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Jean Prouvè

designer (1901 - 1984)

Jean Prouvé was born in Paris on April 8, 1901, he trained in a blacksmith's workshop under Emile Robert, Enghien and Szabo. He opens his workshop in Nancy in 1924.
Among the first to devote himself to metal prefabrication, he attracts the interest of numerous rationalist architects and works as a consultant and collaborator for masters of design and architecture such as Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand.

Since 1925 he designs and manufactures his first formed sheet steel furniture. In 1930 he was a founding member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (U.A.M.).

Jean Prouvé is considered one of the pioneers in the development of standard furniture, prefabricated architectural components and industrial construction. His work as a designer, but also as an entrepreneur and producer, until 1954 manages his laboratories and its production structures, guided by the goal of finding new and modern solutions to problems of construction and daily life.

Self-taught in the field of engineering and architecture, in his autobiography he boasts of it by writing "I am only a worker".
In addition to making a decisive contribution to the reconstruction in France, Jean Prouvé designs various furnishing elements, from the movable walls to the chairs, to the tables, imposing his style capable of combining beauty and functionality of shapes and materials, often combining wood and metal.

Jean Prouvé's reputation has increased over time, decades after his disappearance, his objects are sought after and sold in large quantities at auctions. The quantity of books and exhibitions dedicated to him is constantly increasing. His work is evidenced by the objects produced, photographs and videos and allows you to know the career of this great designer.

In 1931 he opened "Les Ateliers Jean Prouvè" in Nancy. Between 1941 and 1943, during the war, the atelier diversified its production, with wooden furniture (due to the scarcity of steel), bicycles and the development of frame houses. In 1947 the Prouvè atelier moved to Maxville (near Nancy) in financial collaboration with Aluminum Francais, a factory with modern technical equipment, 25,000 m2 of surface and 200 employees. On January 1, 1956, Jean Prouvè retired from the Maxville factory and later, Steph Simon assumed responsibility for the exclusive marketing of Jean Prouvè's furniture.

His work is guided by some simple rules that he himself described as follows: "My work was determined by the evolution of science that influences techniques. The study of materials and their treatment as well as the observation of those who have them practiced. The search for inspiration in advanced techniques." These principles have been applied to Nancy in Jean Prouvè's studies with the result known.

This modest man, who has collaborated with other talented designers and artists such as Charlotte Perriand or Sonia Delaunay, has earned the awards that are attributed to him in the publications and exhibitions dedicated to him.

In the world of design, architecture and engineering, Prouvé occupies a place among the most versatile and innovative minds of the twentieth century. His unique work, much admired by influential contemporaries such as Le Corbusier, ranges from a letter opener to door and window systems, lighting, furniture, facade elements, prefabricated houses, modular building systems and large-scale conferences and exhibition halls.

Jean Prouvé designs and manufactures everything that can be built and lends itself to industrial production methods.

Prouvé has always considered himself a manufacturer, he probably attributed a secondary role to the formal considerations of design. The main objective of his design way is to combine the aspects of utility and authenticity of materials with the economy (minimum material resources and the easiest way to build) with the complex requirements of series production.

In the design process, it has almost always achieved aesthetically convincing results, which explains its meaning today, particularly in the area of ​​design. Given this assessment, it is not surprising that numerous architects and designers consider Prouvé as an influential figure and source of inspiration for their lavoto. Among these, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel and Norman Foster.

Jean Prouvé was one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century, yet outside of France, only a relatively small audience of fans of the subject knows his work.

In the early 1940s, he began to use wood more, due to the scarcity of steel during the Second World War. In addition to creating furniture, Prouvé studies projects for prefabricated houses and builds homes for the homeless.

Although there are some re-editions of his furniture, Prouvé's projects have not yet received all the attention they deserve.

Main design projects:
Antony chair
Cité armchair
EM table
Granite table
Guéridon tablePotence
Sedia standard
Tavolo Trapèze