When structure determines design
The load on the back legs of a chair, where it supports the weight of the sitter’s upper body, is greater than on the front legs. This is hardly a surprising discovery, but no other seating design demonstrates this principle as clearly as the Standard Chair: while tubular steel suffices for the front legs, which bear a relatively light load, the back legs are made of voluminous hollow sections that transfer the primary stress to the floor. The profile of the back legs, formed from thin bent sheet steel, resembles an aircraft wing, with the widest measurement at the point where the leg meets the seat frame – that is, where the stress is greatest. The tapered shape of the hollow section from the seat surface upwards simultaneously defines the angle and position of the backrest.
Why does a company like Vitra, who is committed to contemporary design, also produce furniture that was conceived long ago? The answer: because some designs from the past remain unsurpassed and have lost none of their vitality or relevance. Notable examples include the work of Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer – and likewise Jean Prouvé.
Metal & Wood
Metal & Plastic
Jean Prouvé, who regarded himself as an engineer throughout his lifetime, was both the designer and manufacturer of his product ideas. His unique oeuvre, ranging from a letter opener to door and window fittings, from lighting and furniture to prefabricated houses and modular building systems, encompasses almost anything that is suited to industrial production and construction.