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Jean Prouvé

Jean Prouvé

Designer

Jean Prouvé (1901-1984) was a French architect and designer. He was born in Paris and grew up in an artist community in Nancy. Prouvé's father was the founder of the art collective "L'École de Nancy", a school based on social consciousness whose goal was to forge links between art and industry. Prouvé first worked for a blacksmith and later in the metal workshop of Szabo. In 1923, Prouvé opened his first own workshop in Nancy. From his workshop, he produced wrought iron lamps, chandeliers, hand rails and started designing furniture. Although Prouvé was not married to a specific aesthetic, the tenets of "l'École de Nancy" had a powerful influence on his life, both professionally and spiritually. In 1931, Prouvé opened his successful "Ateliers Jean Prouvé". He started collaborating with famous French architects and they designed several buildings. During the war, "Ataliers" produced bicycles and stoves to stay in business. Prouvé was also politically active as a member of French Resistance. In 1947, Prouvé built a factory where he produced furniture and undertook extensive architectural research on the use of materials such as aluminium. Later, Prouvé built industrial buildings from aluminium. The style of Prouvé's furniture stands out from the design of the Bauhaus group. He did not use the steel tube technique but had more faith in the durability and form of sheet metal, "bent, pressed, compressed then welded". Prouvé's designs speak of a work philosophy that includes knowledge of the materials at hand, a commitment to collaboration between artists and craftsmen.