Harvey Probber

American furniture designer, Harvey Probber is known and credited for the creation and introduction of modular seating to America. The versatility of his designs was as vital to him as keeping a clean and elegant aesthetic while remaining innovative in the realm of Mid-Century Modern furniture.

Born in Brooklyn, New York. Probber was, for the most part, self-taught. He began sketching furniture designs when he was merely a teenager. While attending high school, he took up a part-time job at a used furniture store. The post inspired him to start sketching his ideas, and at the age of sixteen, he sold his first sofa design to a furniture manufacturer for just ten dollars. After graduating high school, Probber took a designer job working for Trade Upholstery in New York while simultaneously studying design at the Pratt Institute. In the 1940s, Modernism became popular among the masses, and it was in 1945 when Probber, an early purveyor of the style, opened Harvey Probber Inc.

With its unique modern designs and quality structure, Harvey Probber Inc. became one of the leading furniture companies in a short period. He developed scale models that were placed in his showroom for clients to organize them as they liked, giving them a sense of what the furniture would look in their environment. Probber also introduced the “nuclear furniture” concept, which included tables with changeable bases. His Nuclear group and elastic sling chair appeared in MoMA’s Good design exhibition in 1951.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Probber didn’t have a specific design style; his aesthetic was practical, accessible and stylish furniture. Some of his designs are characterized by the unexpected use of bright colors and elegant details with clean lines and geometric shapes. Probber’s primary objective was to create unique furniture that was built to last. Throughout his career, Probber received several Roscoe industry awards, which are proof of the excellence of his furniture designs that, up to date, are still in high demand.

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