Petrol Station, 1953

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

The petrol station designed in 1953 by Jean Prouvé and his brother Henri is one of the first serially manufactured petrol stations. It was built about 1953 for Mobiloil Socony-Vacuum and stood at “Relais des Sangliers” in the Département Haute-Loire. Created modularly of individual pieces, this one of only three remaining stations was installed on the Vitra Campus in 2003.

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.

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.

Text and Images: vitra (c)