It may just be the most beautiful chair we’ve ever seen (take that, Eero Saarinen). After working as a chef for over 25 years (instructing at no less a spot than the French Culinary Institute), Robert Shapiro finally decided to make the dramatic career switch into that cushiest of occupations, high-end furniture builder. Wait, what? Seriously. Long a woodworking hobbyist, Shapiro founded Balsera Woodworks in Red Hook in 2005, and the world is a better place for it. Shapiro’s designs are rough and elegant, never boring, without being gimmicky. Take the aforementioned chair (about which we are perhaps just a little too excited), a marvelously simple design object that still has a personality, as if a medieval Norwegian church mated with a Samurai battlefield stool. And yes, you can quote us on that.
Photo Matthew Septimus