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Rolling in style. Foam rollers from Brooklyn.

RolPal's president, Dièry Prudent, and it's easy to understand the roller's genesis. Mr. Prudent, a personal trainer who lives in a featured-in-interiors-magazines 1870s brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is the sort of exacting guy who bristles if you refer to the roller as a tool. "Tools are for carpenters," he said. "This is an instrument."

When a reporter arrived for a demonstration breathless, late and sweaty, Mr. Prudent, 53, handed over a glass of water and gestured toward a platter of Paleo-diet-friendly snacks: strips of bresaola, the meat as intricately folded as origami, so uniformly spaced it looked as if a ruler had been involved. "Relax," he said. "This is supposed to be an experience."

Mr. Prudent, who destroyed his right knee playing basketball on Bedford-Stuyvesant blacktop and then as a running back on his high school football team, was always on the hunt for a better rehab tool, ordering everything he could find off the Internet. About 12 years ago, he even concocted his own, made of steel pipes, foam pads and bicycle handlebar grips. It looked like a medieval torture device.

His wife, Mariza Scotch, an accessories designer and the chief creative director at Skagen, a Danish lifestyle brand, was unimpressed. Ms. Scotch can't stand "visual dissonance," he said, so he worried he'd have to rescue it from the trash or the recycling bin, like some of his other projects.


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