minimalist and maximalist, which invests it with unique power. Its decadence can instantly glamorize modern interiors that are a little too sterile and safe. At the same time, it's simple enough to inject freshness into a traditional room without skewing too cold.
Until this spring, only those lucky enough to run across a rare used model at 1stdibs.com or New York's Todd Merrill Antiques could own this masterwork (which wasn't produced in large numbers). Starting in May, M2L, a New York-based manufacturer known for reintroducing forgotten lines, will be taking orders for new models, along with other Probber designs. A basic five-piece configuration in fabric starts at $15,000 (or $19,900 in leather). m2l.com
A version of this article appeared April 6, 2013, on page D2 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Sink Into An Iconic Sofa.
Trick the Eye
The "Louis XV Goes to Sparta" chair showcases a silk cover in various faux-marble prints. Carrara shown here. Design by M. Galante and T. Lancman.
No one illustrates the emerging marriage of Scandinavian and Italian traditions as well as this 37-year-old breakout talent, who has studios in Venice and Stockholm.
ONE PIECE TO OWN:
The wooden conical rings of the Layer table's base balance a delicate glass top with bursts of color. From $5,220.