Jean Prouvé



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Jean Prouvé


Jean Prouvé (* 8. April 1901 in Paris/France; † 23. March 1984 in Nancy/France), was trained as a metal artisan under Emile Robert, Enghien und Szabo in Paris. In 1924 he opened his own workshop in Nancy and began to produce his first furnishings made of formed sheet steel in 1925. He was a founding member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM) in 1930. In the following year he established his own manufacturing firm, Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé. During the 1930s, the company produced numerous furniture designs, as well as some of the first prefabricated architectural elements, including components for the Maison du Peuple in Clichy (in collaboration with the architects Beaudoin and Lods), whose steel-and-glass structure attracted a great deal of attention. Due to the scarcity of steel during the Second World War, Prouvé constructed wood furniture and developed simple houses made out of prefabricated parts. Active in the French Résistance, Prouvé was elected mayor of Nancy after the city was liberated. He designed and constructed residential buildings for the homeless. In 1947 he established the Maxéville factory, a facility of 25,000 square meters in which furnishings, prefabricated homes and schools were produced by 200 employees. Among the most famous pieces from Prouvé's Maxéville production included the Bahut sideboard. Due to disagreements with the majority shareholders, Jean Prouvé left the company in 1953. After working as head of the construction office of the Compagnie Industrielle de Matériel de Transport (CIMT) in Paris between 1957-68, Prouvé ran his own architectural consulting firm in Paris from 1968-84. He taught as professor at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) from 1957-70.

As chairman of the jury for the Centre Pompidou architectural competition in 1971, he played a major role in selecting the design of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Between 1980-84, Prouvé again turned his attention to the further development of his furniture designs. In many of his works, Jean Prouvé achieved the goal of uniting functional requirements, the honest use of materials and economical concerns with the complex demands of mass production. Beginning in 2002, and in close collaboration with the Prouvé family, Vitra has devoted itself to the re-edition of numerous designs by this great constructeur.


More about 'Jean Prouvé' in our blog

Design European Championship 2016: Review and Preview

After four weeks of competition at venues throughout France the 2016 Design EM prepares to bid adieu, au revoir and a heartfelt merci....and thus an opportune moment to reflect. Whereas the first few days were more notable for off-field activities than...

smow blog compact: Jean Prouvé - vom System zum Haus @ Architekturgalerie Kaiserslautern

...By way of an addendum to our 5 New Design Exhibitions for November 2015 post, the Kaiserslautern University of Technology's Architecture Gallery are hosting "Jean Prouvé - vom System zum Haus" - "Jean Prouvé - from system to house" - in which the results of a semester project exploring the construction systems of Jean Prouvé are being presented... Although arguably best known for his furniture designs, a large part of Jean Prouvé's career and energy was spent developing, and indeed manufacturing, temporary housing systems for emergency situations and for those in need of secure temporary accommodation...

Orgatec Cologne 2014: Vitra

...At Orgatec 2014  that programme has been extended by, amongst other works, new collaborations with Konstantin Grcic and Antonio Citterio and a re-edition of works by Jean Prouvé... " Much more classic is the Industrial Workshop and its presentation of a series of Jean Prouvé re-editions, the highlight of which without question is the Fauteuil Direction Pivotant office chair, a truly monstrous construction which is height adjustable, has a weight responsive tilting mechanism and stands in near perfect contrast to Konstantin Grcic's Allstar...

Design Miami Basel 2014

...Following on from the refined elegance of last year's "Maison des Jours Meilleurs" by Jean Prouvé, Paris based Galerie Patrick Seguin went "back to nature" this year with a delightfully hillbilly-esque wooden house by Jean Prouvé and Pierre Jeanneret... Aside from the F 8x8 BCC there was generally an awful lot of of Jean Prouvé on show at Design Miami Basel 2014...

(smow) blog Design Calendar: April 8th 1901 – Happy Birthday Jean Prouvé!

...Whereas, generally speaking, those designers we feature in these pages have trained as either an architect or carpenter, Jean Prouvé was a blacksmith... Born in Paris on April 8th 1901 as the second son to artist Victor Prouvé and his pianist wife Marie Duhamel, Jean Prouvé grew up in Nancy where his father had co-founded the Ecole de Nancy arts and crafts school...


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