The French metal worker Jean Prouve was a self-taught designer and architect who worked across and combined disciplines with facility. His designs have a fresh and crisp look to them that does nothing to detract from their functionality. Prouve was known to have said, “Never design anything that cannot be made.” His father, Victor Prouve, was an artist himself, a ceramicist who collaborated with Art Nouveau artists Emile Gallé and Louis Majorelle.
He was also a fan of the properties of sheet metal and his modern classic chair, the Prouve Standard Chair (1930; Bo Chair), highlights that with its distinctive fin-shaped, durable rear spine legs constructed from folded sheet metal that give the chair a robust, almost rugged look with a perceived lightness of being to its constructionally efficient design. Connoisseurs enjoy the evident element of architecture present in the chair, an undisputed modern furniture design. The chair is perfectly balanced and showcases Prouve’s intimate knowledge of materials. Prouve eschewed steel tubing which was favoured in the concurrent influential Bauhaus school of design, crafts and fine arts movement. The Prouve Standard chair is a common sight in many design museums all over the world.
Prouve also collaborated with other famous French designers of the day, including Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand.
Prouve’s Antony Chair (1950; Rico Lounge Chair) is widely regarded as his finest design. Its simplicity is braced by an unconventional construction, making for a stunning piece for the home.