The Dutch-bred Baas, 29, graduated from design school in 2002 after blowtorching ornate pieces of furniture for a final project. Dubbed Smoke, the collection landed him a show at the venerable design shop and gallery Moss, a line with Dutch manufacturer Moooi and a following of devoted collectors (including hotelier Ian Schrager, who snapped up several pieces for his new Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City). The aim, according to Baas, is to question existing definitions of beauty. So, for example, Isamu Noguchi's bean-shaped coffee table gets a makeover with a blowtorch. Baas' most recent hit was a line of spindly looking furniture, above, handmade out of a material about as state of the art as fire: clay.