jean prouvé: industrial beauty
sep 07, 2011
jean prouvé: industrial beauty

jean prouvé: industrial beauty
ivorypress art + books, madrid
official opening september 7th to november 12th, 2011

detachable cabin

dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers ©
SCE jean prouvé

‘industrial beauty’ is an exhibition which is dedicated to the french engineer, artisan and designer jean prouvé (1901-1984).
curated by architect norman foster and professor of architecture projects luís fernández-galiano, this show revisits
and provides a detailed overview of his career.

following a chronological layout of prouvé in ten sections, each one featuring original drawings and photographs
accompanied by critical texts, the selection of works on view at ivorypress art + books mirrors the diversity of this multifaceted creator.
alongside original drawings, the show includes a large number of pieces of furniture, scale models, fragments of buildings
and even ‘6×6 house’, a prefab emergency housing for refugees from the second world war. the objects and documents on view,
many for the first time in spain, come from the collections of centre georges pompidou (paris),
he archives départementales de meurthe-et-moselle (nancy) and galerie patric seguin (seguin).


design for citröen bus station, 1933

dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers ©
SCE jean prouvé

brought up in the artistic setting of the art nouveau school of nancy
(of which his father, the painter victor prouvé, was a foundingmember),
apprenticing in metalworking, jean prouvé defined himself as a ‘constructor’, and le corbusier – one
of the many architects who worked with prouvé –
him the architect-engineer. his career was centred on a search to make
the most off the techniques and materials available at any given time,
especially in the field of metal. to this end, he employed a highly
elaborate constructive and structural intuition underpinned by the
and creation of prototypes, which led him to conceive and
fabricate with equal success everything from exquisite pieces of
(such as the cité or visiteur armchairs, true icons of 20th
century design) to components for construction and even whole
industrialized buildings.

recliner, 1928

dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers ©
SCE jean prouvé

among his most significant architectural works are such seminal examples
as the maison du peuple in clichy
(in conjunction with architects
eugène beaudouin and marcel lods, and where prouvé designed one of the
first ‘curtain walls’);
the maison tropicale (aprefabricated house
featuring ingenious insulation and ventilation systems, designed with
his brother,
the architect henri prouvé); his own home in nancy (built
with pieces salvaged from the factory in maxéville,
precisely during the
years in which the company’sfinancial backer took over control); the
pavilion for the centennial of aluminium
(one of the few buildings for
which he is wholly responsible,and completely dismountable); the pump
room for the cachat spring in évian-les-bains
(where he rehearsed the
original structural system of‘crutches’ which he would later use in
various schools);
or the grenoble exhibition centre (together with his
son, the architect claudeprouvé, and the engineer léon petroff,
where he developed a new, highly efficient lattice structural system).

a founding member of the union of modern artists, active in the french resistance, mayor of nancy (france),

director of a factory self-run by over 300 workers in maxéville, teacher
at the conservatoire national des arts et métier in paris,

independent consultant… jean prouvé’s career is a prime example of
engagement with the technological and social advances of his time.

design for the embassy of france, 1937
arch. dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers © SCE jean prouvé

design for the pavilion of the flying club of roland garros buc., 1935

dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers ©
SCE jean prouvé

detail of a panelled window facade, 1952

dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers ©
SCE jean prouvé

kiosk design,1930

dep. meurthe-et-moselle, fonds des ateliers ©
SCE jean prouvé

jean prouvé giving a lecture at the CNAM
© fonds jean prouvé

tropical house
in mondtada maxéville

© fonds jean prouvé

protoype shell of a house located outside the domestic arts hall, 1951

© fonds jean prouvé

roof of mame printing press in tours, france built by jean prouvé

© fonds jean prouvé

maison du peuple de clichy

© fonds cardot-joly

house 6 x 6

image courtesy of galerie patrick seguin

granipoli table, 1939
image courtesy of galerie patrick seguin and ivory pres

lighted ramp sécurité sociale du mans, 1952
image courtesy of galerie patrick seguin and ivory press


pannel bouqueval, 1949
image courtesy of galerie patrick seguin and ivory press

(left): silla de madera desmontable, 1941
(right): sillón de dirrección nl. 352, 1951
image courtesy of galerie patrick seguin and ivory press

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