Join a follow-up session at selected Vitra retail partners

In changing times, such as those of the past two years, the demands we make of our homes and furniture can adapt and vary. No one understood this better than French ‘constructeur’, architect and designer Jean Prouvé. Born in 1901, Prouvé lived through two world wars and responded to the challenges of his era by developing a new ‘constructional philosophy’. Based on the principle of rational fabrication, he designed hard-wearing furniture free of artifice and buildings that could be dismantled, modified and transported.

The 40-minute Vitra Session in October 2022 looked at Prouvé’s multifaceted oeuvre and featured conversations with his daughter, Catherine Prouvé. We also explored the Prouvé archive at the Vitra Design Museum in the company of Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra’s Chairman Emeritus. And the company’s Chief Design Officer, Christian Grosen, introduced new products and updates in Vitra’s Prouvé Collection. Follow-up events for architects, designers and interior decorators are being hosted in Vitra showrooms worldwide and at selected retailers from November 2022.

Jean Prouvé

Jean Prouvé was an architect, designer and 'constructeur' whose structural approaches had a decisive influence on the furniture design of inter- and post-war modernism. He was a pioneer of serial production and industrial construction with prefabricated and modular elemts. His unique oeuvre, which was greatly admired by influential contemporaries such as Le Corbusier, ranges from a letter-opener to hardware for doors and windows, lighting, furniture, facade elements, pre-fabricated houses, modular building systems, and large-scale conference and exhibition halls—virtually anything that can be constructed and lends itself to industrial production methods.
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New products by Jean Prouvé

In autumn 2022, Vitra is reissuing four designs by Jean Prouvé: Abat-Jour Conique, a conical lamp shade that Prouvé developed in 1947 for the wall lamp Potence, the two stools Tabouret N° 307 and Tabouret Métallique as well as the wall-mounted shelving unit Rayonnage Mural.

New colours of the Jean Prouvé Collection

The colours Prouvé developed for his furniture drew on various references – from his Blé Vert, which describes the colour of young green wheat, to Gris Vermeer, which alludes to the grey tones in the work of the painter Johannes Vermeer. Yet according to Prouvé, who believed in the ‘nature of a material’, only parts in danger of corroding should be painted, which is why he left wooden and aluminium elements in an untreated state whenever possible. However, beyond the practical benefit of rust protection, Prouvé was aware that he could use colours to instil his furniture designs with a certain aura.

Vitra is expanding the palette for Jean Prouvé’s furniture to include some of the original Prouvé colours: the existing options of deep black, Japanese red and Blanc Colombe will be joined by Gris Vermeer, Bleu Dynastie, Blé Vert and Bleu Marcoule, as well as the Métal Brut variant in unpainted steel.
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My father, Jean Prouvé

An interview with Catherine Prouvé

‘The Jean Prouvé designs are developed in close co-operation with the family. Questions regarding the details, materials and colours of the earliest models are examined, debated and resolved in intense and conscientious discussions. The commencement of this partnership stands under a propitious star. It continues the work of Jean Prouvé and fills us with deep satisfaction,’ comments Catherine Prouvé.

A chair by Jean Prouvé marked the beginning of furniture manufacturer Vitra’s relationship with the work of French designer Jean Prouvé. Even after more than twenty years, the collaboration with his heirs still remains active and strong: Vitra is now revising the collection with new colours and introducing a number of lesser known designs.
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The Jean Prouvé Collection at the Vitra Design Museum

The Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, is home to the world’s most extensive Jean Prouvé museum collection. It dates back to the 1980s when Rolf Fehlbaum (Chairman Emeritus at Vitra) acquired the first Jean Prouvé design, an Antony chair that he found in Paris, sparking Fehlbaum’s interest in the work of Jean Prouvé.