Jean Prouvé: Architecture
The onset of WWII and the age of austerity that followed marked a period of enforced experiment for Prouvé and in 1947 he moved his operations to Maxéville, just outside Nancy. With his own design studio, he could combine research, prototype development and production and at Maxéville he set about fulfilling his ambitious plan to alter the building process from a craft-based practice to that of a mechanized industry, producing not only houses, prefabricated huts, doors, windows, roof elements and façade panels but also a production line for furniture based on his own designs. It was in this creative environment that the prefabricated refugee houses of 1945 were developed, followed by the flat-packed, tropical houses for Niger and the Republic of Congo in 1949 and 1950.
Jean Prouvé (1901-1984) is widely acknowledged as one of the twentieth century’s most important and influential designers whose wide-ranging oeuvre combined bold elegance with economy of means and strong social conscience. Working as a craftsman, designer, manufacturer, architect, teacher, and engineer, his career spanned more than sixty years, during which time he produced prefabricated houses, building components and façades, as well as furniture for the home, office and school.
The exhibition focuses primarily on Prouvé’s prefabricated structures of the late 1940s and includes maquettes, plans, and sections of them, as well as films. It attests to the pivotal role that Prouvé played in the development of cutting-edge technology and modular systems for mass production in the post-war modernist period.