Maison Prouvé, 1954

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

The home Jean Prouvé built for himself and his family in Nancy in 1954 is located in a residential area on a hill overlooking the city and remains an emblematic site for architects from all over the world. It is managed by the Musée de Beaux-Arts de Nancy. It stands on a large parcel of land with lush vegetation, but which was considered unsuitable for construction because of its steep slope. Prouvé set the house back from the road at an elevated height. The house's elegantly simple design and the lightness of its materials testify to the ingenious building principles of its creator.

The interior layout of the Maison Prouvé is minimal with a linear floor plan. A generous living room in the centre is flanked by two flatter wings: one housing the kitchen and utility room, the other the bathroom and the three bedrooms. A 27-metre-long corridor with built-in cabinets leads to the various rooms. The bedrooms are reduced to the bare assentials (6 to 12 m²), while the spacious living room measures 64 m². The living room is the 'village square', according to Prouvé.

Both living and dining area, this room opens out towards a sweeping view of the city of Nancy and surrounding countryside. The Maison Prouvé is not a prototype but, according to its builder, 'a demonstration' of the possibility of building a lightweight yet solid, beautiful yet functional, economical and sustainable home. Jean Prouvé lived there until his death in 1984.

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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Text and Images: vitra (c)