Villa Dollander, 1949

- J E A N  P R O U V E  C O L L E C T I O N -

In the late 1940's, Roger and Marguerite Dollander commissioned Jean Prouvé and his brother Henri to build a holiday home on the Côte d'Azur in Lavandou overlooking Saint Clair beach. The Villa Saint-Clair, later also known as Villa Dollander, was constructed by Henri Prouvé in 1949 with prefabricated metal parts from his brother Jean's factory in Maxéville. Everything, including the bespoke furniture and lighting, was transported from the workshop in the east of France down to the southern coast and assembled on site.

Villa Dollander has no hallway connecting the rooms: a full-length awning above the terrace not only protects the outdoor furniture but also allows residents to circulate freely between rooms protected from the sun and rain. The compact space is divided into a living area with lounge, dining room and kitchen, and sleeping area with three bedrooms and a bathroom.

The house exemplifies Jean Prouvé's structural solutions for industrial residential architecture. The construction of the house is built around a central beam of folded sheet steel supported by portal frames. The exterior posts are made of tubular steel and the interior panels of wood, while doors were produced in folded sheet metal using a special process developed at the Ateliers Jean Prouvé in Maxéville. The roof is constructed from recessed steel trays that serve as wind bracing - only the back walls are made of exposed stone. Villa Dollander has been registered as a historical monument since 1991.

Jean Prouvé

Jean Prouvé completed his training as a metal artisan before opening his own workshop in Nancy in 1924. In the following years he created numerous furniture designs, and in 1947 Prouvé established his own factory. Due to disagreements with the majority shareholders, he left the company in 1953. During the ensuing decades, Prouvé served as a consulting engineer on a number of important architectural projects in Paris. Prouvé's work encompasses a wide range of objects, from a letter opener to door and window fittings, from lighting and furniture to façade elements and prefabricated houses, from modular building systems to large exhibition structures – essentially, almost anything that is suited to industrial production methods. In close cooperation with the Prouvé family, Vitra began in 2002 to issue re-editions of designs by this great French constructeur.

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Footnotes: 
Text and Images: Santa & Cole