Jean Prouve was born on April 8, 1901. He was a famous architect and designer. He is well known for revolutionising the manufacturing technology from an industrial approach to the architectural approach without compromising on the visual elegance. He was born in the town of Nancy. He spent his formative years under his father’s influence and his collective “l’Ecole de Nancy”. These people came together with the purpose of creating a relationship between art and industry. T
hey aimed at making art more approachable and connecting art with social consciousness.
He was initially apprenticed to Emile Robert, a blacksmith and then at the metal works in Szabo. Finally in 1923, his first workshop was commissioned. He began designing furniture and produced his own line of iron lamps, chandeliers and handrails. He started the Union of Modern Artists along with people like Charlotte Perriand. The organization has a lofty motto, “We like logic, balance and purity”. Even though he claimed any particular school did not influence his work, his work leaned towards the “l’Ecole de Nancy”, under whose influence he grew up. He claimed that the environment under which he was brought up nourished his mind as well.
In 1931, he opened the highly successful “Ateliers Jean Prouve”. French architects Marcel Lods and Eugene Beaudoin became his working partners. He worked along with them on a hotel project, Maison du Peuple (House of the People) at Clichy, an aviation club and an army club. Along with Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeannert he designed a series of furniture for Ateliers. During the war, he manufactured bicycles and “Pyrobal”, a stove that would burn on any fuel. He also was an active part of the Resistance and became the mayor of Nancy after the war. He was a part of the Advisory Assembly and was the Department Inspector for Technical Education. He worked on building pre-fabricated buildings along with Perriand for the refugees.
In 1947, he built a factory at Maxeville and used it to produce aluminum furniture and perform research into the usage of aluminum in design. He built aluminum sheds and sent them to Africa. He then started “Constructions Jean Pouvre”. For his first major project, he designed a café in Evian. He then went on to build a pavilion for the centennial of aluminum and the Abbey Pierre house. He started the Industrial Transport Equipment Company and the Rotterdam Medical School in 1957. He also built an exhibition center in Grenoble and the Orly Airways Terminal façade.
His design was one of the most replicated; such was the popularity of his metal furniture. He distinguished his style from the Bauhaus style, which was in vogue at that time, by rejecting the steel tube technique. He believed that sheet metal was stronger and more durable. His designs epitomize his knowledge of the materials with which he worked his commitment to bringing the artists and craftsmen together and his unflagging attention to details. He had an amazing work ethic and believed in retaining focus and drive by taking decisions on time.