Colors and materials of Jean Prouvé – introducing Vitra’s fall 2022 arrivals!

This fall, Vitra has launched a whole bunch of delicious new items from the archives of Jean Prouvé. The French designer and architect has been relatively unknown outside his home country of France until now, but these new arrivals are sure to give a good picture of his work and design philosophy. Take a look at our picks and fall in love with Jean Prouvé!

Vitra Jean Prouvé collection
Vitra's Jean Prouvé collection expanded in fall 2022 with hues and products selected from Prouvé's archives. Up until now, a lot of Prouvé's designs have only been available at auctions, and mostly only in France.

THE JEAN PROUVÉ COLLECTION by Vitra is expanding: in fall 2022, the range has grown with a selection of reissues as well as new colorways picked from the French designer, architect and engineer’s original color palette developed for his factory, Ateliers Jean Prouvé.

Altogether, there are four reissued products designed in the 1930s and ’40s: the lampshade Abat-Jour Conique, the two stools Tabouret Métallique and Tabouret N° 307, and the Rayonnage Mural shelf, which is due to arrive at Finnish Design Shop a little bit later in the fall.

Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Abat-Jour Conique, Petite Potence wall lamp.
The Abat-Jour Conique was designed in 1947 as a shade for the Potence wall lamp and its smaller version, Petite Potence. The desk is Prouvé's Compas Direction, and the chair Fauteuil Direction Pivotant.
Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Abat-Jour Conique, Potence wall lamp, Standard chair, EM Table.
The conical textile shade is easy to attach and to remove.

A lampshade for Potence

The Potence wall lamp is considered one of Prouvé’s most puristic, most minimalist creations: the luminaire only consists of a light bulb and a pivoting steel bar supported by a steel wire. But did you know that Prouvé did, in fact, also experiment with lamp shades for Potence? This can be deduced from old photos taken in Jean Prouvé’s home in Nancy.

One of his experiments, of his own design, was Abat-Jour Conique, which translates to “conical lampshade”. Modular, prefabricated solutions were Prouvé’s specialty, and the lampshade is a great example of this: Abat-Jour Conique fits not only Potence but also the smaller version of the wall lamp, Petite Potence.

Read also: The legacy of Jean Prouvé lives on in Vitra’s re-editions >

Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Tabouret N° 307 stool, oak
The seat of the Tabouret N° 307 stool borrows its shape from agriculture: tractor benches have traditionally had the same form.
Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Tabouret N° 307 stool, dark oak
The stool is available in two color combinations: either dark or light.

Tractor saddle seat

In the 1950s, Prouvé designed several stool models that he simply named with a number. One of these stools is Tabouret N° 307, “stool number 307”, whose gist lies in the ergonomic seat that resembles the saddle of a tractor.

Originally, the stool was made of aluminum, a material very typical of Jean Prouvé. But in the new reissue, metal has been swapped to oak wood for a touch of natural warmth and character – the contrast between the bulky seat and the slim metal legs is fascinating, to say the least! Similar seats can be found in the lecture theater of the Aix-Marseille University, which was also designed by Prouvé around the same time.

Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Tabouret Métallique stool, Japanese red
The name Tabouret Métallique is French and simply means "metallic stool". In the background, the Fauteuil de Salon lounge chair and the fireplace made by Prouvé himself for his house in Nancy, France.
Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Tabouret Métallique stool, blue
Tabouret Métallique did not end up in wider production at the time, but Vitra is now producing it for the first time.

A 1930’s treasure

The Tabouret Métallique stool was designed in 1936, and like most of Prouvé’s furniture, it was also created for a specific project: Maison d’éducation surveillée de Saint-Maurice. The stool is a real hidden gem, as it originally never went into serial production, but is now manufactured by Vitra for the first time ever. This minimalist design is characterized by an angular leg structure, which Prouvé later also used in his Trapèze table.

Read also: Jean Prouvé was a design experimenter >

Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Rayonnage Mural shelf, Standard chair
Prouvé designed several different shelves for various projects in France. One of these shelves is the Rayonnage Mural, conceived in 1936.
Vitra Jean Prouvé collection:  Rayonnage Mural shelf
The Rayonnage Mural shelf consists of wooden boards and metal side panels, the shape of which resembles the rudder of an airplane or ship.

Union of wood and metal

A little later in the fall, a wall-mounted shelf designed by Prouvé will also arrive at Finnish Design Shop. The Rayonnage Mural bookshelf was designed in 1936 just like the Tabouret Métallique stool, but the project is different: the shelf was conceived for the École Nationale Professionnelle in the city of Metz.

The shelves are made of wood, but the vertical panels are made of Prouvé’s favorite material, metal – he was originally trained as a metal artisan. The streamlined shape of the vertical brackets evokes images of a rudder of an airplane or a ship, and along with the choice of materials, it is also a common feature in many of Prouvé’s furniture designs.

Ateliers Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé developed his very own color palette for Ateliers Jean Prouvé. Image: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI AM 2006-2-234
Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Standard chair, green
The name of the shade Prouvé Blé Vert, seen here in the frame of Standard chair, refers to the green color of unripe wheat.

Original colors

Alongside the reissues, Vitra has also revised the color options of the existing Prouvé collection. The good old options of deep black, Japanese red, and Blanc Colombe (previously known as ‘ecru’) are now accompanied by five new colors inspired by the original color palette of Ateliers Jean Prouvé.

The new options are the grey Gris Vermeer, the green Blé Vert, and two shades of blue, Bleu Dynastie and Bleu Marcoule. The fifth new variant is called Métal Brut, unpainted metal, which was also a staple for Prouvé: he liked to leave the wooden and aluminum parts of his creations unpainted whenever it was possible. The new colors will adorn the Standard chairs and lighting, among other designs.

Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Standard chair, EM Table
The legs of the EM Table follow the same design language as the Standard chairs and the upholstered Fauteuil Direction.
Vitra Jean Prouvé collection: Fauteuil de Salon and Cité lounge chairs, Tabouret Métallique
The Fauteuil de Salon and Cité lounge chairs are among Prouvé's best-known pieces of furniture. Although they are currently not in Finnish Design Shop's online selection, you can inquire about them through the online store's Customer Service.

Further treasures available

Vitra has a lot more Prouvé treats up their sleeves, although not all of them are currently available for order directly from the Finnish Design Shop website. However, you can always contact Customer Services to inquire about a specific product, such as the new colorways of the Cité and Fauteuil de Salon lounge chairs or the EM Table. And if you happen to be in Finland, we also have one Fauteuil de Salon on display at our showroom in Turku – stop by to say hi and try the chair out yourself!

See also:

Jean Prouvé's designs >
All products from Vitra >

Edit: Emmi Ratilainen Images: Vitra

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