Last night I went on a bit of a knowledge jaunt and sent myself back in time to find out about previous designers, philosophers and thinkers, something I’ve found myself doing more and more of over the past year. My library of design books is slowly reaching the realms of uncontrollable, but I can’t bare to part with them as they offer an abundance of inspiration on a regular basis.
One book I’ve yet to acquire is about French designer Jean Prouvé and his works, which is real shame since his life is quite fascinating and it would sit quite nicely on my bookshelf. I’m already eyeing up a title so it’s probably only a matter of time before it makes it’s way into my every growing collection.
Although I probably class Jean as a “modern” designer he actually regarded himself as more of an engineer and constructor. In his early life he trained as a metal smith before attending engineering school in Nancy, France. This intimate knowledge of metal became the foundation of his career and helped spark many projects, most of which found its way in to his furniture production and architecture. Today I’m pulling out a series of furniture works that really struck a chord with me, although his architecture should not to be sniffed at either. If you’re interested in his building works please watch this wonderful short film on the Jean Prouvé “Tropical House”, it’s beautifully set to the soundtrack of Erik Satie and is monotone in colour (details galore!).
What you see above and below is a mixture of tables, chairs and furniture that Jean has produced over the years. I think some of my favourite pieces involve his collaboration work with Charlotte Perriand, but I think we’ll save that for another day. What I personally like about Jean is his thought process and his obvious connection with the furniture itself, he worked hard make everything seamless, from materials to production methods and manufacturing. Jean Prouvé strove for the most constructionally and materially efficient designs, he once was quoted “Never design anything that cannot be made”. That sits pretty well with me.