Pavillon Prouvé / 2020

édition 2020

The success of the Charlotte Perriand exhibition at the Fondation Vuitton in Paris gave ideas to Thomas Hug, director of artgenève and Samuel Gross curator, who were able to convince the Geneva gallery owner Patrick Gutknecht to lend his Pavillon de Jean Prouvé and exhibit it as part of the “Modules” concept at the entrance to artgenève for the benefit of the many collectors and amateurs.

Jean Prouvé has been a key player in the fields of architecture and design. Trained in the tradition of the Ecole de Nancy, represented by Emile Gallé, Louis Majorelle and others, including his father the painter and sculptor Victor Prouvé, Jean Prouvé also received an education that favoured independence of spirit.
Throughout his career, his creations have been based on the duality of continuity and innovation and have combined art and industrialization. He created objects and buildings covering all aspects of life in his time, from school offices to Total service stations. The combination of object and building created a new format in architecture. An innovator, Jean Prouvé found a new direction in design through his rationality and creative abilities.

At the end of the war, following a decree by French Minister of Reconstruction Raoul Dautry, Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé began designing and creating temporary houses or “pavilions” to rehouse people left homeless by the bombings. Nearly three hundred demountable pavilions were built in Maxéville, on the outskirts of Nancy, under a contract signed in 1944; these are the prototypes of the houses subsequently designed by Prouvé.

These demountable buildings, which could be moved as needed to the site of the destruction, played an extremely important role for many families left homeless by the war; they could be assembled in one day; moreover, Prouvé’s houses could easily be repaired with spare parts available at a reasonable cost if they were damaged. The basic principle of assembly is that the maximum size of an element should not exceed 4 metres in length and a weight of 100 kilos.

The houses consist of prefabricated elements made of metal and wood. In the final version, the optimal size of the house is 6 x 6 m or 6 x 9 m, depending on the model; the surface area of 36 m2 or 54 m2 is divided into three rooms, each of which has a living area of 1,000 m2.

The families affected by the disaster were able to stay in the area while the buildings were rebuilt.

Jean Prouvé’s projects were not only very functional and of exceptional quality, but they were also relatively inexpensive so that they could be adopted by the greatest number of people.

Jean Prouvé transferred his industrial production techniques to the field of architecture, without ever sacrificing the aesthetic quality of his achievements.

Only a few of Prouvé’s houses still exist today.


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