It’s a Modular, Modular World

Jean Joseph of Chicago

It’s a Modular, Modular World
Ten years ago, Jean Joseph decided that the future was in mail-order furniture. He had reconfigured a simple collapsible butterfly chair into a cushiony Puff Chair for his pregnant wife, taken it to a trade show, and picked up 30 accounts in a week. The reason? The design, naturally. But also the fact that the chair fit into a FedEx box. “I realized I was onto something,” says Joseph. Before long, the Oak Park resident was manufacturing modular furniture and selling select pieces to places like CB2 and Chiasso. Now, the entire line is available through

Joseph describes his concept as “a Lego kind of deal that allows people to be more engaged with what they’re buying.” His hottest seller is the Axis seating collection (left), which can be arranged in multiple ways. Another standout is the Matrix storage system—woven raffia cubes that come with multi-sized bins (above). As for the Puff Chair? It’s still available and as puffy as ever—once you pull it out of the box, that is.

Photograph: Katrina Wittkamp

Prairie Home Companion, Salvage Won, Porcelain God

It's a Modular, Modular World

Color Me Upscale, Lee Genes

Ted’s Excellent Adventures

Treasure Island

Public Service

Quick Hits