Jean Prouvé (Paris 1901-1984)

“Never design anything that cannot be made.” French architect, industrial designer and furniture designer, Jean Prouvé, proved to be one of the most influential designers of the early modern design movement. In the steel and aluminum architecture he created, Jean Prouvé ushered in the machine age and industrial engineered modern design to interior spaces. Jean Prouvénever separated his engineering mind from his design heart and his works reflect that. A long look at the body of work Prouvé left behind and one can see how he betrayed his training as an engineer with a beautifully practical body of work ranging from letter openers and doorknobs to furniture and buildings. Never designing for the sake of form alone, Jean Prouvé always regarded himself as more of an engineer and constructor. He loved creation, even of simple household items. Prouvé concentrated onwhat the item needed to do, the essence of materials at hand and how modern production could bring all these factors together. Jean Prouvéaimed for excellence and efficiency, in both material and construction. Prouvé was adept at understanding that more does not necessarily mean better. Prouvé’s Standard chair(1934) and the Antony chair(1954) illustrate the two sides of this talented designer. Utilizing his innovative method of folding sheet metal, Jean Prouvé designed a range of tables that have the perceived lightness of a bridgemarried with the solid presence of architecture. Jean Prouvé’smetal furniturediffered from that of the Bauhaus steel furniture of the time by his rejection of the steel tube technique. Prouvépreferred the durability and form of sheet metal. Prouvé’s designs are regarded and remembered for their knowledge of the materials at hand, their commitment to collaboration between artists and craftsmen, and their attention to the evolving technical developments.