Harvey Probber was a key designer in early American modernism but differed from his contemporaries in that he had an affinity for exotic woods, highly polished surfaces, and sumptuous fabrics, creating more traditionally elegant designs with a modern decorative flair. The intricate floral pattern on this Suspension chair is Jack Lenor Larsen’s exuberant Primavera from 1959, which was inspired by Gustav Klimt. Larsen is a master of modern textile design, founding his namesake company in 1951, which still remains influential today. Primavera took Larsen and artist Don Wight more than a year to perfect— at the time, it was nearly impossible to screen print intricate patterns on velvet. After extensive experiments, Larsen developed a cotton velvet with a low enough pile to print on, without losing color intensity or compromising the lavish quality of the fabric. It was the most commercially successful velvet print at the time, with Industrial Design remarking that “it is not easy to be rampantly luxuriant and succeed. Primavera does.”
Design has a fourth dimension—the intangible quality of aging gracefully.